REVIEW: BATMAN UNLIMITED: MECHS VS MUTANTS

CAST (VOICES)

Roger Craig Smith (Avengers Assemble)
Chris Diamantopoulos (About A Boy TV)
Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)
Charlie Schlatter (Diagnosis Murder)
Dana Snyder (Open Season 3)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Richard Epcar (Power Rangers)
Oded Fehr (V)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Dave B. Mitchell (The Lorax)
Troy Baker (Marvel Anime)

Image result for batman unlimited mechs vs mutantsBatman Unlimited: Mechs vs. Mutants is half Batman and Batfamily adventure. This time around for Batman, Robin (Damian Wayne), Flash, and Green Arrow vs. Penguin, Bane, Chemo, Mr. Freeze and Clayface. This is the third in the Batman Unlimited direct to video animated films.The latest in the toy-centric Batman Unlimited storyline transforms from a commercial to current Dynamic Duo adventure in a frozen Gotham City. Roger Craig Smith (Batman: Arkham Origins) returns as Batman and introducing Boy Wonder Damian Wayne voiced by Lucien Dodge (Fate/Zero). The Damian/Batman relationship is explored a bit here, in a surprising move that wholly embraces the current DC Rebirth status quo.Image result for batman unlimited mechs vs mutantsThere is no mention of Batman being Damian’s father, but it is hinted that he is the grandchild of Ra’s al Ghul when Robin awakens from a bad dream screaming, “Grandfather, NO!”. Pennyworth encourages Robin not to stay up too late studying to become Robin, as The Dark Knight has enrolled him into a “Robin Training Program”.Image result for batman unlimited mechs vs mutantsWill Friedle (Batman Beyond) appears as Nightwing and a simpatico brother to young Master Wayne. When faced with the threats lobbied by a team-up of the exiled Penguin (Dana Snyder) and Mr. Freeze (Oded Fehr) who recruits Killer Croc, Chemo, Clayface and Bane, Batman and Robin enlist the aide of Leaguesters Flash (Charlie Schlatter) and Green Arrow (Chris Diamantopoulos). Good guys round out their team with Commissioner Gordon and Dr. Kirk Langstrom.Genius scientist Victor Fries comes up with a formula to mix the compositional makeup of Bane, Chemo and Clayface to develop monsters capable of crushing cars and stomping through Gotham. Croc is the first to get juiced up, growing ten times his size and making the citizens of Gotham run for their lives. Of course, this is the Godzilla movie part, that frankly works pretty well.Image result for batman unlimited mech vs. mutantsWhat makes this Godzilla-type movie trope work really well is the cartooning and archetypes of these villains filling the Kaiju role. Batman has no choice but  to fight size with size. Batman and Green Arrow are able to pilot their own Mech suits to punish the bad guys before they have a chance to destroy Gotham’s Police Department and the rest of the city. Green Arrow is even conscious of which buildings to destroy in the process (by asking the computer which ones he owns). By placing a seed of doubt in Damian’s character early in the movie, he is able to redeem himself by playing detective himself and helping Batman problem solve. Green Arrow/Ollie Queen serves as a good uncle figure to Robin, who uses his years of experience dealing with Batman to assure Robin that he is important to the Batcave operations. Flash fulfills his normal role as comedian and lab scientist.Image result for batman unlimited mechs vs mutantsWhile not the grim and gritty, this Batman Unlimited release turns out a decent story. Of course, the allied bad guys find a way to stop getting along all together when the heroes’ strength lies in unity. While I was at first skeptical of the gigantic yellow Batsymbol on Bruce’s chest, it is growing on me, ever so slowly. Batman Unlimited: Mechs vs. Mutants is fun for most ages, riding the fine line between serving the fans and serving the general audience, and selling toys.

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REVIEW: LEGO: JUSTICE LEAGUE – GOTHAM CITY BREAKOUT

 

CAST

Troy Baker (Batman Unlimited 2)
Tara Strong (Sabrina Down Under)
Sarah Hyland (Satanic)
Nolan North (Teenage Mutant ninja Turtles 2012)
Grey Griffin (DC Super Hero Girls)
Tom Kenny (The Batman)
Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)
John Dimaggio (Futurama)
Greg Cipes (Teen Titans)
Khary Payton (Teen Titans Go!)
Scott Menville (Despicable Me(
Hynden Walch (Groundhog Day)
Vanessa Marshall (Star Wars: Rebels)
Jason Spisal (Time Lapse)
Eric Bauza (Batman: Assault on Arkham)

Batman gives the viewer a brief reminiscent of his early days as a crime fighter, his time with Robin, how he became Nightwing and how a new Robin came to be. In the present day, Batman and Robin begin chasing after Penguin and Harley Quinn and succeed in entrapping Penguin in a magnetic cage.

After Harley and Poison Ivy are defeated, Batman leaves Robin with the defeated criminals and chases after a criminal who resembles a ninja. After cornering the criminal in an alleyway, Batman is able to deduce that the criminal is Nightwing, who used the ninja costume to try and lure Batman into a surprise birthday party, which disappoints Nightwing, along with the other attendees of Batman’s party (consisting of Superman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Robin, Batgirl, Beast Boy and Starfire). Batgirl, Robin and Nightwing reveal that as a present for Batman, they decided to take him on vacation. Superman is willing to serve as a temporary replacement of Batman, believing the criminals of Gotham would not be hard to defeat due to many of them lacking superpowers.

