Zadzooks: Superman vs. The Elite (Blu-ray) review

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However, Mr. Kelly’s story and dialogue never stops pleasing and that makes Superman vs. the Elite one of the better Blu-ray releases tied to the DC Universe collection of animated films.

Best Extras: First, an excellent 15-minute primer from writer Joe Kelly (co-creator of the Elite) in the featurette “The Elite Unbound: No Rules, No Mercy.” He dissects the origins and fates of all of the members of his psychotic super team. It’s too revealing for those wanting to read the original comic and subsequent series, but a fascinating look at Mr. Kelly’s creative vision for the Justice League Elite. It also is loaded with great artwork from Lee Bernejo and Doug Mahnke.

Next, viewers get 17 minutes worth of discussion on Superman’s morality between Mr. Kelly, actor and former military drill instructor Jay Razor, DC Comics’ creative director Mike Carlin, an associate law professor and a social psychologist. The featurette also touches on the current state of morality vs. politics and how American citizens in a post-9/11 world are willing to bend, even dump, core beliefs and accept policies in order to stop terror. Lots of Superman art (including great pieces from Alex Ross) and snippets from the cartoon mix in with American soldiers in action.

As always, a dip into the Warner Bros. Animation archive has co-producer Alan Burnett offering two of his favorite episodes from “Superman: The Animated Series.” Specifically, animation fans get the parallel universe ditty “Brave New Metropolis” and “Warrior Queen,” starring the Queen of Almerac, Maxima.

More exciting — though I have huge reservations about this project — is a 12-minute look at the upcoming animated adaptation of “The Dark Knight Returns.” Some of the preliminary designs try to capture Frank Miller’s dynamic art, but we will see if it succeeds. Peter “Robocop” Weller as the voice of Batman sure helps, however.

Read all about it: Warner Home Video offers the ultimate in tease by giving viewers only a few pages of a digital version of Action Comics no. 775. It’s one of the battle scenes that clearly highlights the spectacular artwork. I’ll rant again that in this high tech age, why can’t fans that buy the Blu-ray get a code in the package to download the entire digital comic, instead of being suckered into spending more money on an 11-year old comic worth $1.99 online?

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