The newest DC original animated movie, Superman vs. the Elite, comes to home video on June 12 as a Blu-ray Combo Pack (list price $24.98) and DVD ($19.98), both with UltraViolet digital copy included. It’s based on “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice and the American Way?,” published in Action Comics #775, by Joe Kelly and Doug Mahnke with Lee Bermejo. Kelly wrote the screenplay, and the comic is available in trade paperback.
The Elite are a new band of vigilantes described as “less ethical” because they’re willing to kill villains. (This team was based on the Authority, a similar concept published by WildStorm.) Robin Atkin Downes (whom I liked in Justice League: Doom as Alfred) voices Manchester Black, their leader, while George Newbern is Superman (the role he played in the Justice League animated series). Pauley Perrette (NCIS) is the new Lois Lane.
It’s a fascinating question, whether Superman is outdated because he won’t use lethal force, but it’s not one I’m sure a cartoon can handle effectively, since the temptation will be to make the Elite strawmen who are clearly in the wrong. It’s an especially difficult topic to tackle in an atmosphere where DC Comics has ramped up its levels of violence in the comic books themselves. I like reading about superheroes who hold themselves to high moral standards, and I believe that there’s always another option to do the right thing for justice. I’m not sure many of the creators working on the characters today agree with me, though. I look forward to seeing how it plays out in this movie.
Here’s the trailer:
Extra features include
- a sneak peek at Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1, the next original DC animated movie
- “The Elite Unbound: No Rules, No Mercy”, a short documentary about the creation of those characters, which discusses using the Authority as inspiration and “how the Elite became the answer to that book, and a fresh approach for DC Comics in the post 9/11 world.”
- A second featurette on “Superman and the Moral Debate”
- Two bonus episodes from Superman: The Animated Series handpicked by producer Alan Burnett: Brave New Metropolis and Warrior Queen
- A digital comic copy of Action Comics #775 (although the last few “digital comics” on disc from Warner I’ve seen have just been links to their webstore on comiXology)
- Sneak peeks at previous releases All-Star Superman and Superman/Batman: Public Enemies
- A photo gallery promoting the upcoming live-action The Dark Knight Rises
- Audio commentary by members of the creative team