21 September 2009 | madbandit20002000
The Big Two: Wanted, Dead or Alive
The sixth DVD project from Warner Bros's DC Animated Universe unit, "Superman/Batman: Public Enemies" is a fun, socially-conscious adaptation of the six-part comic book story/graphic novel by writer Jeph Loeb and artists Ed McGuinness and Dexter Vines. Sure, it's short (67 minutes) and not to the letter (no continuity-oriented sidebars), but it's action-packed coolness.
America's plagued with crime, economic despair and war, making it easy for unethical corporate shark Lex Luthor (Clancy Brown, "The Shawshank Redemption" ) to run for and win the White House. There, he initiates that meta-humans and costumed crime-fighters serve the U.S. government, but the Big Two, optimistic Kryptonian boy scout Superman (Tim Daly, "Private Practice") and brooding urban detective Batman (Kevin Conroy, "Dynasty") rightfully feel he's full of it (including the "sh"). That gives the mastermind reason to frame the Man of Steel with the murder of "reformed" Kryptonite-powered cyborg Metallo (John C McGingley, "Scrubs"), marking him a wanted criminal and Bats as an accessory. As the Big Two fight both friends and foes, there's a huge chunk of Kryptonite headed towards Earth. The stakes are very high.
With a script by Stan Berkowitz ("Justice League: The Animated Series"), director Sam Liu ("Jackie Chan Adventures", "The Batman") gives "Public Enemies" the blockbuster-with-a-brain treatment, a fashion used in previous DC animated projects. Reprising their roles from the heroes' solo shows, Conroy and Daly are great, emphasizing their characters's differences on how to mete out justice. Brown, also doing a reprisal, nearly counters with their heroism with his callous insanity. The standard but lively animation interestingly echoes the art by McGuinness and Vines.
The other voice actors are competent: CCH Pounder ("The Shield") replaying government liaison Amanda Waller from "League"; Xander Berkeley ("Shanghai Noon", "Year One") as the noble Captain Atom and Richard Chavira ("Desperate Housewives") as his volatile counterpart Major Force. It's weird hearing Allison Mack ("Smallville") as Power Girl, due to the character's
well, you know, but she's durable in the role, even with a subtle, but funny sexual gag, validating the PG-13 rating.
"Public Enemies" should be on every DC Comics fan's wanted DVD's list.