The Justice League and Teen Titans are able to convince Batman to accept the vacation and Batman, Nightwing and Batgirl leave to their holiday plans. Robin stays behind to show Superman the ropes and give him advice on Gotham’s villains. Meanwhile at Arkham Asylum, Joker uses a spoon (which he drew a face on and calls “Spoony”) to dig himself out of his cell. Elsewhere, Batman easily figures out Nightwing and Batgirl’s vacation plans for him, to take him down Memory Lane by having him visit the dojo of his former martial arts sensei Madame Mantis.

After a brief reunion battle with his former sensei, Batman discovers it was actually a disguised minion of Deathstroke. Batman, Batgirl and Nightwing then find Deathstroke and follow him into a cave. Meanwhile in Gotham, Superman finds out about Joker’s escape and ignores Robin’s warning about him. Unfortunately, this allows Joker to trick Superman into freeing Harley Quinn, Penguin, Poison Ivy and Scarecrow, from Arkham. Superman calls Cyborg in hopes of gaining assistance to stop the escaped villains. Back at the vacation site, Batman, Nightwing and Batgirl end up falling down a waterfall in the cave. During their time falling, Batman explains his past with Deathstroke, where Madame Mantis favoured a young Bruce Wayne over him.

Deathstroke ultimately dropped out due to the fact that Mantis believed Deathstroke was not ready to learn “The Forbidden Move”. At the bottom of the waterfall, Batman, Nightwing and Batgirl uncover an underground kingdom of Trogowogs (a hidden underground race of short, green humanoids which Madame Mantis did not introduce to humanity to avoid corruption). The primitive (yet optimistic, prim and proper) residents immediately attack Batman and co. and Batman ultimately surrenders to Deathstroke when the latter threatens to kill Nightwing and Batgirl.

They are then introduced to the Trogowog leader, revealed to be Bane, who gained his position with the use of a pink crystal known as the Psyche Stone. Using the Psyche Stone, Bane was able to give the Trogowogs his fury and Deathstroke’s fighting skills. All he needs to make them unstoppable is the knowledge of the Forbidden Move from Batman’s mind since Madame Mantis has to strong of a will. Back in Gotham, Superman and Cyborg are easily defeated by Poison Ivy, so Superman reluctantly summons Wonder Woman, but Poison Ivy is able to coat all three of them in her pheromones to stun them. By the time the effect wears of, they have been taken to Joker’s funhouse where all the escaped villains are present and Scarecrow is able to douse the Justice Leaguers with fear gas, making them cowardly enough for the villains to torment them long enough to put them in molten kryptonite and more pheromones to boil them into soup. Robin notices this and goes to save the League.

Back in the Trogowog kingdom, Batman, Nightwing and Batgirl are held in the dungeon, stripped of their utility belts and imprisoned with Madame Mantis and the Trogowogs’ cowardly prince Grungle (the only trogowog not to fall victim of the Psyche Stone) who reveals that the Trogowogs were once a peaceful and friendly race, until Bane found out about their kingdom and used the Psyche Stone to teach them hatred and violence. In addition, he killed Grungles father and locked away Grungle. Luckily for the prisoners, Batman stashed away a brick separator and uses it to break them free. Unfortunately, they are recaptured after Bane threatens to kill them and Batman reluctantly succumbs to the Psyche Stone’s power (while repeatedly saying “Dance”) and reveals how to use the Forbidden move, which involves harnessing one’s own chi to create a projectile of destructive power. Back in Gotham, Robin is able to save the captive Justice Leaguers and they shake of the pheromones. Robin and the Justice League then leave the amusement park, causing the villains to believe that Gotham is now defenseless and theirs for the taking. Superman apologizes for ignoring Robin’s warnings and Robin teaches the Justice League the skills they need to defeat the villains.

In the Trogowog kingdom, the trogowogs are fed with the knowledge of the Forbidden move, and Grungle is held hostage by Bane. When Deathstroke attempts to use the move to kill Batman, he immediately stops himself, believing that using it would be to easy. At that moment, Deathstroke regains his honour, helps Batman and co. to escape and allies with his former classmates against the Trogowog army. As the trogowogs are ready to kill Batman and Deathstroke, Batman utters “Batusi”, causing the trogowogs to dance uncontrollably. It turns out while Batman was under the power of the Psyche Stone, he applied a mental command in addition to the Forbidden move. At the same time, Nightwing and Batgirl arrive to free Grungle, but are pinned down by Bane’s use of a monolith.

This gives Grungle the courage to fight back against Bane and his small size allows him to avoid all attacks from Bane’s Venom-augmented physique. Freeing themselves from the monolith, Nightwing and Batgirl use the Psyche Stone to reveal Grungle’s battle with Bane to the other trogowogs. Grungle is able to defeat Bane by breaking the tubes of his Venom injector, reducing Bane to his normal form. In Gotham, one by one Scarecrow, Penguin and Poison Ivy are defeated by Robin and the Justice League and put back in Arkham Asylum. Joker and Harley Quinn have managed to tie Commissioner Gordon to the Bat-Signal until the Justice League arrive, free Commissioner Gordon and send Joker and Harley back to Arkham as well as confiscate “Spoony” so that Joker can’t dig his way out again. In the trogowog kingdom, Bane is locked in the dungeon, Grungle is made the new king and Deathstroke bids farewell to Batman (although he states that the team-up didn’t mean they were friends).

