Pulp #625

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Pulp #625

How are we all this week? I hope you all had a suitably spooky Halloween, and that you were able to make it to the Halloween ComicFest – there’s nothing quite like free comics! While my own enthusiasm for Halloween may be at an all-time low – working in retail will do that to you – I figured I’d at least try to stay on theme for once. So, this time around, I dived into something a little bit different, but still very relevant – the new(ish) DC animation Justice League: Gods and Monsters.
I have to admit, I tend to get excited when I see Bruce Timm’s name attached to a project. After the masterpiece that was Batman: The Animated Series, as well as numerous animated features, Timm’s name is almost synonymous with excellent animations and storylines – after all, the Animated Series gave birth to Harley Quinn, one of the most popular Batman villains around. That said, despite Timm’s direct involvement in the project, I was a little hesitant at first. While my experience with DC’s animations has been very positive – the only thing close to a misfire was my dislike of the old-school character designs in Justice League: The New Frontier, and even then it was just an aesthetic gripe – I’m always a little cautious when it comes to “alternative” Justice Leagues. I became even more sceptical when a friend described the main characters – “vampire Batman” sounded cheesy and disappointing for a Bruce Timm story. After some insistence from a number of friends, however, I relented and picked up the DVD last week. Now that I’ve actually seen it, I’m glad I took the chance.
Set in an alternate universe, the heroes we know and love aren’t what you might expect; they’re darker, scarier and much more deadly. Superman, the Man of Steel – aka Hernan Guerra – is the son of General Zod, found and raised by a family of Mexican immigrants after crash landing on Earth. Wonder Woman – aka Bekka – is a New God and the widow of Orion, son of Darkseid. Bekka fled to Earth after the Apokolips royal family – including her new husband – was slaughtered by the New God Highfather at her wedding. Batman – aka Kirk Langstrom – was once a brilliant scientist who developed an aggressive form of cancer. In his attempts to cure himself, he accidentally transformed himself into a form of pseudo-vampire, and feeds on the criminals he takes down. The Justice League – having established themselves as proponents of lethal force, and as being above the law – are viewed with suspicion, despite their heroics. When a number of prominent scientists – linked to the missing Lex Luthor – turn up dead, seemingly slaughtered by the League, the military turns their attention to the League, who have seemingly gone even more rogue and need to be put down. The League, realising they’re being framed, set out to clear their names and tear their enemy apart.
Overall, Gods and Monsters was visceral, dark and really quite satisfying – in addition to seeing a League that doesn’t pull its punches, some of the lesser-known, more obscure characters get featured. I don’t think I’ve ever really seen any of the New Gods in an animated feature (with the exception of Darkseid, of course) and having characters like William Magnus and Kirk Langstrom get significant screen time is really refreshing. Gods and Monsters certainly isn’t a movie for the little’uns – the aforementioned murdering and Batman snacking on villains will probably cause a few nightmares – but it’s still a lot of fun. Take a chance on this one – it’s worth it!
Written by Alastair McGibbon