Although they may lack the big budget releases of their live action brethren, the DC Universe Original Animated Movies (DCUOAM) are by no means inferior works.
Don’t let their direct to DVD release fool you; the voice talent and stories featured in the DCUOAM are more than worthy of the big screen. Stars like Neil Patrick Harris, Kevin Conroy, John DiMaggio, Alexis Denisof, Bryan Cranston, Nathan Fillion, Christina Hendricks, and James Woods have all lent their voices to DC characters, while the source material that these films are based on is even more impressive.
The stories that make up the plot of these animated movies are adaptations of legendary tales from the DC Universe, stories that honestly could use their own gritty Christopher Nolan or slow-mo heavy Zack Snyder film. Everything from JLA: Tower of Babel, the best Superman story, All Star Superman, to the brilliant Batman: The Dark Knight Returns have all already been adapted into animated films.
With all of these hallmarks of the DC Universe covered already, and adaptations of Superman: Brainiac and Flashpoint on the horizon, you may begin to think that the DC Animated Original Movies are running out of quality comic books to use as inspiration. I am here to put your fears to rest, as the DCUOAM has only just begun to scratch the surface of this six-color iceberg.
Here are five tales from the DC Universe that deserve animated adaptations of their own:
5. Kingdom Come
In Alex Ross’ and Mark Waid’s Kingdom Come, a man nearing the end of his life is granted a glimpse into the future, courtesy of the Spectre — a future where DC’s mightiest superheroes have aged into Sisyphean caricatures of their former selves. Batman is a withered old Darth Vader of a hero, his gadgets and wonderful toys allowing his one man war on crime to continue when his body cannot by utilizing bat-themed mechs, instead of brightly-dressed boy wonders, to make Gotham a Bat-Police-State. The Flash is simply that: a flash, a red blur that is on constant patrol. And Superman? He has returned to his proverbial Olympus, indifferent to the fate of mankind.
As the old age of heroes begins to circle the drain, a new age of cyberpunk ultra-violent walking guns of superheroes has emerged to seize the torch, believing more in the Smith & Wesson than truth and justice. This generational divide of course brings about a war of the super-powers, beautifully painted by Alex Ross, which can only become more glorious if brought to animated life.
In addition to the war between superheroes and vigilantes, there is also the Lex Luthor-run Mankind Liberation Front, an octogenarian Legion of Doom, that wishes to rid the world of heroes all together. In summation, you have the old Justice League battling against these new gun toting vigilante heroes, while The MLF stretches its resources thin to fight a war on both fronts, as a mecha-suit wearing Batman gathers up his own group of younger heroes to stealthily punch anyone whose face hasn’t been punched enough already.
Coincidentally, a Kingdom Come adaptation couldn’t come at a better time. It’s a dystopian future of the DC Universe where heroes in it for one last justice-based score have to deal with gun-obsessed superheroes. If there are two things I know audiences love these days, it’s dystopias, and guns.