Batman, Nightwing and Batgirl use the Psyche Stone to erase the Forbidden Move from the trogowogs memories and restore them to their normal, peaceful and friendly selves. They then leave back to Gotham and say their goodbyes. Back in the Batcave, The Justice League and Teen Titans discuss not to mention any of the events that happened while Batman was gone, but when Batman, Batgirl and Nightwing do return, Superman confesses. To his surprise, Batman actually congratulates him, Wonder Woman, Cyborg and Robin for putting them back in Arkham. The Justice League and Teen Titans then continue their party.

Fantastic. Very funny and entertaining. This is Bat-centric and features all the Bat family -Robin, Nightwing and Batgirl. Kids and adults will love it.

REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE VS TEEN TITAN

CAST (VOICES)
Rosario Dawson (Sin City)
Christopher Gorham (Ugly Betty)
Shemar Moore (Birds of Prey)
Jerry O’Connell (Jerry Maguire)
Jon Bernthal (Daredevil)
Jason O’Mara (Resident Evil: Extinction)
Stuart Allan (Batman vs Robin)
Jake T. Austin (Rio)
Taissa Farmiga (The Final Girls)
Sean Maher (Firefly)
Brandon Soo Hoo (Tropic Thunder)
Kari Wahlgren (Bolt)
Laura Bailey (Marvel’s Avengers Assemble)
Steven Blum (Wolverine and The X-Men)
T.C. Carson (Final Destination 2)
Rick D. Wasserman (Planet Hulk)
The Justice League battle the Legion of Doom (consisting of Lex Luthor, Solomon Grundy, Cheetah, Weather Wizard, and Toymaster). After the Legion is defeated and captured, Weather Wizard runs away, but is possessed by a shadow-like creature that teleports through darkness, revealed to be the demon Trigon, whose supernatural nature allows him to physically harm Superman. Robin disobeys his father’s orders to get civilians to safety, thinking he can help the Justice League fight Trigon. Robin sets the Batwing to crash into Trigon and explode, forcing Trigon’s shade to leave Weather Wizard. Upset that there’s no answer to this occurrence, and in order for his son to learn teamwork, Batman sends Robin to join the Teen Titans. Meanwhile, Trigon’s shade possesses Superman, plaguing him with visions of demonic shadows.
Robin meets the Titans’ leader Starfire and members Raven, Beast Boy, and Blue Beetle, but his lack of respect for the others causes friction. Blue Beetle and Robin fight until Blue Beetle’s suit instinctively uses an energy blast to severely burn Robin. Raven heals him, but during the process her empathic powers link their minds, tapping into each other’s memories. Later, Robin thanks Raven for saving him, but confronts her about an entity he saw in her mind. With Raven unwilling to answer, Damian tries to search up Raven’s background, but no information is kept about her in the Titans’ files. When he confronts Starfire about this, she replies the team isn’t just for fighting crime, but also a surrogate family, as they are all lost souls in a world with no place for them.
Superman finds and brutally beats down Atomic Skull, alerting Wonder Woman and Batman. The latter uses kryptonite to drive Superman back, revealing his possession before Superman flies off. Cyborg tries to locate Superman and a “female with supernatural powers”, whom Trigon is searching for. He and Batman analyse footage of both a transformed Superman and the shadow demon that possessed Weather Wizard, concluding that if the host is damaged or overwhelmed, they will be freed from it. In the meantime, in order to loosen Damian up, Starfire takes the group to a carnival, where Raven encounters demon emissaries and Trigon, in a spirit form, who wants to find her so they can be together. With the help of the other Titans, Raven resists and fights the emissaries until they cannot maintain their presence on the Earthly plane and dissipate.
Afterward, the Titans demand answers from Raven. She reveals that her mother was a member of a cult who married her off to Trigon, who took a human form. Her mother fled after discovering his true nature and was saved by the Azarathians, a people from another dimension, where Raven grew up. After unwittingly summoning her father and thus causing the obliteration of Azarath and her mother, Raven was taken by him so he could conquer Earth, but she trapped him inside a crystal. The Titans offer their support to Raven in defeating Trigon, but the Justice League arrives in order to take Raven away. However, before they can act, Flash, Cyborg, and Wonder Woman are taken over by Trigon’s shadow and turned into demon emissaries. Batman prevents his own possession by injecting himself with a nerve toxin designed for Bane, putting himself in a comatose state and thus causing the shade to abandon him.
The Titans battle the League without success, causing Raven to surrender herself. Just before the League and Raven use a portal to leave, Blue Beetle brings back Cyborg from Trigon’s control. Robin locates Raven in the Middle East, revealing he put a tracer on the Titans after meeting them. Cyborg and the Titans portal to the Middle East, to discover that Superman had unearthed a mystical shrine that Raven uses her powers on so that Trigon can pass though the shrine as a gate. Robin stabs Superman with kryptonite to free him from Trigon, and back to his own self, Superman defeats Flash and Wonder Woman, which frees them both. The Titans save Raven, but not before Trigon returns to his physical form.
Following Raven’s plan, the Titans and Cyborg portal to Hell to retrieve the crystal to lock away her father, while the Justice League attempt to prevent Trigon from reaching innocent civilians. Beast Boy’s biology reacts oddly to the dimension, initially forcing him to take the form of demonic beasts. The Titans battle hordes of guardian demons while Raven gets the crystal, but an undead Ra’s al Ghul shatters it; he was made Trigon’s vassal following his death, since the Lazarus pits were created by him. Ra’s tries to persuade Robin to join him and Trigon so that he may return to life, but Robin, deciding that he is no longer an ‘al Ghul’ but a Titan, refuses, engages his grandfather in combat, and ultimately defeats and kills him. Overcoming her inner doubts and Trigon’s telepathic attempts to dissuade her, Raven uses her powers and her link to Trigon to re-imprison him in a shard of the broken crystal.
Raven informs the Titans that the shard must stay in Hell and be watched always, in case Trigon tries once again to break free. She puts herself forward as Trigon’s keeper, but the Titans assure that her home is with them. Back at Titans Tower, the group – now joined by Robin and Cyborg – are lauded by the Justice League for saving Earth, and Raven wears her father’s crystal prison on her forehead, even as he is angrily demanding his release. In a post-credits scene, Terra is seen approaching Titans Tower, riding a boulder across the sea.
I’m not really a fan of Damian in a leading role, but in a team the character plays out much better. Sort of like how Batman integrates nicely with the Justice League – both characters can add a bit of spice to the mix once they’re able to clearly contrast with other characters. In my opinion this is the first movie in this line that manages to do this, so that is good to see.  There are some parallels between a few appearances in here and in Young Justice – some designs are related without a doubt, some characters share close or relatively close resemblances, but they are different personalities (and have different voice-actors). Wasn’t sure how to take this at first, but they’re likable.  Overall another great animated outing.

