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Justice League: Doom



It’s the latest of DC Universe’s 13 animated features for the PG-13 crowd, following the recent “Batman: Year One,” more-than-decent “Green Lantern: Emerald Knights” and dull “All-Star Superman.”

A chalice-carrying lunatic appropriately named Vandal Savage (voiced by Phil Morris) offers members of the Legion of Doom (including Cheetah, Mirror Master and — timely! — Bane) a cool $100 million, plus expenses, for each Justice Leaguer they render dead.

Because that kind of bank amounts to one sweet payday, the villains do their best to earn it, plotting coordinated attacks that play upon the weakness of each superhero. They mine this data from extensive files stolen from none other than Batman (Kevin Conroy), who admits to his fellow JLAers late in the game that he compiled these trust-violating documents in case he ever needed to neutralize them — you know, if they were ever under mind control or such.

So for example, Superman (Tim Daly) is shot in the chest with a bullet made of Kryptonite, requiring surgery with a Kryptonite scalpel, because that’s the only thing tough enough to cut him open. Meanwhile, Green Lantern (Nathan Fillion) is plopped into a terrorist situation with armed militia men practically willing the second American Revolution. Says GL, “Robots, advanced drugs, psychological profiling. No way Star Sapphire came up with this on her own.”

Also thick in the sheep dip are Wonder Woman (Susan Eisenberg), The Flash (Michael Rosenbaum), Cyborg (Bumper Robinson) and Martian Manhunter (Carl Lumbly). For someone who grew up on “Super Friends,” it’s refreshing to see the latter two, lesser-known superheroes be front-and-center participants in “Doom.” Gone are the token-minority days of Black Vulcan and Apache Chief, praise be to God; today’s comic creative teams are color-blind when it comes to race.

But in terms of visuals, color is practically a character here, helping make “Doom” fun to watch, even if just on a level of half-attention, which it sometimes seems as if it’s asking. Drawings are heavy on shadows, which is appropriate, given the subject matter, and the picture is animated smoothly overall, particularly in Flash's feats of speed.

Warner Premiere’s double-disc set gives you the film on both Blu-ray and DVD (and digital copy), but the former holds most of the extras, notably a piece that gives Cyborg his due (this being his animated debut) and two cartoons from previous incarnations of “Justice League” half-hour series. Coming up next from Team DCU is “Superman vs. the Elite,” previewed here in brief. —Rod Lott

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