EDITOR'S NOTE: You can read the review of the main feature -- JUSTCE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS -- HERE.
A new edition to these DC Universe animated films is a series of shorts under the “DC Showcase” banner. The first one is THE SPECTRE and is included with JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS.
A bit of romantic history flows between Detective Corrigan and Aimee Brenner.
Written by Steve Niles (30 DAYS OF NIGHT), THE SPECTRE features Police Detective Jim Corrigan investigating the murder of a influential Hollywood producer, while his otherworldly alter ego takes out some supernatural vengeance on those involved.
Gary Cole voices both Corrigan and The Spectre and does a marvelous job. The difference between the voices of the detective and The Spirit of Vengeance is subtle, but The Spectre is definitely darker than his “human” counterpart. Alyssa Milano voices Aimee Brenner -- a former Corrigan flame. She’s really doesn’t have that many lines, but she’s does well with the one’s she’s got.
I’m certainly not an expert on the title character, so I did a little research after watching the short and prior to writing this review. From what I can gather, Niles was influenced by the 1970s version of The Spectre. To capture the -- ahem -- spirit of that era, the setting is not a dark and gritty New York/Gotham City, but a bright and sunny LA/Hollywood. The accompanying soundtrack has a sort of cheesy 70s vibe that certainly adds to the atmosphere. There’s seems to be a noir thing going on here as well as Cole (as Corrigan) narrates the story in a very 1940s mystery/detective movie sort of way.
While only a animated short, I enjoyed THE SPECTRE as much as the main feature and I’m totally looking forward to more of these (apparantly, Green Arrow gets the treatment next). I wouldn’t recommend buying the DVD/Blu-ray just for this, but it’s worth a rental of you’re not particularly interested in the JLA.
(JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS premieres on February 23, 2010 -- CLICK HERE TO ORDER! Visit the official website at JUSTICELEAGUECRISIS.COM.)