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Justice League: The New Frontier

Dave Bullock

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Justice League: The New Frontier
Directed by: Dave Bullock
(Warner Home Video)
Mainstream superhero comics tend to exist in a bubble. While the form uses metaphors to comment on current events, superheroes and real-world politics are generally kept separate. (Superman villain Lex Luthor was once elected US president; Bush is nowhere to be found.) But in his critically acclaimed graphic novel DC: The New Frontier, Hali-famous author/illustrator Darwyn Cooke deliberately mixes the two---DC comics headliners from the '50s, like Green Lantern and The Flash, and the social concerns of that decade (McCarthyism, racism, nuclear war) meet. But the primary goal of the new animated adaptation of New Frontier is showing its source material's superheroes in action. As a result, political themes explored at length in the book become asides. The film features snazzy animation---the opening credits sequence alone is worth the rental price---and its creative team (which includes Cooke) work in some of the original's political themes and character arcs. But since the movie's only 75 minutes long, the characters' changes of heart come a little too quickly and the political exposition's lean and less satisfying. The movie's good. But with another 20 minutes of story it could've been a better adaptation."
Lindsay McCarney

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