JSA Liberty Files sequel finally arrives!

One of the most popular Elseworld comics, JSA The Liberty Files presented a new version of the crime fighting team in a new period setting. The stunning art by Tony Harris, then the flavor of the month thanks to Starman, prompted a sequel The Unholy Three. The two stories were a cult hit. Some 12 years later and fans have a new adventure in the same vein.

DC Comics has announced the December debut of JSA: The Liberty Files — The Whistling Skull, a six-issue miniseries by B. Clay Moore, Tony Harris and Dave McCaig.

Set in the world introduced in JSA: The Liberty File, the 2000 miniseries by Harris and Dan Jolley, The Whistling Skull takes place in 1940s Europe, where, “with the Nazi war machine on the move, crimes are still committed even in the smallest hamlets.” No specific story details have been provided.

“For readers looking for a new spin on the DC Universe, combined with brand new headlining characters, I think the book will be a treat, and it’s just the first chapter in a much larger story,” Moore told DC’s The Source.” This initial offering introduces readers to the legacy of the Whistling Skull in a wartime, pulp-infused setting, and should provide something fresh for readers to sink their teeth into.”

Published under DC’s now-defunct Elseworlds banner, The Liberty File and its 2003 sequel The Unholy Three portrayed members of the Justice Society of America as covert government operatives rather than superheroes: Codenamed the Unholy Three, the Bat (Batman), the Owl (Dr. Mid-Nite) and the Clock (Hourman) are eventually joined by the likes of Mister Terrific, Clark Kent, Mercury (The Flash), the Huntress and the Hawk (Hawkman) in their fight against Nazi and KGB agents.

“This is a long haul, sweet baby that’s finally coming together,” Harris said. “Clay and I have been developing The Whistling Skull for a few years now. Taking every precaution and the utmost care with every word and every line of ink to make sure we bring you something new, fresh and exciting. I could go on and on dropping catch phrases and bore you to death with ‘personal’ ‘important’ ‘kickass’ ‘bloobidy-blah-blab-blab.’ Not gonna happen here. What I will say is that a host of friends, contemporaries and scores of fans have shepherded this project carefully and steadily towards the waiting hands of countless devotees of mine and Clay’s creative efforts. It’s something I will NEVER forget as we approach the release of JSA: The Liberty Files — The Whistling Skull. And DC Comics’ willingness to marry and ‘seat’ Skull firmly in the JSA: Liberty Files universe that I was a part of creating in years past, in effect resurrecting that franchise and allowing us to breathe NEW life into it, is a testament to DC Comics’ dedication to producing exciting, new properties that have the potential to go on for many years to come. I feel like I did when James Robinson and I were preparing to release Starman into the world. I can barely sit still.”

Via Robot6

Welcome to Earth 2

A new title joining DC’s New 52 will arrive in just two months. Not just another monthly book, Earth 2 will establish another reality parallel to the established universe (which is still unclear on a few things). Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and other familiar characters exist on this other Earth, but with key differences.

Previously, Earth-2 in the DC Universe was a reality in which the superheroes fought in WWII and aged, had families, etc. The Batman of Earth-2 was an older married man with a daughter, Robin wore a redesigned costume and Power Girl was Superman’s cousin. After the Crisis of 1985, these continuities merged, causing inconsistencies that writers struggled valiantly to resolve. When the Multiverse came back into existence at the close of the year-long comic 52, the possibilities for other realities opened up. Finally those story opportunities are being explored in a new comic by James ‘Starman’ Robinson.

If this all looks familiar, it’s because Geoff Johns attempted something similar back in 2008 in the Justice Society of America monthly series. Likely it was put on the back burner due to the massive shake-up of continuity and DC Entertainment’s formation.

The parallel reality will be explored in a set of new books:

EARTH 2 – Writer: James Robinson. Artist: Nicola Scott. The greatest heroes on a parallel Earth, the Justice Society combats threats that will set them on a collision course with other worlds.

WORLDS’ FINEST – Writer: Paul Levitz. Artists: George Perez and Kevin Maguire. Stranded on our world from a parallel reality, Huntress and Power Girl struggle to find their way back to Earth 2. Perez and Maguire will be the artists on alternating story arcs.

