"Superman/Batman: Public Enemies" hits shelves today, but if you're already looking ahead to the next DC animated feature, "Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths," you should take a special interest in "Public Enemies." As we mentioned last month, the "Public Enemies" DVD and Blu-Ray boxes revealed the identity of the upcoming "Crisis" feature and promised a behind-the-scenes featurette revealing more details about the project.
I posted my review of "Superman/Batman: Public Enemies" earlier today, but just in case you're still on the fence about picking up the film on DVD or Blu-Ray, here's a rundown of what you'll see in the "Crisis on Two Earths" featurette—including the first look at the Justice League's alternate-universe counterparts, the Crime Syndicate!
One of the most interesting elements of the featurette is that we get our first glimpse of many of the members of the Crime Syndicate, including good shots of Ultraman, Owlman, Superwoman and Power Ring. (We get a quick peek at someone who looks like Johnny Quick, too.) Here's a shot of Ultraman and Power Ring:
Along with the full-color shots of various characters, we also get quite a bit of new concept art from the project, including some cool shots of Owlman throwing Batman into a wall, various character design sketches, and even a shot of what looks to be the Justice League battling Starro. Yes, there could actually be a Starro appearance in the film, folks.
From the footage shown during the featurette, Martian Manhunter appears to receive quite a bit of attention in the film's sub-plots, as there are several scenes featuring J'onn J'onnz with his JLA teammates and with an unknown female character who tells him that she wants to know the "real" him.
The featurette also includes commentary from "Crisis on Two Earths" writer Dwayne McDuffie, executive producer Bruce Timm, director Lauren Montgomery, voice director Andrea Romano and producer Gregory Novacek.
"We're basically taking a page from one of the original 'Crisis' stories form the '60s where the Justice League encountered a group of villains on a parallel Earth," said Timm of the "Crisis on Two Earths" plot. "They were called the Crime Syndicate."
According to Novacek, the script for "Crisis on Two Earths" originated as a story arc in the "Justice League Unlimited" animated series, titled "Worlds Collide." The series was canceled before McDuffie's script made it to the screen, so the "Crisis" creators approached the writer about adapting it as a standalone animated feature. The key, according to Novacek, was bringing the story "closer to addressing the DC continuity and not the Justice League Unlimited continuity."
Romano indicated that the film's storyline will feature a heroic version of Lex Luthor from an alternate dimension who "comes to Earth to enlist the aid of the Justice League to help the entire universe not disappear." As one might expect, Superman has a tough time trusting the heroic intentions of this new Lex Luthor, but is forced to set his issues aside when confronted with the super-powered Syndicate.
"Basically, Luthor is the last hero on Earth," said Timm of the Syndicate's home dimension.
However, amid all the dimension-hopping, it looks like we get a healthy dose of the JLA's home dimension, too. One of the scenes appearing in the featurette offers a slow pan across a wrecked room populated by the none othe rthan the good ol' Detroit chapter of the Justice League. Seen rummaging in the wreckage is Gypsy, Vixen and (my personal favorite JLA:D member) Vibe—who appears to have received a youthful makeover in the feature.
Oh, and for anyone wondering exactly how bad-ass the "bad" version of Batman will be, there's also a short clip featuring Owlman (voiced by James Woods) holding Lex Luthor up by his throat that should offer all the proof you need that this isn't the Batman you've come to know.
"I'm here because I'm the baddest of the bad," growls Owlman as he holds a struggling Luthor up by his neck. "Anybody who ever stood in my way is dead. Everybody."
Planning to pick up "Superman/Batman"? Interest piqued in "Crisis on Two Earths"? Let us know what you think in the comment section or on Twitter!