Justice League - War World
Boy-oh-boy-oh-boy! You've got to feel sorry for Superman and Martian Manhunter, don't you. First they get knocked unconscious whilst on a mining mission' in deep outer space. Then they get captured by a slave ship who swipe these two heroes amidst there travels'. Plus on top if all off, they both get sold to the tyrant called Mongul, who is in charge of a desolate planet called War World.
OK, I know what you're thinking to yourself -- what in Kirby's name is War World? Right? Plus why is this mammoth looking location such a terrible place to frequent? Well, the answer to this question is a very simple one my friend -- because it is.
You see, Mongul pressurizes the inhabitants living on this world to beat the living ka-ka out of each other for the sake of entertainment. And guess who's up next? Superman verses this world's most recent champion, Draaga.
No. Don't fret. I haven't forgotten about Martian Manhunter. Thankfully this lucky sod somehow manages to get away from this fight prior to Superman getting nabbed by Monguls goon-squad.
Oh! And while I am on the subject of 'goons' -- meanwhile -- whilst this is going on, two other members of the Justice League, namely Green Lantern and Hawkgirl, do their utmost to track their comrades down. Granted, this is not an easy thing for them to accomplish in hindsight -- especially when you take into consideration that they don't see eye to eye most of the time. Nonetheless, after some slapping, some duping; and them being left stranded on a desolate planet -- they do bump into someone who can help them with their investigations. No. Not Martian Manhunter. Draaga. Not so long after he losses his punch-up with Superman.
Still, that is most probably why what next transpires all comes to a head when Superman is forced to fight Mongul, huh? As jabs are staged - ploys are waylaid - planets are saved - and I find that the future is never a game so easily played.
Now before I give you my spiel on 'Justice League - War World'; please allow me to present to you some relatable facts first: (1) This battle scorned kingdom made its first appearance in issue 27 of 'DC Comics Presents', November 1980, and was created by artist, Jim Starlin, plus writer, Len Wein. (2) Originally this planet was devised by a warring race called the 'Warzoons', with the intent of using it as their 'ultimate weapon'. (3) The evil tyrant, Mongul, once used War World as a ploy to instigate a battle between himself, Superman, and Martian Manhunter. Supergirl was later thrown into the mix to combat this threat. (4) After 'Crisis on Infinite Earths', War World was reinterpreted by DC Comics to be a 'space empire' governed by Mongul, who usurped it from it's predecessors, the Council of Overseers. (5) The anti-Superman known as 'the Eradicator' made his first appearance as a Kryptonian artefact found on this planet. (6) In the 'Panic in the Sky' Superman storyline, War World was used by the mechanized bad-guy, Braniac, to attack the Earth with. Thankfully he lost. (7) In the story which told the tale of Superman coming back from the dead, entitled 'Reign of the Superman', Mongul and the Cyborg Superman destroyed Green Lanterns hometown of Coast City, in the vein attempt to turn this Earth bound location into a new War World. Thankfully they lost too. Kind of. (8) Issue 5 of 'The Legion', published October 2001; saw this planet amalgamated with Pluto in the far distant future. (9) War World has been featured in the 'Superman Returns' video game as well as the BBC Radio adaptation of the 'Reign of Superman' story-line.
OK, so now that this trivia has slid out of me noggin', I'm sure you'd want to know if this cartoon is any good, huh? Good or Bad? Well, a part of me wants to say that it is a great adventure story -- because it is -- whilst another part of me wants to say that it could have been a lot better if given half a chance.
Here, let me tell you what I mean by this in bullet-point style: (1) Overall this adventure is one part investigation and one part beat 'em up -- which is fine for a nice cartoon. However, in the same vein, I do think that the creators of this story did miss a trick within the scheme of things. You see, for a lot of this tale Martian Manhunter went 'missing', and I honestly feel that his role could have been expanded upon a bit more within the proceedings -- as a commentator, commentating on the living conditions that the people of War World have to live with. (2) By in large I did really enjoy watching the 'punch and search' style of this animated adventure; especially in the way that the simplistic narrative helped tell the two-stranded story in such a very dynamic fashion. (3) The stand out scenes for me where those involving Green Lanterns and Hawkgirls journey. Not only did they highlight how different these two characters really are, but it also showed how similar they are too. (4) Unlike some of the other 'fight's' depicted in this series, I have to admit that I really did like how those illustrated in this instalment were choreographed. Truthfully, I thought that the incremental and 'punchy' bouts were some of the best slug-fests I have seen in a long while -- almost reminiscent of a 'candy-flossed' version of the film 'Raging Bull' with Robert De Niro [click here to check out Robert's section]. (5) Now I know that a lot of people out there in cyberspace weren't too pleased that Superman didn't kick the cr*p out of Mongul at the end of the piece. Me on the other hand, I thought that his more 'laid back stance' was very in character -- and had a pre-cursor highlighting this fact earlier in the yarn.
Overall 'Justice League - War World' was a fairly decent flick to watch. The through-line was easy to follow. The action was very well executed. And all in all it was a very 'nice' and 'friendly' slice of bold animation that is one part spectacle and one part cantor. Agreed Mongul?
Ooops! Wrong Mongul. It's Mongol. Mongolian singer Dashdondog. Sorry.
THE RATING: B