Animated DC movies, officially called DC Universe Animated Original Movies (that’s dumb), are DC’s hidden gems. Each direct-to-DVD release is less than 90 minutes, rakes in around $5 million in sales, and retells classic DC comic book storylines. The films are fun, well-animated romps and flat out better than most live action DC films. And these aren’t some watered down kids versions of stories; it’s probably not possible to do that with The Dark Knight Returns.
Most years, 3 animated films are released, but this year 4 are coming out; they are Batman: Hush, The Reign of the Supermen, Justice League vs. The Fatal Five, and Wonder Woman: Bloodlines. A solid lineup I’d say, but for those that haven’t heard of these stories, let’s get a teensy more in-depth about each one.
Batman: Hush: Of the 32 films currently out, 9 of them star Batman. Hush will make that a round 10, and oh boy is this one a doozy. This hugely influential story centers around Batman fighting through a who’s who of his rogues’ gallery while a total jerkwad called Hush keeps screwing things up. The arc is in part credited with further popularizing the dark and brooding version of Batman and Gotham that still lingers on everything Batman today.
The Reign of the Supermen: Superman: Doomsday was the first DCUAOM, (SO DUMB) and twelve years later its getting its follow up. The Reign of Supermen picks up after Doomsday killed Superman, following Hero Steel, villians Cyborg Superman and Eradicator, and all around clusterfuck Superboy (not Prime, thankfully), all claiming to be the true Superman. This was a weird story, and I’m excited to see how they juggle the 4 competing Supermen. Let’s just hope it’s not Steel 2 in disguise.
Justice League vs. The Fatal Five: These are my favourites because it’s basically playing with action figures but with a lot of money. The lineup has some variation and no storyline has been confirmed, but all you need to know is the Fatal Five are a unique cadre of 30th-century supervillians who will fight the Justice League. What more do you need?
Wonder Woman: Bloodlines: This one’s a no brainer. It’s Wonder Woman, undoubtedly the most popular DC hero at the moment, and DC rightfully wants to capitalize. Surprisingly, this isn’t the first DC Animated Wonder Woman movie as one came out 2009, but that was the old, Justice League TV show style Wonder Woman, not the Gal Gadot inspired one we are surely to see in this one. There is no Wonder Woman arc titled Bloodlines, so an original story may be coming, which would make this the most ambitious project out of the bunch.
In all fairness to transparency, I’m a massive DC nerd, but these movies are not only for the hardcore. The unique storylines and animation changes to suit each film really elevates them to more than direct-to-DVD releases.