REVIEW: BATMAN: BAD BLOOD

CAST

Jason O’Mara (Resident Evil: Extinction)
Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck)
Stuart Allan (Son of Batman)
Sean Maher (Firefly)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Steven Blum (Wolverine and The X-Men)
Gaius Charles(Salt)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
James Garrett (Titanic)
Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters)
Vanessa Marshall (Star Wars: Rebels)
Bruce Thomas(Legally Blonde)

Batwoman intercepts a group of criminals in Gotham that include Electrocutioner, Blockbuster, Firefly, Killer Moth, and others. When a fight ensues, Batman soon arrives. They are confronted by the apparent leader of the criminals, a man called the Heretic, who reminds Batman of his vision of Damian Wayne as Batman. Heretic detonates explosives planted within the facility. Batman flings Batwoman to safety and apparently perishes in the explosion.

Weeks pass. Both Batman and Bruce Wayne’s disappearances have not gone unnoticed – Alfred Pennyworth takes up the guise of Wayne in electronic communications using gadgets in the Batcave to maintain appearances, while sending out a distress signal to Dick Grayson. Meanwhile, Damian Wayne watches a news report of Batman’s disappearance and sets out to return to Gotham. Katherine Kane meets with her father Colonel Jacob Kane revealing she feels responsible for Batman’s apparent death and asks his help to track down Heretic. It is revealed that she was traumatized when she, her sister Elizabeth and her mother Gabrielle were abducted and held for ransom, although she was the only one not killed by her captors before her father rescued her. After her time in the military, she became a drunkard who was saved by Batman, the appearance of whom motivated her to never need to be saved again, resulting in her becoming Batwoman.

At the same time, Batman, wearing a different Bat emblem, apparently resurfaces and is quickly noticed by Robin and Katherine Kane. Both of them intercept Batman and quickly deduce that it is Grayson wearing an old version of the Batsuit. They begin their own investigations into the Heretic, unconvinced that Bruce is truly dead. Soon the Heretic and his henchmen attack Wayne Enterprises, forcing Lucius Fox to open the way into the vault by threatening his son Luke Fox, a soldier recently returned from Afghanistan. Though Grayson and Damian quickly arrive, they are unable to prevent the Heretic from escaping with Wayne technology, and Lucius Fox is non-fatally stabbed. Before they leave, Heretic kills Electrocutioner when he is about to kill Robin.

Heretic returns to his headquarters where it is revealed that he is working for Talia al Ghul. They have Bruce Wayne captured and Mad Hatter is slowly brainwashing him with a machine projecting laser like beams into his eyes and brain causing him to experience nightmarish visions of his parents and friends as well as several bats attacking him. Mad Hatter claims Bruce’s memories and experience, as well as his mental and emotional trauma, is causing the mind-controlling process to take longer on him than normal. The Heretic, apparently obsessed with Damian Wayne, then breaks into the Batcave and kidnaps Damian. Heretic explains that he is a clone of Damian, created by a genetics program created by Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins, using Damian’s DNA to genetically engineer a perfect soldier with accelerated growth and development, but he was the only subject of the program to survive with Mad Hatter giving him an actual mind and consciousness. Due to his feeling of not being a real person, he wishes to have Damian’s memories and personality implanted within his own brain with the mind programming machine being used on Bruce, but Talia arrives and then shoots Heretic dead for his disobeying her orders to leave Damian out of the conflict. Grayson and Batwoman then arrive, having located Damian through a tracker in his costume. They are quickly joined by Luke Fox, clad in an advanced combat exosuit and styling himself as Batwing. The three rescue Bruce and Damian, but Talia and her henchmen escape.