Designs by Jim Lee for Wonder Woman and Batman have surfaced along with a new female Robin by Kevin Maguire along with a few snippets of information, reproduced here from CBR:

“I’m excited and eager to let people know all the facts about the new EARTH 2 comic, but for now I have to remain vague,” teased Robinson. “Earth 2 is a world that’s very like our own, but at the same time vastly different. It has known great conflict and danger…a dark menace defeated but at a great cost both to the Earth and to its superheroes of that time. Now, in the present as new menaces emerge to attack the Earth, so new heroes must emerge too, learning to work as a team (or perhaps Society is a better word) while facing these new threats head-on. Who are these heroes? Will their powers include speed, bestial fury, and maybe even green light? Wait and see.”

“Due the events that open the saga of EARTH 2, Wonder Woman is already the last Amazon of this world and she is determined to avenge her sisters…at whatever cost,” Robinson told DC’s blog, The Source. Series editor Pat McCallum weighs in as well, hinting at Earth 2 being a rather violent place, saying, “It’s one of the mysteries we’ll be getting into with the series. While there will be recognizable faces and settings on EARTH 2, don’t for a moment think you’re on familiar ground. Do that, and you let your guard down…and then you’ll end up like the rest of the Amazons.”

“Who will Batman kill to save his own daughter?” series editor Pat McCallum told the blog. “Right out of the gate that should tell you we’re dealing with a different kind of Dark Knight here. More ruthless, dangerous…the costume is familiar and yeah, there is a Wayne under the mask, but we’re looking at a man desperate to save the only family he has left. ‘Earth’ 2 is about to become a very bad place to be a bad guy.”

More as it comes…

Animated Justice League: Doom gets street date

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ENEMIES AT EVERY TURN … EXECUTING A PLAN CONCEIVED FROM WITHIN

GET READY FOR THE NEXT ALL-NEW DC UNIVERSE ANIMATED ORIGINAL MOVIE JUSTICE LEAGUE: DOOM COMING FEBRUARY 28, 2012 FROM WARNER HOME VIDEO

Primetime TV stars & Justice League cartoon alums fill stellar voice cast led by Nathan Fillion, Tim Daly and Michael Rosenbaum; Available as Blu-rayTM Combo Pack & DVD

BURBANK, CA (Dec 12, 2011) – Earth’s greatest super heroes face foes on all fronts – using a plan initiated from within – in the all-new Justice League: Doom, the next entry in the popular, ongoing series of DC Universe Animated Original Movies. Produced by Warner Premiere, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation, the all-new, PG-13 rated film arrives February 28, 2012 from Warner Home Video as a Blu-Ray™ Combo Pack ($24.98 SRP) and DVD ($19.98 SRP), On Demand and for Download. Both the Blu-Ray™ Combo Pack and DVD will include an UltraViiolet™ Digital Copy,

Justice League: Doom finds Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Cyborg and Batman on their heels when a team of super villains discover and implement the Dark Knight’s “contingency plans” for stopping any rogue Justice League member. The story is inspired by Mark Waid’s much-heralded “JLA: Tower of Babel.”

Primetime television stars Nathan Fillion (Castle) and Tim Daly (Private Practice), the reigning voices of Green Lantern and Superman, respectively, join a group of eight actors reprising their famed Justice League cartoon roles. Fillion made his debut as Green Lantern/Hal Jordan in the recent Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, and took his initial DC Universe movie bow as the voice of Steve Trevor in the 2008 hit Wonder Woman. Daly originated his role as Superman’s voice in the landmark cartoon, Superman: The Animated Series. He has reprised the role in two DC Universe films: the 2009 extravaganza Superman/Batman: Public Enemies and the 2010 thriller Superman/Batman: Apocalypse.

The grand reunion of actors who provided the voices of the Justice League for the cartoon of the same name and its follow-up, Justice League Unlimited, includes Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series) as Batman, Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville, Breaking In) as Flash, Susan Eisenberg (Superman/Batman: Apocalypse) as Wonder Woman and Carl Lumbly (Alias) as J’onn J’onzz/Martian Manhunter. Bumper Robinson (A Different World, Transformers: Animated) joins the cast as Cyborg.

The Justice League faces two sets of villainous teams in the film – The Royal Flush Gang and a sextet of notable evildoers. The latter group includes three voice acting alumni of the Justice League animated series: Phil Morris (Smallville, Seinfeld) as Vandal Savage, Olivia d’Abo (The Wonder Years) as Star Sapphire, and Alexis Denisof (Angel) as Mirror Master. Also opposing our heroes are Carlos Alazraqui (Reno 911) as Bane, Paul Blackthorne (The Dresden Files) as Metallo, and Claudia Black (Farscape, Stargate SG-1) as Cheetah.

David Kaufman (Danny Phantom) also reprises his Justice League role of Jimmy Olsen.

