DC Animated Movies: Catwoman Short, ‘Justice League: Doom’ Trailer Premiere [NYCC 2011]
The DC Universe Animated Original Movie panel at Comic-Con today featured a full screening of the Catwoman short from the upcoming Batman: Year One, the world premiere of the Justice League: Doom trailer, appearances from both long-time Batman voice actor Kevin Conroy and actress Eliza Dushku, and the discussion of possible features based on Blackest Night and Vertigo Comics.
Moderator and Warner Home Video publicist Gary Miereanu introduced both casting/dialogue director Andrea Romano and executive producer Bruce Timm to long applause from the audience, including a standing ovation for Timm. Catwoman voice actress Eliza Dushku (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer) made a surprise appearance to introduce the Catwoman short, which was played in its entirety. Minor spoilers follow.The ten-minute Batman: Year One extra, which was written by Paul Dini, began with two thugs racing through the streets and shooting at their intended victim… a cat. The cat is naturally rescued by Selina Kyle, who takes one look at its unusual collar and decides to track down the man who put out a hit on the kitty: a cruel diamond smuggler named Roughcut.
The diamond-toothed villain proceeds from his busy day of attempted cat-killing to a strip club, where we see an extended and very adult sequence of an unrelated stripper pole-dancing for Roughcut. Selina appears backstage and tells the other strippers to take a break, and then takes the place of the next dancer while wearing her Catwoman costume. After a short routine that briefly convinces Roughcut and his goons that she is a stripper, Selina unzips her costume, retrieves a whip from — I dunno, somewhere in the costume, and proceeds to kick their butts.
I admit to suffering a bit from cheesecake fatigue at this point, because I’ve seen so very many super-heroines put into super-sexualized situations that I’m just kind of tired of it. That said, both of the stripper routines from random blond lady and Catwoman are very sexy — which also elevates the feature to not-for-kids status — and Selina is an undeniable badass who exudes a dangerous sensuality both on the stage and in bone-crunching hand-to-hand battles.
The fight scenes are brutal and incredible, as Selina takes on a guy twice her size in a throwdown that involves motorcycle racing, tearing doors off cars, people getting tossed through windows, and trucks hurtling end over and end. The big twist at the end adds an emotional wallop that you might not be expecting, and the entire thing feels true to Catwoman’s history as a sexy, powerful character.
As Timm joked after the closing credits — and more wild applause from the audience — this short is “ten minutes of sex and violence we didn’t get do in Batman: Year One.”
Long-time Batman voice actor Kevin Conroy made his way to the stage to yet another standing ovation and gratified the audience by reciting, “I am vengeance… I am the night… I am Batman!” in his iconic Batman voice. Conroy then introduced a teaser for the upcoming Justice League: Doom, which draws from Mark Waid and Howard Porter’s “Tower of Babel” storyline in the Justice League of America comic, where Batman becomes concerned about the possibility that the super-powerful Justice League might somehow turn evil, and compiles detailed dossiers about how to defeat them as a last-ditch contingency plan.
“He’s the only superhero that doesn’t have superpowers. He’s mortal. he only has his wits to get him through,” Conroy explained. “How could he handle any of these superheroes if anything went wrong? So he comes up with a dossier on each one, on how to take them out.”
Naturally, this information falls into the wrong hands — the villainous Legion of Doom — thanks to what Timm joked was a lack of digital security on Batman’s part. “[Batman] left [the dossiers] in his iPhone,” said Timm. “Damn that iPhone,” said Conroy in his famous Batman voice.
The short trailer for the feature introduced the Legion of Doom and their plans to destroy the Justice League, which included talk of a Kryptonite bullet as Superman’s prostrate body seemed to tumble from a building, and Bane throwing a headstone at Bruce Wayne standing in an open grave and saying, “before I broke the Bat; now I break the man.”
In the question and answer period with members of the audience, Timm was asked if Warner Brothers might ever adapt a Vertigo comic to an animated feature, and responded that “We’ve talked about it… It’s definitely a possibility.” Timm also told questioning fans that DC has not asked him to include any particular elements of the New 52 in his animated films, and that the possibility of adapting the recent Geoff Johns crossover Blackest Night “comes up occasionally in conversation.”