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DC Showcase: Superman/Shazam! The Return of Black Adam

Written by Zechs on Wednesday, November 10 2010 and posted in Reviews

Superman teams with Captain Marvel to take on the later's evil counterpart, Black Adam. Also extended versions of the previous three DC Showcases: Spectre, Jonah Hex, and Green Arrow.

Comic Review Cover

Credits & Solicit Info:

Superman/Captain Marvel: Return of Black Adam Voice Cast

George Newbern as Clark Kent/Superman
Zach Callison as Billy Batson
Jerry O'Connell as Captain Marvel
Arnold Vosloo as Black Adam
Kevin Michael Richardson as Tawny
James Garner as Shazam
Josh Keaton as Punk #1
Danica McKellar as Sally

DC Showcase Cast

Gary Cole as Jimmy Corrigan/The Spectre
Neil McDonough as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow
Thomas Jane as Jonah Hex
Alyssa Milano as Aimee Brenner
Linda Hamilton as Madame Lorraine
Malcom McDowell as Merlyn
Steve Blum as Count Vertigo
Grey DeLisle as Dinah Lance/Black Canary
Micheal Rooker as Red Doc
Ariel Winter as Princess Perdinta
Michelle Trachtenberg as Bar Girl
Rob Paulsen as  Lt. Brice/Drew Flynn/Deandre
Jon Polito as Police Captain
James Marsden as the Bartender/Young Man
Jeff Bennett as Forest Brenner/Peter McCoy/Flemming
John DiMaggio as Thug #1


You know I'm kind of grateful for this series of animated shorts via DC Animated. I mean honestly, the premise is just pure genius. Ten minutes of showing off a character who really not had a good showing by themselves (okay Jonah Hex in getting a whole Batman: The Animated Series episode to himself not withstanding). Even more, they truly play off the element they're in. No kiddie stuff here, this is true animation for adults. Though it can still be watched by all, well save for again the Jonah Hex entry maybe.
Anyway, the main treat of this DVD is the separate and twenty five minute special featuring Superman and Captain Marvel teaming up against the big red cheese's evil half, Black Adam. Really though this is more an origin story than the previous DC Showcases. We see the good Captain before he became as such in his human form as young Billy Batson. The kid has a pretty rough life, and even though he's been dealt a bad hand he continues with his goodness, looking to help out anyone he can. I was kinda surprised at how detailed they got with the full origin of Captain Marvel. I was honestly expecting just a twenty minute brawl, but instead got a wonderful story.
As always with every DC project the voice acting is top notch. They all perfectly match the character they voice. From the spot on Kevin Michael Richardson as Tawny, a homeless man who Billy shows some kindness toward, to Keaton going doing a one eighty playing a sleazy bully (God I didn't even know it was him until the credits rolled), Garner pretty much doing the only by the book role here, and Arnold Vosloo just note perfect (honestly I could even see Mr. Mummy/Darkman play Teth in a live action adaptation.
From the DCUA, both George Newbern and Jerry O'Connell reprise their voices of Superman and Captain Marvel (Newbern voiced Supes during the two Justice League shows when Tim Daly from Superman: The Animated Series couldn't reprise it). Again, the two actors are just so perfect in their roles that it feels natural and are just so damn good in the roles. With all the reprisal Daly has had with the role in three Superman animated films, I'm glad they got Newbern back. Honestly, I kind of missed his version more than Daly's, even if both voices where great for the part.
Though pretty much to ask the inevitable question on just how good are the fight scenes in this? Well, they're epic. Not as holy crap as the Darkseid vs. Superman and Supergirl fight from the previous DC Animated film (or Supes and Captain Marvel's tussle in Justice League Unlimited), but it's still up there. Some of the stuff Adam does to his two foes was a bit jaw dropping. And honestly given how stacked the two heroes powers are compared to Adam's, the villain does a great job handling the two. My personal favorite was the damn destruction for one hero to focus on so Adam could try and kill the other. Likewise was how one hero dealt with the disaster. That said everyone's power set is up there, so yeah the fight in this is pretty spectacular.
I have to admit though, I was really thinking Adam would be somewhat one dimensional in this given all the focus to Superman and Captain Marvel, yet during the height of the fight he gets a little speech on why he betrayed Shazam, and honestly it fit the character's full motivation and downfall perfectly.
Really all this animated short is for is showing off the world of Captain Marvel with Superman helping out. It's a nice fun mini movie that has some awesome action pieces and some great drama involving our young protagonist Billy as well. I mean come on I bet anyone who watched the end was grinning cheek to cheek as Billy was. So yeah yet another fun venture from DC Showcase. Here's hoping next year they do this again and give some heroes their due as well (*cough* Question, Adam Strange, Cassandra Cain, Phantom Stranger, the Haunted Tank, or Impulse *cough*).

