On February 21, 2011 just one day after his birthday and one day before the release of All Star Superman on DVD the world lost a tremendous talent named Dwayne McDuffie. Comic book fans will remember Dwayne as a writer for Marvel’s Damage Control and Deathlok titles, co-creator of Milestone Media which featured characters like Static, and as a writer for shows like Justice League Unlimited, Ben 10 and more. Dwayne had just turned 49 after complications from emergency heart surgery. He attended college at an extremely young age and wanted to be an astronaut, only to grow to be too tall and went on to become a writer.
Justice League: DOOM is the last project that Dwayne worked on prior to his death and as such is dedicated to his memory and features a beautiful documentary on his life. Like me, many of the people featured in the documentary speak about Dwayne and mention that they learned so much about him after he passed because Dwayne kept much to himself. He studied astro physics, sold jokes to David Letterman when he was a kid, and wrote the pilot episode for Static Shock in one day.
To me, Dwayne will be remembered as a creator of great characters like Static, who I didn’t even learn of until the comic was transformed into a kids show on the Kids WB, and as someone who wrote some of the best episodes of one of my favorite cartoons of all time, Justice League Unlimited. Sadly, Dwayne’s talent didn’t receive as much recognition in his life as it has in his death. To me, I wish I had more exposure to his work prior to his passing last year. I knew him as someone who like Alan Burnett, Bruce Timm, Paul Dini and others was a large part of molding what would become known the DC animated universe as well as a big contributor to many of the direct to DVD DC animated films. So to Dwayne’s memory, Justice League: DOOM and my modest, unnoticeable review are dedicated to his memory.
Justice League: DOOM is what fans of the Justice League cartoon series have been waiting for. It’s many of the original voices from the show returning with Phil LaMarr “replaced” by Nathan Fillion as the Green Lantern in this version is Hal Jordan and not Jon Stewart. Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly, Susan Eisenberg, Michael Rosenbaum and Carl Lumby all return to their respective roles from the Justice League. The character designs for DOOM are the same as they were in Crisis On Two Earths, though DOOM is not a sequel. DC has done this before with the Green Lantern projects as Emerald Knights carried over the same designs from First Flight but wasn’t a sequel. I blamed this before as being a cost cutting method by DC/Warner Brothers as it made the story confusing in the Green Lantern films and would probably make kids wonder why Sinestro was a bad guy before but is suddenly a good guy now. In DOOM however this isn’t the case. Enough has changed to where you just accept this as a new story, and if it is a continuation or sequel that it is just new voices.
DOOM is action packed and really plays all of the Justice League members well. No one character really steals the film or is at the forefront to over shadow the other characters. It really is like a continuation of the series and feels like a multi-part episode as opposed to a whole film. When the whole thing was over I even felt like that most of the voice recording was probably done in a single day as most character really don’t have that many lines since it is so spread out among the many characters. What DOOM accomplishes is telling a great Justice League story and never once do you stop to think “Wait, I haven’t seen Green Lantern in awhile, where has he been?” or “Ok, I know what’s happening to Batman, but what about everyone else?” DOOM is to me one of the best Justice League stories in animation that I have seen, and I’ve seen everything from Super Friends to today, so trust me on that.
Like many of the other DC animated films there are some great special features on DOOM including “A League Of One: The Dwayne McDuffie Story”, a documentary on the life and work of Dwayne McDuffie. Other features include an audio commentary featuring comic book writer Geoff Johns and some other behind the scenes gurus that was mostly forgettable, Cyborg: His Time Has Come feature, Guarding the Balance: Batman & The JLA, as well as a preview of DC’s next animated film “Superman vs The Elite.” Oh and of course, 2 Bonus cartoons picked out by Bruce Timm himself.
DOOM is worth the purchase and is surprisingly inexpensive for a BluRay/DVD/Streaming combination. “Batman has planned for the unexpected. But is he prepared for the unthinkable?” Find out in this great DC Universe Original Movie Justice League: DOOM!