- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 15, 2014

Superheroes combine might to stop an invasion of earth in Justice League: War (Warner Home Video, rated PG-13, $24.98).

This direct to Blu-ray, PG-13 cartoon adapts the first six issues of artist Jim Lee and writer Geoff Johns’ 2011 reboot of the famed Justice League of America comic-book series.

The comics starred Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg and Wonder Woman in an epic struggle against the near indestructible and deliciously evil Darkseid.

Let’s stop right here. This comic fan has really grown to hate the word “adapt.”

Adapt allows director Jay Oliva to swap Aquaman (I guess he was unavailable for the shoot) for Captain Marvel/Shazam.

This might make sense if the toon was crafted as an original story, but swapping Billy Batson’s alter ego into the story that had clearly costarred Aquaman (for good reason) quickly soured my potential appreciation of the effort.

Nonetheless, I digress. The story does offer an action-packed origin of the Justice League’s first meeting.

Specifically, bookended between some witty introductions and a pat on the back for the great work of the Super Seven (watch and giggle) from the U.S. president, viewers do spend an inordinate amount of watching the heroes killing Darkseid’s force of Parademons (creepy cyborg bat beings transformed from earthlings).

Actually, I’d report 69 of the 79-minute run time involves someone getting punched, gouged, sliced or crushed.

The cartoon often stays true to the comic-book series, liberally pulling dialogue and scenes while offering an impactful origin of future Teen Titan’s star Cyborg.

Now, I must have reached Warner Bros. Animation fatigue as I appreciated much of the onscreen design and color and some of the incredible high-speed chase and battle sequences.

Whoops, spoke too soon. Why is Superman’s neck the same width as his head? Not really the Jim Lee-style; more of an homage to artist Rob Liefeld’s exaggerated form choices, for what it’s worth.

While on whoops, the voice acting is adequate at best. Kudos to Jason O’Mara as Batman, performing his best Kevin Conroy imitation, but boo to Alan Tudyk for never really capturing the vocal authority of Superman.

As far as my new favorite animated hero, Green Lantern makes out best here.  I enjoyed his wiseacre personality (often trumping Flash) and his glowing green constructs (from a locomotive engine to fighter jet and a massive dragon), emanating on command from his Power Ring.

Despite enjoying the high-definition action, I’ve got more issues with Justice League: War.

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