The film is executive produced by Bruce Timm (Batman: Year One), and directed by Lauren Montgomery (Batman: Year One), who is also credited as producer alongside Alan Burnett (Batman: The Animated Series). Justice League: Doom is the final DC Universe film script from the late Dwayne McDuffie (All-Star Superman, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths), who passed away in February 2011. Casting and dialogue direction is once again in the capable hands of Andrea Romano (Batman: Year One, Justice League).

“Justice League: Doom has all the classic ingredients of a great super hero film – a cavalcade of dynamic villains, internal strife amongst our heroes, treacherous twists and turns, and a cast that brings together some of today’s popular primetime television actors with many of the fans’ favorite voices from the original series,” said Hersin Magante, Warner Home Video Marketing Director, Family & Animation. “I think fans will embrace Dwayne’s McDuffie’s final DCU script, particularly as it has been nuanced by Bruce Timm and the Warner Bros. Animation team. Warner Home Video is proud to distribute Justice League: Doom as the next DC Universe Animated Original Movie.”

Justice League: Doom Blu-Ray™ Combo Pack has 3 hours of exciting content, including:
• Standard and high definition versions of the feature film
• UltraViiolet™ Digital Copy,
• Sneak Peak at Superman vs. The Elite, the next DC Universe Animated Original Movie
• Featurette – “A Legion of One: The Dwayne McDuffie Story” – The skilled writer penned some of the best stories which consistently entertained fans. From his early writing career to adapting the popular work of All-Star Superman, this is the story of Dwayne McDuffie, as told by his family and friends.
• Featurette – “Guarding the Balance: Batman and the JLA” – Everyone has a weakness and so do superheroes, yet when they go rogue, their power can topple more than a few egos, they can shatter worlds. The Justice League is the most powerful organization of superheroes on the planet, but what if the Justice League went rogue, and decided to use their power for harm?
• Mini-featurette – “Their Time Has Come: Cyborg and the DC Universe’s New Diversity” – 2011 will go down in DC Comics storied history as a year when a rich diversity of characters were re-introduced into the spotlight alongside Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. One of the most celebrated of the re-imagined characters is Cyborg, who became the new Man of Steel in Geoff Johns’ altered universe storyline, Flashpoint.
• Creative team commentary
• Two bonus episodes from the Justice League animated series handpicked by Bruce Timm: Wild Cards, Part 1 and 2, written by Stan Berkowitz and Dwayne McDuffie
• Digital Comic

Legends Of The Superheroes

I had a very skewed perception of reality as a kid… I mean REALLY skewed. I was upset when anyone laughed at the 1966 Batman TV show as I was certain my hero would never be anything to laugh at. I was convinced that the superheroes that I adored were godlike creatures worthy of recognition just as much as folklore and historical figures of note. In my mind Benjamin Franklin, Johnny Appleseed and Hawkman were all equally important. In fact, there is probably some comic out there where superheroes interact with folklore heroes as well as honored champions of historical importance and if so… that messed me up.

In any case, when a special two hour program aired on TV in January of 1979, I went through the roof. The Christopher Reeves Superman movie was a major hit in my household, Super Friends was in heavy rotation on Saturday mornings and I enjoyed an ample diet of the aforementioned Batman TV program as well as the occasional cartoon. A newspaper ad displayed the heroes in grainy black and white but to my eyes it was a magnificent display of herculean power. I clipped out the ad and stared at it every day until the fateful evening when it finally aired.

Intro


Part of the appeal for Legends of the Superheroes lay in the bizarre selection of characters. At the time, Justice League of America #200 (to date the finest comic ever published in my opinion) was a well read document and it introduced me to the new and old members of that time-honored crew. I took to Green Lantern, the Flash and Hawkman as they were visually intriguing yet I never imagined I would see them on screen alongside Batman!

Adding to the mystique of the TV superhero, I actually met Adam West in costume at the World of Wheels and was convinced (as no doubt was he) that he WAS BATMAN. Therefore, in my young mind, the comic books depicted fictionalized adventures while the actual heroes fought crime on screen every afternoon. As I tried to communicate early on… my vision of reality was tremendously skewed, my fantasies at an all time high and the arrival of an impossible dream come true nigh.

So great was my excitement that for years I imagined that I had dreamed the odd opening sequence in which the heroes assemble to their own unique introduction… because that was all that I remembered. My memory was so choppy that I figured the program never aired or I fell asleep before it started or some such thing. It was not until I walked past a TV playing the Legends Of The Superheroes at a Boston comic book convention that the awful truth finally dawned on me.

