Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman Get New Lives in Justice League: Gods and Monsters

John Hogan
DC Comics

Justice League, animation, comic con

They’re the most iconic DC Comics characters, but you’ve never seen them like this. In the new full-length animated movie Justice League: Gods and Monsters, Batman is a vampire (and it’s not Bruce Wayne under that cowl), Wonder Woman is a warrior refugee from an “Apokoliptic” world, and Superman is more than just the last son of Krypton—he’s also the offspring of General Zod.

While these aren’t the traditional versions of the characters, “we wanted to keep [them] rooted in the DC Universe,” says executive producer Bruce Timm, the animation mastermind behind Batman: The Animated Series, Superman, and Justice League. “It’s just a different, splinter universe.”

Justice League, animation, comic con

Wonder Woman

Unlike the Justice League most of us know, the heroes are not well liked by the citizens they protect. In fact, most are wary of the godlike power the metahumans possess, a fear that only worsens when someone begins murdering the world’s top scientific minds and all clues point to Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman as the prime suspects. The struggle to clear their names gives viewers glimpses of some other familiar-yet-different faces, like the Metal Men, Lois Lane, Ray Palmer, and Lex Luthor. (“We came up with a take on Luthor that was too good to pass up,” Timm notes.)

Justice League, animation, comic con

Superman

Fans got a first look at these characters via Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles, a series of three animated shorts from Warner Bros.’ short-form digital production arm Blue Ribbon Content, on the YouTube channel of gaming and video site Machinima (youtube.com/machinima). More adventures are in the works, with a short-form series set in this world, which will also be available on the Machinima channel.

“I think people have always liked what-if or alternate-universe stories,” Timm says. “DC has a long history of imaginary stories.”

The series will showcase an expanded cast of redesigned DC characters, including Mary Marvel—while darker, “she’s still very pure with a heart of gold,” Timm promises—and a version of Steel that will be a mash-up of John Henry Irons and the Hank Heywood character DC first published in his own comic in the late 1970s. And there will also be the introduction of the Green Lantern Corps.

“We wanted to embrace the absolute sci-fi-ness of the Green Lanterns,” says Timm. “In this version, aliens aren’t commonplace. We figured if the Green Lanterns showed up, it should be a big-ass first-contact story.”

Timm says he’s having “a blast” creating these tales along with screenwriter and longtime collaborator Alan Burnett: “We have total carte blanche. It’s almost too much freedom! It’s so nice not to have to worry about 75 years of continuity. Continuity is great, but sometimes it’s constricting.”

Justice League: Gods and Monsters, Available Tuesday, July 28, on DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital HD

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