As has become common again, thankfully, animated shorts starring lesser-known characters have been added to the DC Animated Universe the past few years. Given that THE LONG HALLOWEEN was split into two parts, we were gifted with two new stories featuring DC characters most of us have heard of, but not as many have read about.
Written by THE LONG HALLOWEEN screenwriter Tim Sheridan, the first short was true to the history of this war-torn DC comics crew. The setup is simple: WWII outcasts crash onto an island in the South Pacific. While there, they make a discovery they never would’ve expected: dinosaurs. It becomes a quick tale of survival in what feels like a new JURASSIC PARK spinoff series, that ultimately reveals this may not have been an accident.
I found THE LOSERS to be a brief, fun, action-packed short that had me entertained for its entire 16-minute runtime. The animation looked great, the fighting with dinosaurs was unexpected but awesome, and the voice acting was spot-on. Viewers with exceptional hearing will notice the scene-stealing Fan Long sounds familiar, voiced by Ming-Na Wen, who has dabbled in DC animation before as Detective Ellen Yin from the (underrated) animated series THE BATMAN.
Overall, I found this to be a highly entertaining short that was a bonus to a fantastic feature. If you haven’t dipped into it yet, hop to it. It’s dinosaurs!
Our second, and most recent, DC Showcase is a beloved character popularized on another animated Batman series (THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD), Blue Beetle. Ted Kord teams up with other DC characters to investigate a recent diamond theft, leading the cast face-to-face with the devilish Doctor Spectro.
I don’t have any attachment to Blue Beetle or any knowledge of his history, so I was excited diving into this short too. Unfortunately, by the time the credits rolled, I was ready to leave the world.
I don’t believe the Blue Beetle short was bad, it just wasn’t for me. Immediately I was swept in, as the approach felt like a series from Adult Swim, mixing VENTURE BROS. with HARVEY BIRDMAN and a sprinkle of BATMAN ’66. The vibe of this cartoon is awesome and very respectful of 60’s era pulp. I really was into that.
Sadly, the story just lacked much of a pull, and I couldn’t get invested. I found myself not caring about the mystery, nor any of the characters. Could that be a me thing? Absolutely. I applaud the effort here, as this was done in a style we haven’t seen, in any form, with the DC Animated Universe.
I’m glad the Blue Beetle got a shot in his own short, and want him to reach an audience before his live-action feature in the near future. Hopefully, that will draw me in more than this one did.