Oh yes… it was real.

Jet-ski chase

The story is actually split into two hour-long segments.

The first is a challenge put forth by a dastardly (and entirely random) assembly of rogues; The Riddler (played by Frank Gorshin), Giganta (apparently played by a transexual entertainer), the Weather Wizard, Dr. Sivana, Mordru, Solomon Grundy and Sinestro (unbelievably played by funny man Charlie Callas). The baddies dream up a scheme and the heroes have an hour to stop them.

What follows is a flurry of chicanery and bad jokes as bad actors in ill-fitting costumes wander around LA trying to find trouble, ending up looking like fools. Green Lantern is tricked by Sinestro who dresses up as a fortune teller, the Batmobile breaks down and Hawkman is attacked by Solomon Grundy (masquerading as a mechanic) and strapped to the top of a car. The odd thing is that in my mind this must have all been terribly exciting and action-packed. In reality it looked like a refugee from a muscle beach wearing a papier-mâché hawk mask and a quilt strapped to his back getting assaulted at a Citgo station.

It’s all so bizarre that I think I can understand my lapse in memory. Putting all of the pieces together, I imagine that I watched the first half and fell asleep part way through. Someone lovingly picked me up and put me to bed, vowing never to speak of this atrocity again.

I know that in this age of mega blockbuster superhero movies and the San Diego Comic Con, this special is a recognized disaster of the worst kind, far worse than the Batman and Robin or Catwoman films. But at the time, there was nothing else, just a little boy in suburbia with a rolled up comic and a head full of bad ideas. The fact that I didn’t burn all of my comics that night and instead remembered the event as a dream, something that was too good to have aired on TV speaks not only to my love of the comic book medium but also to the deep resources of my imagination. Or again, maybe I just saw the intro and fell asleep.

But allow me to introduce some perspective here…

Just this past week, the150 million dollar Thor movie was released.

In a few weeks movie goers will be exposed to an X-Men movie, Captain America and the Green Lantern, all racking up millions of dollars in production cost, not even counting marketing.

Yet back in 1979, someone figured that Charlie Callas made the perfect choice for Sinestro.

Different times, man.

Charlie Callas as Sinestro

The second half of the two-hour-long special is far worse, however, and features Tonight Show co-host Ed McMahon roasting the heroes. It’s so painful that it’s not even the so bad it’s good kind of bad. It’s just wrong. Jokes about ‘Retired Man’ and ‘Ghetto Man’ abound.

Finally, the entire affair wraps up with Ed McMahon declaring his magic word ‘Ahkeem!’ and flying into the rafters (well, I’d like to think that’s where he ended up) and the evil transdimensional wizard Mordu delivers a stirring rendition of ‘That’s Entertainment.’

Mordru sings us out...

Finally available on DVD as part of the Warner Home Video archive collection, Legends of the Superheroes contains cut scenes and rarities that will no doubt delight those members of my generation who long for a simpler time yet appreciate that we will never forget that fateful night on January 1979 when our heroes were roasted.

Not exactly recommended… but available by clicking on the image below.

Legends Of The Super Heroes

The Justice Society of America: ‘Five Drowned Men’

The modern superteam comic book is taken for granted today by readers and creators alike, but back in the Golden Age of comics, the Justice Society of America made a landmark first in crafting how a title utilizing several superheroes from various solo books in a single comic. The line-up is simply staggering and has never been topped.

The Flash- the fastest man alive
Green Lantern- guardian of the emerald flame
Hawkman – reincarnated Egyptian prince and adventurer
Wonder Woman- Amazonian ambassador the world of Men
Johnny Thunder- unlikely youth with the ability to command an all-powerful genie of living lightning
Doctor Fate- arcane sorcerer of the eldrich realms
Doctor Mid-nite- champion of the weak and vigilante of the night
Sandman- two-fisted detective driven by visions of the mind to prevent crime
The Atom- the tiny titan with a powerful punch
Hourman- the brilliant chemist who utilizes untapped resources of power for his ‘hour of power’
The Spectre- the embodiment of the wrath of God

For this adventure Superman and Batman (commonly printed on the cover but rarely in the actual comic due to the editorial mandate to avoid over-saturating the market with these iconic heroes) are active participants, giving the comic arguable its most formidable line-up ever.

A comic book that starred all of these characters in a single adventure required not only a brilliant editor, but a team of creators working both independently and jointly in what became the anthology method of storytelling. The team would meet at the beginning of the issue, discover a mystery and then split up into separate adventures only to reunite at the conclusion and fight one last donnybrook.

