As promised, the first season of the new Justice League animated series, Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles, debuted online this week, thanks to Machinima and DC Animated Universe mastermind Bruce Timm. And it’s pretty nuts. The season features three shorts introducing us to the new status quo — and new, darker takes on the three most iconic heroes in superherodom. From the first, it’s already clear that Timm is digging deep to make this series and the upcoming movie as different from DC canon as possible, but with enough there to keep things recognizable. Take a look:
The first episode, Twisted, stars Batman, voiced here by Dexter‘s Michael C. Hall. The episode’s title is extremely appropriate; Harley Quinn has holed herself up in a warehouse that she’s turned into a funhouse filled with human remains. It’s more unsettling as anything the Joker has ever pulled off in the comparatively cheerful animated series, but it all ends when Batman reveals himself to be a vampire. I’ll admit here that it isn’t my favorite.
The second episode, Bomb, stars none other than Superman, as he’s called in to take down Brainiac. But this isn’t Kal-El. This is the Son of Zod, and he looks the part. I won’t spoil the ending, but it’s simultaneously shocking, moving, and appropriate. Benjamin Bratt plays a Man of Steel who still seems grounded in his willingness to do what’s right.
In the final episode, Big, we’re introduced to Wonder Woman (Tamara Taylor), who’s actually a New God of New Genesis here. Of course, we also meet Steve Trevor, who’s ever the character’s love interest. This episode has a bit more fun than the previous two, but there’s no question that these characters are willing to kill when necessary.