One aspect shared by the superhero and soap opera genres is the evil twin. There are innumerable cases of heroes who either face an opponent with the same powers as them, or an alternate universe where our heroes are their villains and vice versa. The latter is the case with Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, the latest straight-to-dvd cartoon from DC Comics.

This time around the Justice League is made up of its core members: Superman (Mark Harmon), Batman (William Baldwin), Wonder Woman (Vanessa Marshall), Green Lantern (Nolan North), the Flash (Josh Keaton), and the Martian Manhunter (Jonathan Adams). The team is in the process of putting together their headquarters when news comes in that Lex Luthor has turned up at a police station. But this Lex Luthor (Peter Noth) is the hero of his universe -- and he's come for the Justice League's help.

In Luthor's world, a group of villains called the Crime Syndicate terrorize the populace. The Crime Syndicate are composed of Ultraman (Brian Bloom), Owlman (James Woods), Super Woman (Gina Torres), Power Ring (Nolan North), and Johnny Quick (James Patrick Stewart). These villains have their own gangs, give super powers to their most trusted members, and exist in a state of mutual fear with the government (the government has nukes, but the Crime Syndicate can kill almost anyone). Luthor wants the Justice League to bring down the Crime Syndicate, and everyone but Batman goes to do this.

So the heroes arrive to fight the villains, the villains are working on a superbomb to counter the nuclear threat, President Slade Wilson (Bruce Davison) fears what will happen if the villains are stopped, and his daughter Rose (Freddi Rogers) is an optspoken critic of the Crime Syndicate -- and may be starting a romance with the Martian Manhunter.

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths is a fairly basic slugfest, as heroes and villains fight, and fight, and fight. There's really nothing done with the dual versions of the same character, and the ultimate resolution is a bit of a letdown. I was surprised that the same actors didn't voice the two versions of the characters (except for Nolan North, who has very few lines as either Green Lantern or Power Ring), and the voice quality varies: William Baldwin isn't as good a vocal Batman as previous voice actors, but James Woods brings an eerie calmness to Owlman. Bonus features include clips from other DC animated specials, a Spectre short that's a combination '70s detective movie and horror revenge flick, and two Justice League episodes where the Justice League face off against alternate universe of themselves.

Overall grade: B-
Reviewed by James Lynch

No comments: