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‘Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part Two’ 4K UHD (Blu-ray review)

Warner Bros.

 

Crisis… what crisis?

Infinite Crisis, Identity Crisis, Zero Hour, Flashpoint, the (not-so) Final Crisis and many, many more are crossover events that change continuity, create, recreate or kill off beloved comics characters and shake the DC Universe to its core… on a pretty regular basis.

The original and arguably greatest of these events was 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths, a 12 issue maxi-series by Marv Wolfman and the late, great George Perez.

How could anyone hope to adapt such an epic saga?   Writer Jim Krieg and director Jeff Wamester are certainly giving it a shot with this, Part Two of an animated trilogy.

For those who haven’t seen Part One, the set-up is that the Multiverse is under threat from a destructive energy wave which is systematically wiping out world after world, forcing enigmatic alien the Monitor to gather a team of heroes from across multiple different realities to save the day.

Phew!  We open on a fight between Batman (Jensen Ackles, who would make a fine live action version) and a particularly vicious Joker, later developing into a full-on battle between a multi-reality version of the Bat-family and an army of shadow demons.

The main story shows different groups of heroes trying to protect energy towers which stop the surviving realities from oblivion, but in parallel, we also get the origin of Supergirl, her growing relationship with the Monitor and an extended back story (boy is it extended!) for Geoffrey Arend’s Machiavellian Psycho Pirate, before a suitable cataclysmic cliff-hanger ending. We would expect nothing less!

Middle segments can by their very nature prove difficult, lacking the punch of a set-up or climax– Crisis Part Two hits the ground running, straight in with no recap, and doesn’t stop.

Structurally, this is all over the place, but it moves along at a cracking pace and keeps your interest.  It’s an epic story, a hair under 95 minutes, so twice the length of most DC animation features.

The animation style is Man of Tomorrow style with a smidgeon of CGI, a far cry from the Timm/ Dini-verse. The weird thing is that the animation seems to work better on smaller stuff like the sweet team-up between Kamandi and Solovar from Gorilla City rather than Perez’s spectacular art.

In my humble opinion, we could have done with a tad more character material like the Flash’s arc in Part One and the two featured variants of Supermen are too similar– I miss the contrast and relationship between the middle-aged Earth 2 Supes and his younger Earth 1 counterpart in the comic.

There is no doubt that the creative team had a monumental task here as they had to juggle adapting the comic with but also wrapping up themes and threads from previous DCAU continuity-  no spoilers, but Harbinger and Pariah are very, very different here.

Extras include two featurettes and a preview of Part Three.

In conclusion, this is pretty much a stepping stone on the way to Part Three, but as such it works perfectly and is well worth checking out.  Make mine, erm, DC!

 

 

 

 

 

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