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Justice League Dark
Score: 89%
Rating: R
Publisher: Warner Brothers Home
                  Entertainment

Region: A
Media: Blu-ray/2
Running Time: 76 Mins.
Genre: Animated/Action/Adventure
Audio: DTS-HD MA: English 5.1, Dolby
           Digital: French 5.1, Spanish
           (Both Castilian 2.0 and Latin
           5.1)

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Features:
  • The Story of Swamp Thing
  • Did You Know?
    • Constantine Origin
    • Color of Magic
    • Black Orchid
    • Deadman Casting
  • Justice League Dark at New York Comic Con 2016
  • Sneak Peeks:
    • Teen Titans: The Judas Contract
    • Justice League: Doom
    • Justice League: Gods and Monsters
  • From the DC Comics Vault: Batman: The Brave and the Bold episodes:
    • Dawn of the Dead Man!
    • Trial of the Demon!
  • Limited Edition Exclusive: John Constantine Figure

Justice League Dark finds the normal Justice League team facing a situation that is outside of their expertise. When it becomes obvious that the cause of the problems is magic-related, the JLA members decide to tap several known heroes already familiar with this particular field in the hopes of getting them to stop the problem before it becomes worse.

The problem at hand seems to be a rash of spells that are causing normal people to see demons all around them. Fearful of their lives, these people go on killing sprees, only to realize their mistake once they've completed their gruesome task, if then. Knowing that this isn't the kind of job the standard Justice League team can handle, Batman (Jason O'Mara, from previous DC Animated Movie Universe features, as well as Terra Nova, Life on Mars and more recently, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) approaches an old friend, Zatanna (Camilla Luddington, Grey's Anatomy, Rise of the Tomb Raider), a stage magician who uses her real magical abilities to entertain the world.

Zatanna and Batman quickly team up with Boston Brand, AKA Deadman (Nicholas Turturro, NYPD Blue), to find John Constantine (Matt Ryan, reprising his role from the live-action Constantine NBC TV series). As the quartet of heroes try to track down the source of the murderous spells, they will also join forces with Black Orchid (Colleen Villard), an avatar for the House of Mystery that is Constantine's home, Swamp Thing (Roger Cross, 24, Dark Matter) and the immortal Jason Blood who also shares his body with Etrigan the Demon (both voiced by Ray Chase).

The newly-minted Justice League Dark team will travel the world learning about each other's past, meeting various people that Constantine has apparently rubbed the wrong way, including his friend Ritchie Simpson (Jeremy Davies, Lost) and even facing off against an enemy or two, including Felix Faust (Enrico Colantoni, Just Shoot Me, Galaxy Quest), Destiny (Alfred Molina, Spider-Man 2, Raiders of the Lost Ark) and The Demons Three: Abnegazar (J. B. Blanc), Rath (Jeffrey Vincent Parise) and Ghast (Fred Tatasciore).

Interestingly enough, while Batman is in most scenes of the movie, he takes a very backseat role as Constantine quickly becomes the group's leader. Since Batman doesn't have any magic at his disposal, he isn't a whole lot of help in many of the encounters the team faces in this movie, but his bag ... er belt of tricks does come in handy a few times. To a much larger degree, the other Justice League members like Superman (Jerry O'Connell) and Wonder Woman (Rosario Dawson, Daredevil) have essentially cameo roles and feel like they are there primarily to tie Justice League Dark into the larger DC Animated Movie Universe.

Justice League Dark comes with a nice collection of special features. Not only is there a short documentary on the history of Swamp Thing, but also several featurettes touching on everything from Constantine's publication history, to filmmaking decisions like giving a stronger background to Black Orchid, deciding on Nicholas Turturro as the voice of Deadman and even the design ideas behind the different looks of the magics seen in the film. This release also features the New York Comic Con 2016 panel for the movie, as well as two episodes of Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Rounding out the extras are sneak peeks. Like previous DC Animated movies, this includes a peek at the next film, Teen Titans: The Judas Contract, but oddly enough, there are also sneak peeks for 2012's Justice League: Doom and 2015's Justice League: Gods and Monsters.

While Justice League Dark feels like a side story to the overarching DC Animated Movie Universe series, it will be interesting to see if it grows like the Batman-centric stories have been progressing. Fans of the developing world will want to check out this latest installment, if for no other reason than because it introduces a slew of characters into the world that have a wonderfully different feel, both in who the team faces, and how they work together to solve the problems ahead of them.



-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer
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