Four Drowned Men is regarded as a classic and as a comics fan it threw me for a loop when I first read it as the story did not feature a major super villain but instead centered on a quartet of fraternity brother made into amoral criminals by having their consciences washed away in a mystically imbued river.

The story splits off into separate chapters starring Hawkman, the Flash, Hourman, Superman, Doctor Mid-nite, Batman and Green Lantern as they attempt to stop the demented criminals in their madcap schemes. The real strength of the story for me comes from the idea of everyday respectable men turned into the most ruthless crooks around. Robert Kanigher (Sgt. Rock) and Gardner Fox crafted the script with a hearty helping from artists Lee Elias, Joe Kubert, Irwin Hasen and Frank Harry. It’s a thrilling story and is a testament to the superhero genre that such a seemingly mundane plot could be transformed into a classic simply by way of superior storytelling. Additionally, editor Sheldon Mayer of course had a large part to play in making the series a success.


The common praise of team-up books like the JSA, All-Winners Squad and the Seven Soldiers of Victory is one of economics. In one book a kid got more bang for his buck and a chance to see his favorite heroes rubbing shoulders, even if only for a moment. While 5 Drowned Men remains one of my favorite JSA tales, it is by no means the only one that I would recommend. Once scarce comics read only by wealthy collectors, these gems have since been collected in bargain-priced editions.

If you are a comic book fan and have never experimented with the ‘classics,’ I cannot recommend these collections enough.

All Star Comics Archives, Vol. 8

The Newsboy Legion Vol. 1 Featuring Joe Simon & Jack Kirby

Seven Soldiers of Victory Archives, Vol. 2

Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Marvel Comics - Volume 4

Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Young Allies

Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age All Winners - Volume 3

The Comic Cavalcade Archives, Vol. 1

The All-Star Squadron

The All-Star Squadron

All Star Squadron Number 1

The most prolific and high profile fan-turned-creator in comic books has to be Roy Thomas. After starting up the WWII era superhero team the Invaders for Marvel Comics, Thomas was asked by DC Editorial to work some of his magic for their wartime time the Justice Society of America. Rather than bring the team forward into a contemporary setting, Thomas placed the adventures in the early days of World War II as America found itself part of the war against the Axis Powers. Rather than stick to the standard JSA lineup, Thomas decided to make the most of his toybox full of ideas and utilized every character available to him from the Golden Age of DC Comics such as Liberty Belle, Jessy Quick and Robotman.

Formed by a Presidential edict to combat attempts at sabotage on the home front, the All-Star Squadron took the place of the more popular heroes who had become captured by the Nazi supervillain Per Degaton. By using the Spear of Destiny, Hitler had found a way to harness occult magic to ward off the American superheroes from his shores. After America officially joined the war effort, several superheroes were compelled to enlist and serve their country in the armed forces. This left much of the ‘heavy lifting’ to the second stringers and newcomers to the superheroing realm and also provided a unique inlet to new readers.

For many readers this was not the first or even second time the World War II-era heroes had been seen. The Justice Society team members had become staples of the Justice League of America series in several annual team-ups. Even so, this was the first time characters such as the Golden Age Atom and Hawkman were shown in their element, fighting Nazis.

It may surprise some who think of showcase solo series such as Batman and Spider-Man as being the most popular comic series, but team-oriented books have their own unique appeal. It may have something to do with the reader picking out his or her favorite team member that they can connect to. In the 80’s, team books like the New Teen Titans and Justice League of America were selling well, so DC’s addition of a new team book could have back-fired by over-saturating the market. However, it soon built up its own fan base and was so popular that years later a revival in the form of JSA was possible.

A somewhat bizarre series as it was a period piece adventure series, All Star Squadron featured some of my favorite heroes such as Commander Steel (a recent creation from the 1978 series by Gerry Conway and Don Heck). Steel was an interesting character for DC as he was part of a larger legacy dating back to 1939 and forward to the contemporary time period. The All Star Squadron series was the perfect opportunity for DC to create a seamless path from its earliest days to the present day by telling stories of the DC Universe as the first of its heroes started to gain recognition in the world.

The series garnered a cult following of sorts and also allowed for a new rising star comic artist to impress readers. Jerry Ordway’s first major series for DC Comics proved to be a staggering challenge for the artist. Taking a look at nearly any issue, a reader could see so many characters cluttering the pages that you could almost feel Ordway’s wrist cramping.

