It’s been called the “never-ending battle”. It’s what Superman faces on a daily basis to make the world a better place. But always, Superman adheres to a strict moral code that is all life is sacred. The taking of a life is a line Superman, and most of his fellow heroes, never cross.
So what happens when Superman meets a team of so-called heroes that don’t have his moral compass? A team that believes the ends justify the means, even if that mean killing the enemy.
That is the moral dilemma that the Blu-ray Superman vs. The Elite tackles.
Superman vs. The Elite is an adaptation of the Superman story “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice & the American Way?” that appeared in Action Comics #775. Written by Joe Kelly and drawn by both Doug Mahnke and Lee Bermejo, it was a response, at the time to teams like the Authority, that had no qualms about killing the enemy.
The premise of Superman vs. the Elite is, the Elite are a new team of heroes that have no issues with extreme actions like killing. They are revered by the public, but Superman believes that his the ever-ethical and decidedly non-lethal code is a better way. This put Superman in direct conflict with the Elite. The battle to decide who’s ideology is the best way.
The adaptation of the story to the feature is very true to the comic. Very little is changed here, thus giving us a true interpretation. The message is still conveyed very strong here. For writer Joe Kelly, this really seems flawless. unfortunately, that’s the only good thing I can say about this Blu-Ray.
I had an extremely hard time enjoying this feature because of the sub-par animation style used here. It was horrible, and kept distracting me from the story. I truly found it unwatchable at times. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by the last couple of releases, but the superior animation used in Young Justice. It was almost a caricaturist of itself. For such a dark storyline, better animation should have been used.
The other major issue I had was Robin Atkin Downes as the Elite’s leader Manchester Black. It sounded like he was trying too hard to sound British. Which is almost comical seeing how he is English. It was just so bad. Unlike past DC Animated features, the producers didn’t use Andrea Romano. She’s made the difference on others.
Blu-ray bonus features included a first look at the long awaited adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns. The Dark Knight Returns will be released in 2 parts. Not sure how I feel about that, but if it preserves the story, I’m all for it.
Two featurettes “The Elite Unbound: No Rules, No Mercy” and “Superman and the Moral Debate”, are also included. Audio commentary. 2 episodes from Superman: The Animated Series TV. And a digital comic version of Action Comics #775. I personally I could do without the digital comic. I just can’t get into it.
Bottom line, as much as I hate to say it, Superman vs. The Elite is more of a rental than it is something to own.
Superman vs. The Elite is available now.