While the DC Universe animated features have been kind of hit (Batman: Under the Red Hood) and miss (All-Star Superman) up to now, there are some heavily-anticipated entries on the way - especially the Frank Miller comic book adaptations, The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One.
Now the voice cast has been revealed for Year One - which will premiere in July at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con - along with the first two images from the traditionally-animated feature.
Here is the lowdown on Miller's original 1987 four-issue story arc, "Batman: Year One":
A young Bruce Wayne spent his adolescence and early adulthood traveling the world so he could hone his body and mind into the perfect fighting and investigative machine. But now as he returns to Gotham City, he must find a way to focus his passion and bring justice to his city.
Retracing Batman's first attempts to fight injustice as a costumed vigilante, we watch as he chooses the guise of a giant bat, creates an early bond with a young Lieutenant James Gordon, inadvertently plays a role in the birth of Catwoman, and helps to bring down a corrupt political system that infests Gotham.
Heat Vision has learned that Ben McKenzie (The O.C.) will provide the voice of Bruce Wayne/Batman, with Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston lending his vocals to Gordon. Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica) is voicing Detective Sarah Essen, and Eliza Dushku (Dollhouse) will voice Selina Kyle/Catwoman. Alex Rocco (Moe Greene from The Godfather) is rounding out the cast as the voice of Carmine Falcone.
Check out the first images from Batman: Year One below:
Tab Murphy (Superman/Batman:Apocalypse) penned the script for Year One, which is being directed by Sam Liu and Lauren Montgomery (Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths). Miller's original novel lends itself nicely to a film adaptation - something Year One executive producer/superhero animation expert Bruce Timm is all too glad to point out as well:
"The source material is surprisingly cinematic; it's a pretty straight forward literal retelling. [David] Mazzucchelli's artwork is beautifully composed and we were able to refer to the comic for about 80 percent of the camera setups."
Miller's original Year One storyline - along with his Dark Knight Returns - were both pivotal in establishing the dark, gritty, and sometimes graphic tone that prevails in Batman comic books today. Whether the movie adaptation will be as successful as its source material, or seem more like one of its numerous poor imitations, remains to be seen.
Batman: Year One is scheduled for release on Blu-ray and DVD this fall on September 27th.