- Title: Justice League vs. Teen Titans
- wiki: link
The latest home video release further exploring the characters and world introduced in Son of Batman sends the uncompromising Damian Wayne (Stuart Allan) to the Teen Titans in hopes that Robin may be able to learn teamwork and trust. Borrowing a little from Damien’s time with the Teen Titans prior to the New 52 reboot, writers Bryan Q. Miller and Alan Burnett choose to give their spin on a more classic Trigon (Jon Bernthal) story. As with the previous movies, the story lacks the Robin/Red Robin rivalry from the comics, but certainly entertains.
With both heroes and villains being possessed by a demon threatening to break into their world, Raven (Taissa Farmiga) reveals the truth about herself and her father to her teammates Beast Boy (Brandon Soo Hoo), Blue Beetle (Jake T. Austin), and Starfire (Kari Wahlgren). When Raven is captured and multiple members of the Justice League are possessed by Trigon it falls on Robin and the Teen Titans to save the day.
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- Title: Batman: Bad Blood
- IMDb: link
Batman: Bad Blood is the third straight-to-DVD movie in the series that began with 2014’s Son of Batman. Following the events of Batman vs. Robin, the third movie continues to adapt previous comic storylines (this time both Dick Grayson‘s temporary stint as Batman and the events of “Leviathan“) while growing Batman’s supporting cast. Written by J.M. DeMatteis, Bad Blood begins with Batman‘s (Jason O’Mara) disappearance from Gotham while saving new vigilante Batwoman (Yvonne Strahovski) from an attack by the League of Assassins led by the Heretic (Travis Willingham).
Realizing Gotham needs a Batman, Nighwing (Sean Maher) takes on the mantle of the Bat while working along with Batwoman and Damian (Stuart Allan) to keep Gotham safe while investigating Batman’s whereabouts. Like most of Grant Morrison’s later work, “Leviathan” is messy, over-complicated, and flawed. DeMatteis takes the best aspects of the story, boiling it down, and merges it with Dick and Damian’s entertaining time as the Dynamic Duo.
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- Title: Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts
- IMDb: link
Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts is odd to say the least. Cobbled together from a variety of Batman storylines over the years, Batman Unlimited cherry-picks pieces of DCU continuity to offer a new (but not really fresh) take on the characters involved. Set in the not-so-distant future of Gotham City (with a definite Batman Beyond vibe) the straight-to-video movie opens with Batman (Roger Craig Smith) clad in a Beyondish red and black costume before eventually donning his more classic colors.
The film centers around the a group of animal-themed villains in Silverback (Keith Szarabajka), Cheetah (Laura Bailey), Killer Croc (John DiMaggio), and Man-Bat (Phil LaMarr) all working together as “the Animalitia” under the leadership of the Penguin (Dana Snyder). The Penguin also has an army of robotic animals who range from nearly unstoppable to easily destroyed (in the climax our heroes easily dispense with a number of the creatures while they struggle to deal with even single one for most of the movie).
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The second-issue of Dick Grayson‘s new series featuring Batman‘s former partner working undercover as an agent for a shadow spy organization known as Spyral finds Grayson and Helena Bertinelli after the mad-scientist inventor of a bizarre piece of technology known as an “enhanced stomach” which has gifted the woman with super-speed but also turned her into a bloodthirsty cannibal.
Although it keeps the feel of last month’s opening issue, Grayson #2 isn’t quite as strong (probably because the enhanced stomach sounds more dumb than exotic or dangerous). The second issue does continue to develop Dick and Helena’s relationship while offering us a good look at how motivated Spyral is to get its hand on technologies which can help them in their secret endeavors.
Also of interest is the fact that Midnighter returns for a cameo, still fuming at being beaten by an unknown Spyral agent meaning we’re likely to get another battle between the pair fairly soon. For fans.
Ever since he returned the cowl to Batman and became Nightwing once more DC Comics has struggled with what to do with Dick Grayson. The New 52’s choice to make him a traveling circus owner and business partner with the daughter of the man who killed his parents fizzled quickly. After the events of Forever Evil DC decides a fresh approach to the character which is better than expected.
Making Dick an agent of the secret spy organization Spyral, whom he may be secretly investigating for Batman on the side, blows much of the dust of the character throwing him into a James Bond-style comic filled with gadgets, espionage, and a beautiful female companion in the first appearance of the New 52’s Helena Bertinelli.
With beautiful art from Mikel Janin which captures the character’s acrobatic roots and a fight sequence against Midnighter reminding us Grayson can hold his own, the first issue offers a glimpse at a retrieval op for Dick as he continues to learn the ropes of the organization. I’m far from sold on Spyral itself, but there’s a lot to like about this version of Dick Grayson. Worth a look.