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‘DC Showcase: Constantine – The House of Mystery’ (Blu-ray review)

DC Showcase: Constantine – The House of Mystery spotlights John Constantine in a tale that uses the Groundhog Day template.

Taking place after the events of Justice League: Apokolips War, Constantine finds himself having to pay for his crimes.

As always with Constantine, no good deed goes unpunished. His stay in The House of Mystery forces him to be tortured and re-tortured. Sometimes with a happy, family filled future that is yanked away, sometimes outright attacked by demons.

The repetition faced by main characters in Groundhog Day and Palm Springs is anchored by charming scoundrels who have to learn a lesson before moving on from their situation.

In theory, Constantine should fit right in to this type of tale.

In practice, it doesn’t quite click. While moments with Zatanna and The Demon offer some intrigue, the ultimate villains feel generic.

Ultimately, even at 26 minutes, it feels way too long.

The other shorts included in this collection are far more successful, and together make it worth getting this collection.

Starting with Blue Beetle.

Scripted by Jeremy Adams, who is currently on a run on The Flash comic book that is a favorite of mine. Taking inspiration from the 1967 Spider-Man cartoon, Blue Beetle joins with the Question in an investigation. This short works as a straight up story but there are layers to the humor, especially if you are familiar with the characters origins.

The last two shorts are exceedingly faithful to their source material.

The Losers features a military outfit that lives up to their name.

Joined by a Chinese agent, voiced by Ming Na Wen, they are on a mission that they just can’t win.  They are tasked to rescue scientists on a Pacific Island overrun by dinosaurs.  Having to face seemingly insurmountable odds, they also find their purpose of their mission is far darker than originally thought. DC animated movies consistently are well cast. The voice work here is no exception, no one is there to collect an easy check for voice work. The action is sharp, with an explosive conclusion. With only 15 minutes to work with, the story grabs you.

Kamandi, the Last Boy On Earth!

Has everything you could want in a Kamandi story. It wears its Planet Of The Apes inspiration front and center, including a twist that would be surprising only if you’ve never read a Kamandi story previously.  What it lacks in surprises it makes up in its execution. With an art style that relies on the original source, even transferring the detail and dynamics that made the original Kirby work sing.

Extras are a single featurette.

The House of Mystery story that headlines this collection is a bit of a drag, and is the longest of the collected shorts. However, the three accompanying shorts are a pure blast of fun. They really make this DC Showcase a worthy part of any animated collection.



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