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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Superhero > Action > Feature > Justice League: The New Frontier (DVD/Warner Premiere/Warner Home Video/Animated)

Justice League: The New Frontier (DVD/Warner Premiere/Warner Home Video/Animated)


Picture: B     Sound: B     Extras: A     Film: A



Everything Darwyn Cook has touched in the last four years has turned to gold. The long-time writer, artist, and animator had done solid work in comics and animation before 2004 saw his popularity explode with the release of his New Frontier mini-series for DC Comics.  This edgy, but ultimately upbeat re-imagining of the origins and early years of some DC's biggest characters took the comic book industry by storm.  With Cook's natural ties to animation and the mega-talented Bruce Timm (Batman: the Animated Series, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited), no one was shocked when an animated New Frontier project was announced.


What will shock some people not yet acquainted with the prodigious talents of both Timm and Cook is how well New Frontier translates to the animated film genre.  This two disc DVD marks another groundbreaking release for DC animation.  Credited twice (as producer and story contributor), Cook, writer Stan Berkowitz, and director David Bullock capture all of the wonder and edginess of the comic book version of New Frontier while instilling it with that special dynamism fans have come to expect from Warner's DC DVD releases.  Dealing expertly with mature subject matter like suicide, political paranoia, and the wars in Korea and French Indochina, this PG-13 feature is not for young children.


The story details the origins and early careers of Green Lantern and the Martian Manhunter, and also features Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Flash in pivotal rolls.  Numerous other DC heroes and villains also make appearances, and the climax features an amazing battle against a world threatening foe.  The creators chose all new voice talent for the characters in New Frontier, moving further away from the amazing work on the previous Justice League television shows.  The casting decisions were excellent, with notables including Kyle MacLachlan really shining as Superman, and Lucy Lawless providing excellent vocals for Wonder Woman.


The anamorphically enhanced picture and Dolby Digital 5.1 sound on this DVD set are up to the usual high standards of Warner's other animated releases.  In addition to the main feature, disc one includes a sneak peak at DC Universe's Batman Gotham Knight and a host of audio commentaries from the New Frontier's various creators.  The second disc of this set features further of extras including a documentary on super villains, a piece on the comic book version of New Frontier, and three bonus Justice League episodes (Dark Heart, To Another Shore, and Task Force X).


At its core New Frontier is about hope, and the story closes with the inspiring, titular words of President John F. Kennedy.  This set signals another step forward for DC and Warner, proving again that their properties can be marketed toward an older, more sophisticated audience, and cementing Darwyn Cook along side Alex Ross as one of the most important creators in comics today.



-   Scott R. Pyle


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