Weeks pass and Bruce seems to have recovered from the ordeal, though he remains adamant that Katherine and Luke not be involved, insisting that their heroics remain within the “family”. Meanwhile, Katherine is suddenly attacked by her father. After disabling him, she discovers he had been brainwashed. She brings this to the attention of Grayson, Damian, and Luke. Dick immediately concludes that Bruce is still under the effects of Mad Hatter’s mind control, though Damian is unconvinced. Luke reveals that the League of Assassins are planning to brainwash a number of world leaders at a tech summit held by Bruce Wayne with the use of advanced earpieces being distributed to the attendees. As the brainwashing is taking place, Nightwing, Robin, Batwoman, Alfred, and Batwing arrive and fight Talia and her henchmen. During the fight, Mad Hatter is killed, thus stopping the mind control from undergoing to completion. Bruce, under the effects of the brainwashing, is made to fight Nightwing and defeats him. Talia then orders him to shoot Grayson and Damian dead, but Bruce, with the help of Grayson’s pleas, resists the effects of the mind control and disobeys her. Incensed, Talia escapes into her auto pilot vessel only to be met by Onyx, a member of Heretic’s team who attempts to murder her in revenge for the ruthless death of Heretic, causing the vessel to crash, resulting in both her and the latter’s death. The “Bat family” then returns to the Batcave to plan their next move. Nightwing explains that none of the Mad Hatter’s programming can function without his being around to activate it.The Bat skylight shines in Gotham City where Batwoman, Nightwing, and Batwing assemble to meet Batman and Robin on top of the police station where they see Penguin escaping cops by car. Batwoman and Batwing fly down, as Batman, Robin and Nightwing fire their grappling guns. On a nearby building, Batgirl observes the group launch their chase and fires her own grappling gun to join the pursuit.

This film has it all, really solid writing and voice acting. Nice to see Batwoman make it into these animated movies.

REVIEW: BATMAN VS ROBIN

CAST
Jason O’Mara (Resident Evil: Extinction)
Stuart Allan (Bad Teacher TV)
Jeremy Sisto (Wrong Turn)
Kevin Conroy (Batman: TAS)
Trevor Devall (Justice League: Gods and Monsters)
Robin Atkins Downes (Babylon 5)
Grey Griffin (Adventure Time)
Sean Maher (Firefly)
David McCallum (NCIS)
Weird Al Yankovic (Spy Hard)
Peter Onorati (Goodfellas)

During an investigation of missing children, Damian Wayne, AKA Robin, Batman’s son with Talia al Ghul, has taken the Batmobile out to an abandoned toy factory without Batman’s consent. He finds the perpetrator, Anton Schott, who has mutated some of the victims into dolls. Batman arrives, and in the resulting battle, Robin chases Schott while Batman knocks out the dolls with gas and frees the remaining children. Upon defeating Schott, Robin chooses to spare him, but an owl-masked assassin named Talon suddenly kills Schott and frames Robin for the murder. Batman is eventually convinced of Robin’s innocence after finding an owl feather at the crime scene.The next night, Bruce has dinner at Wayne Manor with fellow wealthy socialite Samantha Vanaver, who meets Damian. Later, he tries to connect with Damian, but he voices his frustration towards Bruce for never trusting him. Bruce goes out, leaving Damian with Nightwing to look after him (and calling off his date with Starfire in the process) and starts to investigate the owl feather, which leads him to the Gotham Museum of Natural History’s Hall of Owls. He is reminded of a childhood story about the Court of Owls, a secret society of wealthy men who ruled Gotham from the shadows and killed any who opposed them by sending agents called talons. On the night his parents were murdered, Bruce had seen an owl clutching a bat flying away from the crime scene. He became convinced that the Court of Owls was to blame, but after finding no evidence of their existence, Bruce dismissed the legend.While continuing to investigate, Batman is attacked by three undead, owl-masked assailants. After killing one, Batman witnesses the other two suddenly liquefying into black ooze. Meanwhile, Damian, having escaped Nightwing and fled the mansion, is approached by Talon, who encourages Robin’s choice of punishing criminals and offers Robin a chance to join him. Unsure of the decision, Robin returns home, where Bruce discovers him and warns him that he will be sent away to a school in Switzerland unless he learns to discipline himself.While driving to a date with Samantha, Bruce is kidnapped by white owl-masked people and he is brought before the Court of Owls, who offer Bruce a chance to join them. After Bruce leaves, given time to consider the offer, Talon reveals himself to be working for the Court of Owls, who are secretly raising an army of inhuman, undead talons to destroy Gotham City and allow the Court to rebuild it in their own image. However, their current talons are imperfect and dissolve after a period of time. It’s also revealed that Talon’s in a romantic relationship with Samantha, who’s secretly the Grandmaster of the Court of Owls. While the Court is planning for Talon to become one of their undead soldiers, with Robin serving as Talon’s replacement, Samantha’s secretly planning to save Talon from this procedure and have him become a member of the Court, so he can rule Gotham by her side.Damian, having contacted Talon, starts accompanying him to take out criminals, though he hesitates to kill them, which frustrates Talon. Sensing how Robin looks up to Batman as a father, Talon explains that after he gave his abusive thief father up to the police, who shot him, Talon was recruited by the Court of Owls. Batman shows up, having tracked Robin’s activity, but is blocked by Robin from capturing Talon. Batman tries to convince Robin that Talon and the Court of Owls are using him, but Robin is unconvinced, believing Batman is trying to hold him back from his potential. A confrontation breaks out between them, with Robin nearly getting the chance to kill Batman before leaving.Batman sneaks into the Court of Owls’s headquarters through the sewers, but is exposed to psychotropic gas by the Court, causing Batman to hallucinate. He is rescued by Nightwing and Alfred Pennyworth. Meanwhile, Talon introduces Robin to the Court and the Grandmaster. When Damian reveals himself to her, Samantha deduces that Batman is Bruce. When ordered to kill Damian, Talon instead turns against and overthrows the Court and kills every single member, including Samantha. Now in control of the Court’s army of talons, Talon leaves Damian behind, offering him another chance to join him once he has killed Batman.Talon and his soldiers attack Wayne Manor, breaking into the Batcave as Batman, Nightwing, and Alfred fight them off. Batman and Talon battle each other. Talon gains the upper hand until Robin, who escaped from the Court’s headquarters, intervenes and fights in Batman’s place. He eventually defeats Talon and holds a sai to his throat. However, Talon commits suicide by forcing Robin’s sai through his own neck, leaving Robin stunned and confused. Batman tries to welcome Robin back home, but Robin refuses, claiming he needs to sort out who he is. He leaves for a monastery in the Himalayas that Batman suggested to him.file_204535_4_Black_Moon_Rising_Tommy_Lee_JonesConsidering he began as the spawn of what was first considered one of DC’s non-canonical “Elseworlds” stories, Damian Wayne’s perseverance throughout the Batman narrative comes as a bit of a surprise, largely on the steam of Grant Morrison’s fondness for the character. Damian’s lineage and ruthless perspective add a dose of ideological conflict to the Batman formula that works towards justifying those misgivings. The key aspect of Batman vs. Robin comes, obviously, in that conflict between this volatile assassin-trained Robin and the life-preserving Batman, feeding into the rocky father-son relationship between the Waynes.

REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE: THRONE OF ATLANTIS

CAST (VOICES)

Sean Astin (Cabin Fever 3)
Rosario Dawson (Daredevil)
Nathan Fillion (Firefly)
Christopher Gorham (Ugly Betty)
Matt Lanter (Disaster Movie)
Sumalee Montano (Beware The Batman)
Shermar Moore (Birds of Prey)
Jerry O’Connell (Mockingbird Lane)
Jason O’Mara (Resident Evil: Retribution)
Sam Witwer (Smallville)
Steve Blum (Wolverine and The X-Men)

In the Atlantic Ocean, the USS California submarine picks up incoming human-like threats approaching the sub by sonar. The sub is attacked, leaving the entire crew dead by the invading hostiles. At S.T.A.R. Labs’ Justice League headquarters, Cyborg, who has recently received environmental upgrades in an operation that replacing his remaining lung, is given news by Colonel Steve Trevor, the liaison for the Justice League, over the sunken sub. Cyborg decides to check it himself, deciding against Trevor’s idea of calling the other superheroes, as he puts it “there is no Justice League”, feeling there is truly no unity to them as they have never come to help each other since Darkseid’s invasion. At Mercy Reef in Maine, Arthur Curry, drunk over the recent death of his father, picks a fight with a group of tough guys over them wanting to eat the lobster Arthur was talking to. He defeats them using inhuman strength and when the last man tries to stab him, his knife breaks into pieces against Arthur’s chest. After throwing him into the ocean, Arthur leaves, unaware that he is being watched by Mera and Dr. Shin. Cyborg uses a Boom Tube to teleport down to the sunken sub and discovers hand prints on the hull and that several nuclear missiles are missing from the launch bays. He is then attacked by the same hostiles that attacked the sub and suffers damage to his servos through his escape, though manages to take a knife-like weapon off one of his attackers when they stab him with it.

Back at their HQ, Cyborg gets help from Flash and Shazam to get Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern, leaving Batman the last one remaining. Green Lantern decides to head to Gotham City to get Batman, who is currently chasing henchmen of the Scarecrow. Green Lantern captures them for Batman, but Batman is angry as he needed them to head to where Scarecrow was and about his plot against Gotham’s City Hall. With the entire team together, they check the raised sub and Cyborg’s assault. They realize the enemy is not related to Darkseid but warriors from Earth’s origin. Thanks to Diana’s knowledge, she reveals these warriors are from Atlantis, beings saved from death after their land sunk into the ocean after being turned into underwater creatures by their king’s mystical trident, after seeing the weapon Cyborg was stabbed with, with the theory of war related to the missing missiles. Using Shazam’s suggestion, Superman and Batman decide to meet Atlantis-expert Dr. Shin, while the others are tasked in finding Atlantis.

