Make your stand against evil with this exciting Collection of 4 DC Showcase Animated Shorts starring favorite DC Comics super heroes! Chosen the world’s protector against the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man--pride, envy, greed, hatred, selfishness, laziness and injustice--young Billy Batson accepts his destiny as Captain Marvel. Battling alongside Superman against nefarious Black Adam, Billy soon discovers the challenge super heroes ultimately face: is it revenge or justice? For bounty hunter Jonah Hex and hard-boiled cop turned vengeance ghost The Spectre, getting their hands dirty is part of the job-- maybe even the fun part. But Superman, Green Arrow and Black Canary follow an internal moral code to guide their actions. They know it’s easy to get lost in the darkness of the fight, especially when villans like Merlyn the Magnificent and Count Vertigo place no value on human life.
DC Universe finally brings Captain Marvel into its animation fold with The Return of Black Adam, albeit in an extended short that pairs him with Superman against the eponymous super-villain, and bolsters the whole thing with three previously released shorts featuring Green Arrow, Jonah Hex, and the all-too-rarely-seen Spectre. Black Adam serves as a sufficient origin story for the World's Mightiest Mortal, with scrappy orphan Billy Batson meeting wizard Shazam (voiced by James Garner, of all people), who grants him limitless powers. Enter Black Adam (Arnold Vosloo), Shazam's former disciple, who wants to destroy the new-minted hero, but thankfully, the Man of Steel is around to show Marvel the ropes. Producer-director Joaquim Dos Santos (who oversaw all the shorts) brings just enough information and action to Black Adam to keep viewers entertained, but the venerable Captain Marvel truly deserves his own feature, and one without the extraneous appearance of Superman (who, it should be said, gets his card pulled by Black Adam before the Big Red Cheese intervenes). And despite the abundance of action, it pales in comparison to the depth of character and story evinced in the three accompanying shorts. DC Showcase: The Spectre (from Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths) features Gary Cole as the supernatural avenger in a '70s-grindhouse-influenced mystery that flirts with genuine horror, while Neal McDonough voices Green Arrow (from Superman/Batman: Apocalypse) in a tense stand-off with master criminal Merlyn (Malcolm McDowell), while the Jonah Hex short (Batman: Under the Red Hood), featuring Thomas Jane as the scarred bounty hunter gunning for outlaw Michael Rooker, offers more entertainment in its 10 minutes than the entire live-action version with Josh Brolin. The disc is rounded out by informative commentaries by the respective writers for each short, including award-winning novelist Joe R. Lansdale (Jonah Hex), 30 Days of Night creator Steve Niles (The Spectre), and Gargoyles' Greg Weisman (Green Arrow). Four episodes from Justice League Unlimited, each devoted to the respective stars of these shorts, round out the set. --Paul Gaita