Superman/Shazam! The Return of Black Adam

A collection of animated shorts featuring various DC characters.


DC Showcase: The Return of Black Adam

  • Directed by Joaquim Dos Santos
  • November 9, 2010

Voice Cast

  • Billy Batson-Zach Callison
  • Captain Marvel-Jerry O’Connell
  • Shazam-James Garner
  • Black Adam-Arnold Vosloo
  • Clark Kent/Superman-George Newbern
  • Punk, Sally’s Boyfriend-Josh Keaton
  • Sally-Danica McKellar
  • Mister Tawky Tawny-Kevin Michael Richardson

The infamous Black Adam returns to Earth seeking vengeance upon the wizard Shazam and his new champion.

As meaty DC animated stories go there is very little here. The Return of Black Adam is an extended animated short that uses Superman to get people to watch a story about Shazam and a confrontation against his best-known nemesis Black Adam. It gets right to the point in establishing the situation and then right to the action. We learn all the necessary data and “Bam!” Yet it does not feel empty or disposable as there is no fluff.

As I said Superman is used to get more eyes on this, but he is not added in a heavy handed way. It is a very natural and Clark Kent way he finds himself in the right place at the right time doing a story on Billy Batson. Too often the way a better-known character poorly fits in with a lesser known-especially an origin story-is heavy handed and makes little to no sense.

From an animation standpoint DC Showcase: The Return of Black Adam is just great. It is polished and fluid. More often than not DC gets this right. No matter how good an animated film is if it looks bad getting into it is difficult. The faces express everything from happiness to disdain and the characters look almost alive. The environment was detailed and populated.

The action is good but what really sells this story is the finale. Weirdly it comes off as much lighter than it actual is. Seriously bleak and depressing and rather surprising for what is ultimately family friendly. And I will not ruin it for you.

As animated shorts go it’s not their most sophisticated one but from an action and visual standpoint The Return of Black Adam is good. There’s plenty of superhero action and a very creative ending. Yet another DC animated short film that I recommend!


DC Showcase: The Spectre

  • February 23, 2010
  • Directed by Joaquim Dos Santos

Voice Cast

  • Jim Corrigan/The Spectre-Gary Cole
  • Aimee Brenner-Alyssa Milano
  • Foster Brenner, Peter McCoy, Flemming-Jeff Bennett
  • Drew Flynn, Lt. Brice, Deandre-Rob Paulsen
  • Police Captain-Jon Polito

When a successful Hollywood producer is murdered, The Spectre seeks justice for his killers.

For those unfamiliar The Spectre presented here is an undead cop and as a spirit he hands out justice to the wrong doers of sunny Southern California. We do not get how this situation came to be as this is not an origin narrative. And that is fine. Not every appearance needs to be how things came to be. We just need to have a situation set up well enough to get us through the plot.

The execution of DC Showcase: The Spectre is done with a nod to film noir. Our hero responds to a call from an old flame. From there he proceeds to off everyone in the conspiracy before the reveal of who is actually behind the conspiracy.

They try to frame it as a bit of a mystery but what clues he actually follows are never really shown. The implication being it has something to do with his supernatural nature but that is just more assumption than allusion. That’s a weakness in the narrative. As I said not everything needs to be an origin but the working of his powers is needed.

Otherwise this is an entertaining short and as shorts go demonstrates some potential for a longer feature with The Spectre as the central character. I’m not sure why that never happened. This is a great tease.

DC Showcase: The Spectre is an entertaining short that is a bit different than what we normally get the DCAU. It’s something different that you should give a look if you’re a fan of the DC films.


DC Showcase: Green Arrow

  • Directed by Joaquim Dos Santos
  • September 28, 2010

Voice Cast

  • Green Arrow/Oliver Queen-Neal McDonough
  • Merlyn Malcolm-McDowell
  • Count Vertigo-Steve Blum
  • Black Canary/Dinah Laurel Lance-Grey DeLisle
  • Merc #1-John DiMaggio
  • Princess Perdita-Ariel Winter

Oliver Queen is heading to the airport to pick up Dinah Lance when he encounters Merlyn and Count Vertigo attempting to assassinate the new regent of Vlatava.

DC Showcase: Green Arrow is an interesting story that is as much a slice of Green Arrow mythology as it is an action adventure narrative. At the core it is about how Oliver Queen is going to propose to a woman that he’s probably a little unsure of why she sticks around and how this proposal keeps getting botched up by life events from things as mundane as traffic and as serious as an assassination attempt on foreign royalty.

In this case that royalty is a small child thus making this as much a story about stopping an assassination as it is a story where the hero protects a kid and grows a bit. Her name is Princess Perdita and she is the recently crowned queen of her homeland and is the focus of an assassination attempt by her uncle the well-known DC villain Count Vertigo. The Count though is criminally underused here and just briefly shows up. The way he is used makes his identity ultimately unimportant to the story.

The story is high on adventure and this non-superpowered individual does some pretty amazing things. They make you believe that they are possible in the moment even if afterwards you when you think about them you realize they just probably could not be done. Somehow despite all the noise and action Black Canary never comes a running and helps until the very VERY end.

As much action as this has it also has plenty of cute. The cute princess is not a drag on the narrative nor is Oliver Queen’s cute  eventual proposal. There’s even a funny line where the princess says, “Every queen needs a consort.” That means two things!

DC Showcase: Green Arrow is yet another short that demonstrates there’s potential here for a larger project. Just do it!


DC Showcase: Jonah Hex

  • Directed by Joaquim Dos Santos
  • July 27, 2010

Voice Cast

  • Jonah Hex-Thomas Jane
  • Madame Lorraine-Linda Hamilton
  • Young Man, Bartender-Jason Marsden
  • Red Doc-Michael Rooker
  • Bar Girl-Michelle Trachtenberg

Bounty hunter Jonah Hex tracks down the infamous Red Doc and comes into the crosshairs of a murderous madame.

DC Showcase: Jonah Hex is perhaps the darkest of the shorts offered here. Unlike the live action Western version of the character, there are no supernatural elements present in the story. Hex is a simple bounty hunter who hands out justice along with his chosen profession.

This is roughhewn Western world with nobody being that good. An animated revisionist Western? Yes! That I found intriguing. This is very much blends in with revisionist Westerns with harden characters and an even harder world. Hex is on the side of good but barely just like any hero from a live action film.

The main villain of this is Madame Lorraine who robs and kills clients that appear to have money that stumble into her path. This is perhaps the best of the narratives presented here that fits most easily into a short period and it’s well crafted. It is simple and lacks complexity. It is just enough for a brief diversion. Murder for money. Dark but not complex.

DC Showcase: Jonah Hex is one of the better Western shorts out there and possible the most unique of the offerings here.


While the quality varies from one to the next these are all enjoyable shorts and definitely worth your perusal. Buy a physical copy of this or if you’re lucky it’s on HBO Max but either way check them out.

Published by warrenwatchedamovie

Just a movie lover trying spread the love.

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