Unfortunately, the Crisis of 1985 rewrote so much of DC History that the All-Star Squadron was cancelled and restarted as the Young All-Stars. Co-written by Dann Thomas, the restarted series introduced all new characters to the WWII era such as Iron Munro, Flying Fox, The Fury and Dan the Dyna Mite. I remember buying the initial issues of the deluxe format series and being excited about these new heroes who were apparently designed to take the places left open by Wonder Woman, Batman, Aquaman and Superman who had been written out of 1930’s continuity.

In time, the concept of a legacy left by the JSA was taken up again in a series called Infinity Inc. dealing with the progeny of Justice Society members. This in turn led to James Robinson’s The Golden Age mini-series, analyzing the end of the wartime era of superheroes. So interested did Robinson become that he write Starman along with Tony Harris and started polishing the many forgotten facets of DC Comics history.

Fans of the Justice League cartoon may be a little confused as the characters seen here bear a strong resemblance to the fictional heroes of John Stewart’s childhood seen in the two part adventure ‘Legends.’ Apparently Bruce Timm and his team were all geared up to produce a JLA/JSA team-up story but were stopped at the last moment by editorial who were afraid that a campy depiction of the heroes would sully the otherwise sophisticated depiction of the heroes in the popular monthly JSA series. It’s unfortunate and confusing, but still a great episode.

The Justice Guild

The Justice Guild

It’s interesting to note that today DC Comics has a rich tapestry of legacies and lineages tapping the resources found in nearly every printed comic they produced (even Amethyst!). The All-Star Squadron was definitely a strong influence on this usage of ideas that had fallen by the way-side. After you include a character like Shining Knight there really is no going back…

‘Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths’

Members of the Justice League face their evil counterparts in a Crisis On Two Earths

jla2earthsIntroduced in the 1964 Justice League of America issue 29 by the creators of the silver age superteam Arnold Drake and Mike Sekowsky, the Crime Syndicate of America is everything that the JLA is not. Earth 3 is so evil that nearly every event from our history was reversed in theirs, such as President John Wilkes Booth’s assassination at the hands of a rather spry Abraham Lincoln rather than the other way around (the issue even depicted the rail-splitter sprinting happily from the scene of the crime).

Consisting of polar opposites of most of the JLA founding members (suspiciously both Aquaman and Martian Manhunter are absent from the roster of evil counterparts), the CSA is made up of the devilish Power Woman, the slick speedster Johnny Quick, the supersmart Owlman, power mad Ultra Man and bearer of the most powerful weapon of evil in the universe, Power Ring. The Crime Syndicate of America is challenged only by their world’s only hero, Alexander Luthor.

It is only after Alexander Luthor sought out help from the JLA of Earth 1 that the existence of this polar opposite planet became known. Previously the heroes of Earth 2 met the Silver Age protectors of Earth 1 and brought the Justice Society and Justice League of America together for the first of many times until the Crisis of 1985 melded the many Earths into one. Largely a concept from the Silver and Bronze Age comics, fans of the Justice League cartoon are familiar with the idea of alternate realities from the appearance of the Justice Lords who meted out their own brand of justice on a world ruled by fear and domination.

The next animated film project from what will soon be DC Entertainment will more fully flesh out this alternate evil Earth in ‘Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths.’

Alexander Luthor and the JLA

Alexander Luthor and the JLA

Written by Justice League alumni Dwayne McDuffie and Bruce Timm serving as executive producer, the feature borrows themes from DC’s “Crisis On Infinite Earths” and Grant Morrison’s “JLA: Earth 2” storylines with a heroic version of Lex Luthor traveling from a parallel Earth to enlist the aid of the Justice League in thwarting their evil counterparts, The Crime Syndicate. Owlman stands out as the most notable foe, apparently putting “the balance of all existence in peril” according to Warner Bros.

The feature’s voice cast will include stars Mark Harmon (“NCIS”) as Superman, James Woods (“Ghosts of Mississippi”) as Owlman, Chris Noth (“Sex and the City, Law & Order”) as Lex Luthor, William Baldwin (“Dirty Sexy Money”) as Batman, Gina Torres (“Serenity,” “Firefly”) as Super Woman and Bruce Davison (“X-Men”) as the President.

“Crisis On Two Earths” follows a host of other direct-to-disc releases including “Wonder Woman,” “Green Lantern: First Flight,” and “Superman/Batman Public Enemies.”

A Spring 2010 release is expected.

Owlman (voiced by James Woods)

Owlman (voiced by James Woods)