Review: The Spectre (DC Animation Short)

February 24, 2010

Caught this last night off the Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths DVD.  That was fine, and you can probably find a nice review of that somewheres else (although William Baldwin doing the voice of Batman in my opinion was a waste of money – he brought nothing but his name to the table – go search John K’s blog on the link to the right for his opinions on casting a “name” actor instead of an actor with a distinct voice for a cartoon for some real snark on that subject).

What I really want to write about is the short that came in the set: The Spectre.

It’s animated in an almost-MadHouse anime style, which really set it apart from the house style DC Animation usually uses, and the director, Joachim Dos Santos, added an “old film” look to the whole short, giving it a kind of retro feel.  The only criticism I can offer up to this short is that it has a sort of tentative feel to the writing – for those who don’t know (and, I think, what the writer, Steve Niles, was going for) there was a period in DC Comics in the 70s (Wikipedia lists it between ’74 and ’75*) where The Spectre was a ghost who gave criminals poetic justice in a fairly grisly manner. One vivid one was where The Spectre turned somebody into wood and ran them through a sawmill (BOY would I like to read that comic someday!)

The characters who do wrong get killed here too, but nowhere as memorably as the comics did it.  I wonder if this was a pilot program to groom new talent/styles for DC Animation?  If so, I’d like to request The Warlord and Sergeant Rock if you please.

* Only trust a Wikipedia article so far on something in the real world (like, Nuclear Power as an example)  – trust a Wikipedia article implicitly when reading about comic books, SF movies, or Family Guy.

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