5 out of 5

*Now since I never really didn't have a chance to review the other DC Showcases in my previous reviews of the films they where in I decided to lump them all here in one review.

Though just to inform you all that once more Warner Brothers also included the usual Bruce Timm's Picks. So if that wasn't enough of a warrant to go out and buy this maybe this will. The Best Buy version I bought had said Jonah Hex episode from Batman the Animated Series, two episodes from Justice League Unlimited (the epic Superman/Captain Marvel fight and Green Arrow joining the Justice League episode), and finally Batman: The Brave and the Bold (CHILL OF THE NIGHT. That's right, one of the best episodes of this particular series that hasn't been released to DVD is part of this set. Go ahead read my review of it here if you don't believe my love for that episode. So really for any harden comic book fan these episodes are just the icing on top of this glorious fanboy cake.
Okay the three little shorts that where in the previous three DC animated movie releases are all found here claimed to be extended versions of the original (really just some padded animation or scant amount of dialog added) nothing really big to push them a little more over the ten minutes they where originally shown. So alas no extra added scenes and honestly that's the only real negative I can say about these three shorts.
I mean everything about them just rules. Each fully shows off the character they spotlight. In the Spectre short, we get an almost 70s grindhouse noir setting with Jimmy Corrigan investigating the murder of a wealthy filmmaker. In the Green Arrow entry (yeah they kind of show these out of order since this was the most recent of the three), our arrow themed hero must stop the League of Assassins from murdering a young princess in an action packed thriller worthy of 80s action films. The final tale, Jonah Hex is tracking a wanted man in a harden western (think something out of a Clint Eastwood western).
Honestly they're all good with each tale just utterly perfect for the character. My favorite? Honestly, I have to say Jonah Hex. Just for the fact that not only does it destroy what the live action movie adaptation did to the character. But to add to the fact they actually got the perfect actor to voice Hex. Yeah I wasn't fond of him as the Punisher, but Thomas Jane was epic as Hex. So much so, that I pray to the comic gods for a full animated movie reprising Jane as Hex so people can see more of the true Jonah Hex and not what Hollywood fed us with their nasty live action movie.
That's not to say the other two aren't bad, quite the contrary. It's like picking on a diamond amongst other diamonds. Each tale is just a damn good story for the character. It fully plays off the world that hero plays in. Not to mention Gary Cole and Neil McDonough as the Spectre and Green Arrow where some pretty fine voice acting choices.
As for the stories, really the one who does the best making you wonder is gonna happen is the Green Arrow short. Honestly, you know in the other two that none of the villains in the Spectre and Jonah Hex ones can match the heroes in that. But in the Green Arrow? Dear God did they throw in some villains to make you wonder if the hero can beat them? Merlyn the Magnificent and Count Vertigo? Plus add throughout the short Green Arrow has to do this fighting while making sure another is safe. Dear God what a nice thrill ride that was.
Though I have to confess the first short of the Spectre is a damn fine treat as well. The Hex short beat it by a cross hair given how perfect Jane was as Hex and not to mention the atmosphere the world Hex was in. The same goes for the Spectre entry, where it feels grindhouse yet has this horror genre slapped onto it. I never really had any thought of the character much given how lowly the comics portray him. But this short so made me want to hunt down and read more Spectre stories (as it did with Hex).
Again, I really hope that next year DC animated block continues with DC Showcase, because there's still a ton of characters from the DC stable just aching to be told. I mean think about it given how awesome these where and then picture one of Starman, the Shade (okay I'm a fool for James Robinson works to be adapted), R.E.B.E.L.S., Doom Patrol, or Hawkman. Cause if these three where the opening course of what's to come I cannot wait for more. Still, with what's here this is a damn fine batch to be had.

DC Showcase The Spectre: 5 out of 5

DC Showcase Jonah Hex: 5 out of 5

DC Showcase Green Arrow 5 out of 5

Review by: Zechs


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About the Author - Zechs

Zechs is the lord and master of The Toy Shed, Moment of the Week, and Durnkin Reveewz. He's also the official whuppin boy at the Outhouse. So he'll get stuck seeing stuff that no mere mortal should ever see. If there's any greater quality to Zechs, it's that he's an avid fan of comic book characters and would defend them to the bitter end against the companies that use them wrongly. He's also brutally honest. Zechs walks the lonely path in Chicagoland area.


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