If you’ve followed our reviews of recent DC Universe animated features like Batman: Under The Red Hood or Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, then you’re already familiar with the animated shorts that have been released. This time around, they have relased four shorts into a full length animated feature. Jonah Hex, The Spectre, Green Arrow and the all new Superman/Shazam! the Return of Black Adam are all included in the DC Showcase. Jonah Hex tells the tale of a saloon prostitute who, along with her accomplices, casually murders and robs customers. It is sad when a short is 100x better than the live action film of the same material. From the get go, “The Spectre” animated short film is a beautiful tribute to classic film noir supernatural thrillers. Seeing as how The Spectre might not be as famous as Batman or as popular as Superman, it was probably a wise move for Warner to only make one short film in order to gauge viewers’ interest.
The other two are the heavy hitters and everyone loves Marvel and Supes. If you are a fan or not of the DC Universe, I recommend you pick this up for your DVD collection. It may not be anime in it’s truest form but comic books and animation are all relatives in nerdland. The running time is fairly short on this package, which should be a given. The fight scenes between Superman and Black Adam are spectacular and the final battle between Superman/Shazam and Black Adam makes up for the lack of runtime. Yes, this short, but sweet — especially because of the very final scene — ends with everyone living happily ever after.
Each film is anchored by an all-star cast of actors including Malcolm McDowell, Alyssa Milano, Thomas Jane, Michelle Trachtenberg and, others. The voice casting is a lot left to be desired if you ask me. Yes, it is three previously released cartoons with one new segment, which you may or may not be annoyed with but I don’t see any difference between this and what Pixar did with it’s short films. If you don’t already own them however, then by all means pick this up, as you won’t find many better animated comic adaptations in the market today. However, by not having that extra time to create a full storyline we were left with the quick rush rush of events mentality.
Although a good package, it is far from perfect. The unfortunate part for those who have purchased past animations is your basically paying $19.99 for shorts you already own. On the plus side, Black Adam is a great starter kit for parents to spring board their children to read graphic novels. Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam is a great animated ride with a terrible DVD release. I have to cut this one down the middle and hope future titles are handled with a bit more care. The quality of the video is superb to the eye, yet it only lasts an hour. I am grading this on the fact that if you haven’t seen any of the films you will enjoy this release. If you have, well, it will be interesting to say the least.