Based on the first six issues of Superman / Batman by writer Jeph Loeb and illustrator Ed McGuinness, Public Enemies finds Lex Luthor (Clancy Brown) taking advantage of a poor economy and launching a third-party bid that wins him the Presidency of the United States. One of his first acts mandates superheroes must serve the government rather than act on their own as vigilantes. While some agree to serve Luthor and the country, Superman (Tim Daly) and Batman (Kevin Conroy) refuse.
When a large meteor of kryptonite is discovered heading towards Earth, Luthor uses it to suggest its effects are making Superman unstable. He frames the Man of Steel for murder and places a $1 billion bounty on him. Not only do Batman and Superman have to figure out how to deal with the impending meteor, they have to clear Superman of the charges, which is difficult with the number of villains trying to collect the bounty and the heroes trying to serve a federal warrant. All the while, Luthor continues to scheme.
The art looks good for the most part. Apparently, Superman and Batman do the same amount of crunches considering how equally ripped their abs are. However, the worst is the depiction of Power Girl, whose bosom is embarrassingly ridiculous. It makes no sense for her costume to have an opening to show off massive cleavage unless she only fights young, immature men who the producers think this appeals to.
The video is presented in 1080p High Definition 16×9 with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The colors are brilliant and pop off the screen, as demonstrated in the opening title sequence. Blacks are rendered well for the most part, but sometimes get lost when black appears on black. One costumed character looked like The Venture Bros.‘ Phantom Limb because his black gloves disappeared into the darkened background. The use of focus creates depth in this two-dimensional world and the artists have done a great job adding texture to the drawings.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio makes good, not great, use of the surrounds for ambience and music, slightly augmenting the scenes but not immersing the viewer. The subwoofer comes alive during the action scenes, from the fights to the rocket, but not as much as expected. The treatment seems more in line with what you might expect from a television show than a movie.
The Blu-ray offers over three hours of Special Features, but it’s a bit of a mixed bag.
“A Test of Minds: Superman and Batman” (19 min) presents Loeb and others talking about the relationship between the two heroes and their psychologies.
“Dinner with DCU and Special Guest Kevin Conroy – Extended Version” (56 min) is an obvious nod to Jon Favreau’s old IFC series Dinner For Five, and presents a dinner between Conroy, voice director Andrea Romano, DC’s Gregory Romano, and “the very gifted producer Bruce Timm,” who obviously had access to the menu’s creation. The video is absolutely horrible with its constant moving and zooming of the camera and its quick cuts. Apparently, the director and editor weren’t told no one cares about their reel. Best to turn off monitor and just listen.
DC gets in some serious promotion with “A First Look at Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths” (11 Min), an upcoming DCU release for Spring 2010; “Blackest Night: Inside The DC Comics Event” (9 min) of the summer; and all the previews of previously released DCU movies starring Wonder Woman, Batman, Green Lantern, and the Justice League.
Bruce Timm offers his Top Picks with four episodes of Justice League Unlimited: “Question Authority,” “Flashpoint,” “Panic in the Sky,” and “Divided We Fall” and two from Superman: The Animated Series that involve Batman: “The Demon Reborn” and “Knight Time.”
Comic book fans will have a lot of fun with Public Enemies. It’s a good team-up story, although how much kryptonite poisoning Superman can take appears to fluctuate based solely on plot events, and there’s plenty of action with many familiar, and maybe not-so-familiar, faces.