Almost every superhero comic has its own alternative “what if” stories. As a fan myself, it can sometimes be difficult to suspend my disbelief when reading these tales. At the very least, I keep thinking to myself “that’s fascinating, but that’s not how — for example — Superman would be, or that person is not Superman.” We have an interpretation of a hero, villain, or character and we generally compare the alternative to the original. That is how a lot of alternative comics universes work: they work by comparing and contrasting the new with the original.
With superhero comics universes like DC, it often goes further into making those alternate worlds actually relate and connect to each other. Alternate Superman will meet the “real” Superman and we can go home thinking about how fascinating that was, but ultimately finding “our” Superman more valid.
Justice League: Gods and Monsters does something similar. We can see echoes of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman in these characters: or at least their roles. However, at least two of the characters already exist in the DC Universe in a different form, and this darker take on that universe says something about what it takes to be a hero with it.
Machinima and Warner Bros. have teamed up to create a trilogy of sorts: of three shorts that will provide backgrounds for the heroes of the main feature Justice League: Gods and Monsters: a DC Universe Animated Movie that will go straight to DVD.
You can view all three of these shorts: “Twisted,” “Bomb” and “Big” online and right here for your viewing pleasure.
Episode One: Twisted: In which there is honour even in one of the darkest of souls.
Episode Two: Bomb: In which the Son of Zod wishes he was a good man, rather than a Superman.
Episode Three: Big: In which Steve Trevor realizes that it is sometimes okay to ask for help. And that “help” can be a safe word.
This season of three shorts will lead into another ten episode long series in 2016. A four-issue prequel comic by J. M. DeMatteis and Bruce Timm will be released along with the movie: which will come out in July 28, 2015. Hopefully we will get to see these three characters stand on their own and look at where they are headed next into the dark, but honest horizon.