Last Friday during the premiere for Green Lantern: The Animated Series, DC Entertainment and Cartoon Network released the first look at the upcoming DC Nation block of television programming that will soon be featured on the network. That’s promo video is now online and you can watch it here below.
In this video we see several upcoming piece of the DC Nation puzzle including the two confirmed television shows, clips of shorts, some celebrities doing DC Comics related things, and fans in cosplay. The video promises to be an exciting look into the world and characters of DC Comics, while also taking behind the scenes looks into comic book creation and having Nascar drivers test out the various Batmobiles. It also promises that the all encompassing “you” will be a part of it as well, with a spotlight on fans.
So, should we analyze this? I think we should. First and foremost, in this video there are two full-length animated TV Shows. Those shows are Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Young Justice. I have a back and forth love/hate relationship with Young Justice. It’s got some good and exciting moments, but for the most part, it’s teenage melodrama in animated form. Fine, there’s an audience for that, it’s cool. I can’t speak on Green Lantern: The Animated Series, unfortunately, because I missed the premiere, but I’ve heard great things. And even though the animation style is not to my liking, I have no reason not to trust the sources who have praised it.
But, there is a big to-do about DC Nation, and I have to ask how this differs from what they’ve been doing over the past years. For example, on Saturday nights Batman: The Brave and The Bold was airing episodes alongside reruns of the anime-inspired Teen Titans. That was two shows run back-to-back to give you a feel of DC comics characters. But when they decided to drop that, Batman: The Brave and The Bold began running Friday nights (which it had for a long time) aside several other action/adventure animated shows like Ben 10 and Star Wars: The Clone Wars, neither of which are DC properties, so that doesn’t count. But what does count is that once Young Justice started to come on the network, Batman: The Brave and The Bold and Young Justice were aired back-to-back as a nod to the DC Comics characters. On Friday nights. At the exact same time as DC Nation is planned. So, how is this going to be any different?
Well, through the magic of “rebranding” the companies have seen fit to add bonus programming that would fit right at home as special features on DC DVDs to the programming block. In the video we see Nascar driver Trevor Bayne go to the Warner Bros. lot to look (and I can only assume test drive) the cinematic Batmobiles, along with a time-lapsed video of Cully Hamner drawing a piece of Green Lantern Hal Jordan. But the other part of this rebranding is through animated shorts. Now, these animated shorts don’t appear to be in the same vein as that of the Showcase animated shorts that we’ve seen prior on the DC feature-length animated films, these are completely different. This is where the meat of the animated block is. We see the live-action Blue Beetle test footage that was shown at San Diego Comic-Con in 2010, as well as new animation for Teen Titans, Lego Batman, — me if I were trying to be Batman (which could also be Gotham City Impostors?), Plastic Man, some Mad Magazine-style interpretations of DC heroes, and Amethyst of Gemworld [Thanks, PS Hayes and DCWKA].
So, really, the difference lies within the shorts. In addition to all of this, we get to see the cast of The Big Bang Theory tell us know that we’re watching DC Nation. Also, fun fact, the images that they use of the comic book Batman at the beginning are totally of the Dick Grayson Batman from Batman #706, which I’m positive they thought no one would pay attention to. Also, it’s odd that it’s Jim Lee’s Dick Grayson Robin (from All Star Batman and Robin: The Boy Wonder) standing next to Tony Daniel’s Dick Grayson Batman. Kind of hilarious, right?
All in all, it could be a really great thing, but I feel bad for the one kid that digs those DC Animated shorts of Teen Titans and then moves on to the comic book who is shocked to find a completely different world there. Also, in the interest of fairness I’m totally bitter about this whole thing because I absolutely love Batman: The Brave and The Bold, and it wasn’t invited to the party. If they had shown half the effort of this DC Nation rebranding and put it towards that show and Young Justice together, maybe it would have gotten the credit it deserves. But for me, to make this really feel like something special, throw in a monthly DC Animated feature, fill out the other hour with older Justice League or Justice League Unlimited shows. They have a whole lot of incredible animated properties, and it would be a shame to not see some of it used here.