Live-action comic book adaptations may rule the blockbuster box office, but creators have been taking superheroes from the printed page to film and TV for decades. Since Batman: The Animated Series introduced a new generation to the caped crusader, Bruce Timm has been at the forefront of DC and Warner Bros. animated universe – and he’s back.
Although Timm never really left, Justice League: Gods & Monsters looks to be one of his most original creations in years, swapping DC’s ‘Big Three’ – Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman – for darker, alternate universe counterparts. To give viewers a sneak peek of the new takes on the heroes before the animated feature releases in July, a digital series created with Machinima – dubbed Justice League: Gods & Monsters Chronicles – will offer a short story following each star, to be released online free of charge.
Given how drastic the changes to the characters are, fans aren’t likely to give their final thoughts based on this trailer, or perhaps, even the animated shorts. In fact, it’s not entirely accurate to call the Gods & Monsters stars alternate versions of the heroes at all; to truly exercise some creative freedom, Timm hasn’t just altered the heroes’ identities, but the actual characters now sporting the superhero monikers.
This version of Superman is actually the son of General Zod, the Kryptonian general typically acting as Kal-El’s enemy who – in this universe – sent his own son to Earth to be raised by a family of Mexican immigrants. Batman is not Bruce Wayne, but the vampire Kirk Langstrom – better known as the villainous ‘Man-Bat.’ Wonder Woman is no longer the daughter of the peaceful Amazons, but the battle-hardened Bekka, servant of Ares and usual bride of the New God, Orion.
The trailer should make it clear that Timm’s sensibilities, previously seen on Batman: The Animated Series and WB’s Justice League animated shows, is intact. Having crafted this story with Alan Burnett, the chance to see each character given a condensed short story to coincide with the animated feature is just icing on the cake for DC fans. And releasing it online for all to see is as good a method of marketing as we can imagine.
What do you think of this alternate take on DC’s Big Three? Are you interested to see the online shorts or feature film, or do you prefer a more… traditional take on your superheroes? Sound off in the comments.
From visionary producer and animator Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series), Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles turns the DC Universe upside-down. In this dark, alternate world, telling the good guys from the bad guys is never easy: Superman is not the son of Jor-El, he’s the son of General Zod; Wonder Woman is not from peaceful Themyscira, but rather the warring nation of Ares; and Batman is more vampire-bat than man…and he’s not Bruce Wayne. It is unclear if our greatest heroes are here to protect us…or to rule us. Machinima has already announced a second season, which will come out in 2016.
Justice League: Gods & Monsters Chronicles launches on Machinima on June 8, 2015. The animated feature will go on sale July 28, 2015.