Pretty much every major pop culture release these days is preceded by weeks and months of advance publicity — but not unlike Beyonce’s recent self-titled album, DC Comics-based animated feature “JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time” arrived this week without much warning, as a “stealth release.”
“Trapped in Time” is a direct-to-video Target exclusive, directed by “Green Lantern: The Animated Series” showrunner Giancarlo Volpe. The film features marquee Justice Leaguers including Superman, Batman (voiced by Diedrich Bader, reprising his role from “Batman: The Brave and the Bold”), Wonder Woman, The Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman; along with Robin, Legions of Super-Heroes members Dawnstar and Karate Kid, plus a cameo from Wendy and Marvin of “Super Friends” fame.
The plot pits the Justice League against a Legion of Doom consisting of Lex Luthor, Cheetah, Solomon Grundy, Bizarro, Gorilla Grodd, Black Manta, Toyman and Captain Cold; in a time-travel plot spurred by Legion villain the Time Trapper.
According to Volpe in an interview with Voices From Krypton, “Trapped in Time” was designed as a tie-in to Target’s Justice League toy line, and thus is meant to appeal to — and be appropriate for — younger viewers.
“The main thing about it was tone,” Volpe said.” If you look at something like ‘Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox’ or the upcoming ‘War,’ or, frankly, a lot of the stuff we do at WB, they’re grittier films. There are curse words and violence, so [Warner Bros. Animation executive vice president] Sam [Register] said, ‘We need something that’s a little more kid friendly.’ My initial reaction was reluctance, because I was worried he was asking me to do a pre-school version of the Justice League. We talked about it and he said, ‘That thing you do on Green Lantern, we just want that but with the Justice League.’ When I finally understood it in those terms — ‘I can do my storytelling sensibilities with Superman and Batman and all of them’ — I was, like, ‘OK, let’s do it.'”
“JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time” is on sale now at Target.
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