At Atlantis, Prince Orm and Black Manta, the latter of whom secretly accompanied Dr. Shin when he was watching Arthur disguised as a man named David, meet with Orm’s mother, Queen Atlanna. They argue over declaring war on the surface world because of the damage during the events of Darkseid’s attack, with Atlanna saying that the volcano that killed Orm’s father the king, was due to Darkseid’s forces while Orm says it was the Justice League’s fight with Darkseid that killed him. Orm also says that the humans polluting the Earth will eventually destroy it and Atlantis in the process, which he believes is a reason to attack them first. Atlanna silences Orm with the Trident of Neptune, the king’s trident of the Atlantean legend with immeasurable powers, which seem electrically based, that can only be accessed by Atlantean royalty and asks Mera to bring Arthur, her other son, to Atlantis.Black Manta uses a craft holographically disguised as a submarine to attack Atlantis using the same stolen missiles, framing the surface for their “unprovoked” attack. Arthur answers the door to Dr. Shin, who tries to tell him that his father contacted him before his death to help Arthur. Moments later, Dr. Shin is killed by Atlantean soldiers sent by Black Manta. Arthur is overwhelmed by the attack, being knocked out and blasted out of his collapsing house, until he is saved by Mera, who dispatches the soldiers by using her control over water and its density, and taken underwater. Batman and Superman enter Dr. Shin’s home discovering that his work is destroyed. Superman recreates a photograph of Arthur Curry and a letter from his father revealing that his son is half-Atlantean.Batman decides they must find him. The attack on Atlantis leads the citizens and Orm to demand for war and to break the seal on war plans created by the former king in the event of conflict with the surface. Queen Atlanna decides that they might need to reveal themselves after centuries of being hidden and contact the Justice League. Arthur wakes up with gills on his neck in underwater Atlantean ruins with Mera, who explains his situation. Atlanna met Arthur’s father and gave birth to him. Due to her being royal, she could not be with him nor Arthur, so she had to leave to be with her king and Orm, though she still loved Arthur greatly and had even been watching Arthur when he was a child. Arthur had once encountered Atlanna when he was swimming by the shore. Now, Atlanna believes Arthur can help Atlantis be the bridge between the two worlds. Mera then dresses him with the kings royal garb, hidden by Atlanna inside the ruins. Arthur, having difficulty process the situation, removes the armor and crown from his garb, leaving only the orange and green Atlantean bodysuit underneath, and heads to surface with Mera following him. Soon, they are attacked by the Trench. The creatures overwhelm Arthur, one of them even biting his hand, making him bleed. The Justice League arrives in time to defeat the Trench. Orm hears from Black Manta that the Trench failed to kill Arthur. Orm and Queen Atlanna argue because Orm wants to start a war as per his late father’s wishes and reveals his knowledge of Arthur Curry. Queen Atlanna reveals to him that she knows he attacked Atlantis. With this news, Black Manta confronts the queen, but is overpowered due to her trident. Orm then stabs her from behind, killing her and taking over Atlantis as the new king.Arthur, Mera, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Cyborg arrive at Atlantis and learn of Queen Atlanna’s death, the Atlantean people being under the impression that a surface dweller killed her. The heroes are then defeated by Orm, who has assumed the mantle of “Ocean Master” and uses the trident to incapacitate and restrain them inside cacoon like pods. Superman even sheds blood when attacked with the trident. The group is sent to be consumed by the monstrous Dark Trench, while Ocean Master leads Atlantis’ army to the surface. Arthur destroys his pod by tapping into the power of the trident and with Superman’s help, as well as his telepathic control over sea creatures, they save the rest and defeat the monster. In Metropolis, a massive tidal wave created by Ocean Master’s trident is used to conceal Ocean Master’s army, which reaches the shores and begins their attack. The military fights back but are powerless until the League arrive. During the fight, Superman saves John Henry Irons, and Wonder Woman saves Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen. Arthur is attacked by Black Manta, who reveals that he manipulated Ocean Master and plans to kill him when the time is right and take Atlantis for himself. While Black Manta is revealing his plan, Arthur calls a megalodon to attack him, dragging Black Manta underwater.Mera and the League attack Ocean Master but are once again defeated and unable to gain an advantage over him due to his Trident’s power, as Shazam turned to his normal form, Billy Batson, and Cyborg is electricuted and disabled. Wonder Woman successfully disarms him of the Trident, though she is nearly incapacitated by its energy when she holds it. Superman is further wounded with the trident, being pierced in the chest with it. Arthur becomes the last to face Ocean Master, who has an upper hand during the fight until the end due to Orm being unable to use the trident’s true power on Arthur due to his own status as Atlantean royalty. Despite this, Ocean Master manages to defeat Arthur with the trident’s power by not using it directly on it and causing a massive blast of power to incapacitate him. Batman saves Cyborg from dying by electrocuting him with a taser device, and Cyborg reveals that he has video of Ocean Master confessing to killing his mother when they were captured. As Ocean Master is killing Arthur, nearly impaling him on his trident, Cyborg broadcasts Ocean Master’s confession all over Metropolis for Atlantis’ soldiers to see. Stunned by his treachery, the soldiers do not obey Ocean Master’s commands and Arthur uses the distraction to defeat him. He then convinces the soldiers to stand down and declares his desire to bring Atlantis and the surface world together in peace.

Later in Atlantis, Arthur is crowned as king, with the Justice League among the audience celebrating. Batman suggests that, with new threats appearing, they need to solidify the team and Cyborg reveals plans for a watchtower. Arthur joins as Aquaman (which is a nickname everyone on the Internet gave him and he hates), and soon heads with now-love interest Mera against the Trenchers outside Atlantis.  In the post-credits, Ocean Master is incarcerated at Belle Reve, yelling at the guards to release him. He is approached by Lex Luthor who has a proposition for him to consider.maxresdefaultThis was enjoyable, it is nice to see a story about other characters in the DC universe.

