Gods and Monsters
I had been waiting a long time to see this one. You would think I might be checking the various services to see if it shows up, but nope, not me. It was my wife who brought it to my attention. Not because I had been looking for it; I never said anything to that effect. No, she brings it to my attention because she knows I like such things. Even when it isn’t her bag, she still finds stuff she knows I enjoy. She’s a keeper for how awesome she is (no this isn’t a hidden attempt to suck up but you never know if she is reading these thin attempts to sound smart by me).
Anyway, I’m talking about Justice League: Gods and Monsters (Warner Brothers 2014). I want to preface the rest of this by stating right off that I find most of the cartoon stories that DC puts out to be their best work. Their live action movies can’t touch the quality of what they are putting out in animation (Batman Ninja was their worst effort that didn’t hold up to this adage). Gods and Monsters was not an exception to this. Even with a departure of the main Justice League Trinity (Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman) from their usual personas, it was a glimpse into the DC multiverse that built up the worlds they explore.
As I write that I don’t think I care for how it came out. It feels a bit like a high falutin’ way of saying I enjoyed the characters that weren’t quite what their traditional portrayals show them to be. Which still sounds awkward. Basically, I’m trying to say that the Trinity you expect isn’t going to show up in this story, and it actually works well for the story. Basically, everything, even down to costume changes, is different than the worlds we normally see for the three heroes. The whole DC universe in this one is different enough that we know right away it isn’t the earth or universe that the character’s stories usually come from.
DC has played this game for ages. Unlike Marvel who shakes things up every now and then going back to new origin stories and what not, DC tends to explain differences by creating infinite realities for their heroes. You get into a character like the Flash and you see all manner of crazy things happening between different dimensions and what not. But really this is more of an explanation in case you don’t understand why the world is different than expected. It’s also why something like the current DC super hero movies can be dark like they are and still be within the framework of their heroes. We can see them as a different multiverse world and not bat (he he, yeah batman reference) an eye to the differences.
So, with all that said, let’s jump into some thoughts. The basic gist of this story is the change in the characters. Superman is no longer Clark Kent, instead he is Hernan Guerra a child of Krypton and raised by human farmers on earth. The brand of justice he brings to the world is more authoritarian than the Superman we know. Batman isn’t Bruce Wayne but now Kirk Langstrom. He also isn’t the great detective we have known all this time, instead a vampire created through experimental science. And finally Wonder Woman isn’t the Dianna Prince we grew up with. She wasn’t born to the Amazons of Themyscira. It gets a bit stranger than that.
See, with this Wonder Woman’s origin we see something darker that is also a huge change to the way this multiverse works. Apokolips and Darkseid play a huge role in a number of DC power stories. In Wonder Woman’s origin, her father and the powers of New Genesis (the world at war with Apokolips and traditionally viewed as the good guys in those conflicts) kills the ruling powers of Apokolips in cold blood. Bekka/ Wonder Woman the daughter of High Father watches in horror as he slaughters he husband the son of Darkseid. He swore he wouldn’t and did it anyway. Tragedy and betrayal play a huge part in not only this origin but also the overall story’s arc.
This one was one of the best I have seen in a while. But that goes without saying I think. Like I mentioned earlier I have enjoyed the majority of the animated storylines from the DC universe. Quite often, they show a different version of the heroes that you might not expect. This isn’t a bad thing when they partner it with decent storytelling.
Anyway, I thought I might have something more to add here but I can’t think of it yet. So, instead I will spend a moment stalling for time and see if something more comes to me. Which it hasn’t so I will sign off with this. I liked the movie and it is worth a viewing or two, maybe more. But then so do so many others in this collection.
I just remembered the thing I wanted to add to this. So, the art style and storylines follow the Justice League cartoon series that came out a number of years ago. They are a bit more adult in nature. I feel like they cater more toward people like me that grew up with the heroes on Saturday mornings. And I’m ok with that. They also serve to remind me that most of what I know about DC comics actually comes from cartoons and movies. They weren’t the storylines that I followed as a kid through collecting the books (yeah, most of my collection was actually Marvel Comics).
Check it out, this one might surprise you.
If you enjoy these stories, consider leaving some coffee money in the jar or you could buy a book or two. Either way helps keep the stories flowing.