Tag: Planet Hulk

The League of Quality Superhero Animation plugs “Crisis on Two Earths” at Paley Center


It’s an old story. You’re a superhero minding your own business and then you bump into someone who looks very familiar but, well, something’s just not right. Gee whiz but this person looks a lot like you and is even wearing similar clothes, but then you notice your new acquaintance looks like he or she is made from rocks, uses terrible grammar and does everything the opposite of you. (“Me want to not save world!”) Or the newcomer looks like one of your deadliest enemies, but turns out to be no Bizaaro, but as heroic as you are. What’s a superhero to do?

It’s an old superhero comic story that has yet to find its way into a big-time costumed-hero flicks — but at least it’s finally been used in a solidly entertaining and often slyly funny direct-to-DVD animated production. Rated a mild PG-13 for non-deadly “action violence,” Warner Home Video’s “Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths” shows us the fall-out of an alternate universe where the equivalents of our most famed superheros are essentially costumed Mafioso, while a bald guy named Luthor and a joker named the Jester vainly fight the power of organized caped crime.

When the alternate Luthor (Chris Noth) manages a reality jump into the original DC Comics Universe, he enlists the aid of  most of the Justice League. And so, Superman (Mark Harmon), Wonder Woman (Vanessa Marshall), and a less than cooperative Batman (William Baldwin), become involved in a desperate quest to free Good Luthor’s universe from super-powered criminal domination by the vicious Crime Syndicate and it’s Jersey-thug-like leader, Ultraman (Brian Bloom) — and also to stave off the possible destruction of all existence by an off-his-evil meds Dark Knight of the Soul, Owlman (James Woods), and his only slightly more sane GF, Super Woman (Gina Torres).


The 72 minute direct-to-video feature was premiered at both of the coastal outlets of the Paley Center, and I attended the one located on Earth Prime’s Beverly Hills. Us members of the local geek press were allowed to commune with members of the cast and crew and, in my case, that started with the extremely busy animation casting and voice director, Andrea Romano. The loquacious performer and voice director, whose work includes everything from “Animaniacs” to “Spongebob Squarepants” and “Ben Ten,” is held in as high esteem by super-animation fans as any actor, writer, or director. Her work on DC superhero projects goes back to the early nineties and “Batman: The Animated Series,” which revolutionized superhero cartoons with quality writing from creators like Bruce Timm and Paul Dini, animation, and, thanks to her efforts, acting.

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Planet Hulk

For as much as Marvel utilizes him in their animated films, you’d think that the Hulk was the company’s flagship character. “Planet Hulk” marks the fifth appearance of the Not So Jolly Green Giant (including all three Avengers films and last year’s double feature, “Hulk Vs.”), and quite frankly, it’s starting to get a bit out of hand. While the Hulk deserves his share of the spotlight just as much as the next Marvel superhero, the decision to follow up one Hulk-centric feature with another only risks alienating those who aren’t fans of his comics. Based on the miniseries of the same name, the story begins with the Hulk awakening to discover that he’s been shipped to an uninhabited planet by the Illuminati after being deemed too dangerous for Earth. When Hulk causes the shuttle to malfunction and crash land on the planet of Sakaar, however, he’s forced to partake in the gladiatorial games by the planet’s leader, the Red King.

What follows is essentially “Gladiator” lite, with the Hulk teaming up with his fellow contestants to overthrow the Red King and earn their freedom. The problem with this formula is that the Hulk isn’t exactly leading man material, and although the writers try to remedy that by giving him more to say than just “Hulk smash!,” it feels terribly out of character. The story itself is plagued with flashbacks for supporting characters that draw attention away from the titular hero, while the action scenes are fairly bland when compared to the far superior “Hulk Vs.” Fans of the Hulk will still enjoy seeing one of Marvel’s most recent mini-events come to life, but next time around, they’d be better off choosing a bigger crossover event that appeals to a larger audience like “Civil War” or “Secret Invasion.”

Click to buy “Planet Hulk”

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