REVIEW: SON OF BATMAN

CAST (VOICES)

Jason O’Mara (The Good Wife)
Stuart Allan )Batman vs Robin)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Giancarlo Esposito (Twilight)
Xander Berkeley (The SPectacular Spider-Man)
Thomas Gibson (Far and Away)
David MCcallum (The Great Escape)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Sean Maher (Firefly)
Diane Michelle (The Simpsons)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk vs)
Bruce Thomas (Legally Blonde)
Kari Wahlgren (Wolverine and The X-Men)

At the headquarters of the League of Assassins, Ra’s al Ghul grooms Damian Wayne (son of his daughter, Talia, and Batman) to succeed him as head of the league. The league is attacked by a group of assassins led by Slade Wilson, Ra’s al Ghul’s initial choice for successor before Ra’s met Batman. Feeling betrayed, Slade decided to seize power. During the battle, Ra’s is fatally burned in a missile strike explosion, dying inches away from reaching the Lazarus Pit. Although Damian stabs Slade in the eye, Slade escapes, vowing vengeance. Talia takes Damian to Gotham City to protect him with his father’s help. In Gotham City, Batman confronts Killer Croc, who is stealing mutagenic chemicals and steroids to enhance himself, to the point where he grew a reptilian tail. Before Batman can be eaten by Croc, Talia electrocutes Croc from behind. She tells Batman about her father’s death and leaves their son in his care, though Damian believes that he can take care of himself and does not need Batman. Although Damian wants to avenge Ra’s al Ghul by killing Slade, Batman objects to this. Slade, now calling himself Deathstroke, captures Dr. Kirk Langstrom, who was working with Croc to enhance him in return for the mutagenics he stole and also had worked with Ra’s, promising a formula for his soldiers. Slade threatens Langstrom’s family to force him to recreate the Man-Bat formula for him and his soldiers. Damian bypasses Wayne Towers security to speak to Bruce, telling him about Slade’s contact, Ubu, who was part of the raid on the League’s headquarters and is stationed in Gotham. Although Damian wants to avenge Ra’s al Ghul by killing Slade, Bruce objects to Damian wanting to kill. Talia is captured by Deathstroke when she and some remaining League members attack his compound.Against Batman’s orders, Damian leaves the Batcave and, after a chase and a long fight, defeats Ubu, who he located by accessing the Bat-Computer. Before Damian can kill him, Nightwing arrives, mistakes him for a criminal and subdues him before bringing him back to the Batcave. Batman berates Damian for his recklessness, willingness to kill and exposing their operation. Batman then has Damian don the mantle of Robin to teach him discipline. Searching for a lead on Langstrom’s location, Batman goes to Arkham to interrogate a rabid Killer Croc, who supplied the mutagens to Langstrom in exchange for his enhancements and is currently going through drastic, agonizing withdrawal symptoms that cause him to shed his scales and tail. Since others are too afraid of him to medicate him without being harmed, Batman promises Croc help in exchange for information. Batman follows Croc’s lead about the formula’s mutagen to Langstrom’s apartment, where he finds a throwing star that he takes evidence of Deathstroke’s involvement. Before he leaves, he goes throughout the building and finds a storage room filled with caged bats, with one larger cage being empty and broken open from inside. Batman then finds a rabid gorilla with bat like mutations, one of Langstrom’s unstable subjects, and it attacks him until it dies from its mutations. A drone aircraft sent by Deathstroke then flies past and crashes on the building, destroying it, though Batman evades the explosion. Commissioner Gordon warns them about an abandoned stadium believed to house Deathstroke’s men.

At the stadium, Batman and Damian question Langstrom but are attacked when Langstrom becomes violent. Before they successfully escape, they fight off a swarm of Man-Bats. In the cave, Langstrom reveals Deathstroke’s plan to create superhuman, flight-capable assassins. While Nightwing works with Langstrom on an antidote, Batman and Damian rescue his family. Batman guesses that Talia has been abducted when he finds evidence of torture in an empty cell, which he keeps from Damian to not set him off. They find and rescue Langstrom’s family, but Batman is unaware that Deathstroke challenged Damian to a fight in exchange for Talia’s life through a video device he gave Langstrom’s daughter in exchange for sparing them. Both Langstrom’s daughter and Deathstroke’s video tell him not involve Batman in the their fight.file_204535_4_Black_Moon_Rising_Tommy_Lee_Jones

Nightwing learns that Deathstroke is operating in an oil rig off the Scottish coast, and when Batman is distracted, Damian goes to the rig. He finds Deathstroke and Talia in an underwater base with a swarm of Man-Bats and another Lazarus Pit, whose fluid Deathstroke intends to sell. Damian pulls a gun on Deathstroke, who holds one against Talia’s head until Damian drops his gun. Deathstroke fires at him, but Talia is hit instead after she jumps in the path of Deathstroke’s gunfire. As Deathstroke corners Damian, Batman appears and the Man-Bats attack. Batman wards them off with sonar-emitting batarangs, and Deathstroke flees after losing to Batman in a brief fistfight.

Batman heals Talia in Lazarus Pit, while Nightwing and Langstrom reach the oil rig and cure the Man-Bats. Damian defeats Deathstroke, refusing to kill him because he is his father’s son. The elevator from the rig to the underwater base is destroyed when the Man Bats, overwhelmed by the sonar devices, overcrowd the glass elevator shaft, flooding the base. Batman, Talia and Damian escape, but Deathstroke is left behind. Batman believes that Damian should stay with him and remain Robin, while Talia still wishes to recreate the League with Batman, who would rather disband the League, and Damian at her side. She decides to let him care for their son, and leaves with the League of Assassins though she still says she will return for him.

Son of Batman is an excellently animated adventure, credit to Warner Animation who have done a sterling job. The action is constant with some excellent characters making an appearance; Nightwing, Killer Croc, Manbats and a prominent performance from Alfred. Whilst Damian is an impetuous Child. He is skilled and earns Batman’s respect. The story is solid this is a great addition to the DC animated universe.