Watch the first episode of JUSTICE LEAGUE: GODS AND MONSTERS CHRONICLES right here!

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Superman. Batman. Wonder Woman. You know these heroes. You know who they are, what they stand for and who they fight on a daily basis. But you don’t know the Justice League of the upcoming Gods and Monsters universe.

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Because in this animated universe, Superman is actually the son of General Zod, Wonder Woman doesn’t hail from a Greek god worshipping island and that ain’t Bruce Wayne under the Batman cowl. That’s a vampiric Kurt Langstrom, better known as the Man-Bat in regular continuity. And in a darker world, there also exists darker villains. Prepare for a far creepier version of Harley Quinn:

As director Bruce Timm explained, this Justice League isn’t evil. They’re just operating with a different sense of morality:

I would probably qualify that by saying that I don’t think of them as being evil. They have a different definition of superhero morality and modes of operandi, I guess. But I don’t know. This is my own personal weird philosophy, so bear with me.

It made sense at the dawn of comic books to tone down the characters because when Batman and Superman were first introduced they were much harder edged. Batman killed a couple people and Superman would routinely throw crooks off of buildings.

But this outright code against superheroes, any guy who wears long johns can never ever kill anybody, I just feel like that’s a little bit artificial. It made sense when comic books were definitely aimed at young kids. But the comic book audience has grown up over the years.

I feel that idea is maybe just a little bit too extreme in one way, not that I think superheroes should go around slaughtering people. But at the same time, it cracked me up when the “Man of Steel” movie came out a couple of years ago, and everybody was all freaked out because Superman killed Zod. I’m thinking, “I don’t have a problem with that.”

But the publishers quickly realized that was probably not the best role models to be giving little kids, and of course, they introduced the sidekicks, and things definitely got tamer and tamer. I can definitely understand where that came from.

I tried to do exactly the same beat in our Superman: Doomsday movie. That’s how I wanted Superman to defeat Doomsday was literally by breaking his neck. DC was like, “Oh no, he can’t do that. Superman would never do that, he would always find another way.”

Maybe it makes sense for Superman, but any other superhero—I kind of think of them as super cops. If there’s a cop out doing his duty and he sees an innocent bystander about to get killed by somebody, and if the cop has his weapon, not only does he have the right to use lethal force, but he has an obligation to use lethal force.

Not to get too realistic about it, I know these are fantasy characters, but at the same time, it’s like, “Yeah, I can buy that. It’s a not a big extreme.” Or likewise, “Why is it OK for James Bond to be blasting away at guys or Indiana Jones? But heaven forbid if you wear tights, that’s a no-no.” So there’s that.

But at the same time we did want to contrast. We didn’t want these guys to be exactly Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman just wearing different clothes and having different names. From the ground up we reconstructed them, sometimes radically different from their traditional counterpart, and sometimes maybe not so quite radically different. But to me the game of “what if” is always fun. That is something that has always been appealing.

Right now that is something that is exploding in the comic book world. There’s tons of on-going series that are set in parallel universes. Spider-Gwen is the most obvious example. But even going back to Marvel’s Ultimate line, you see the same basic idea.

There’s still two more shorts to go, introducing the other members of this new trinity, before Justice League: Gods and Monsters arrives on Blu-Ray in July.

From visionary producer and animator Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series), Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles turns the DC Universe upside-down. In this dark, alternate world, telling the good guys from the bad guys is never easy: Superman is not the son of Jor-El, he’s the son of General Zod; Wonder Woman is not from peaceful Themyscira, but rather the warring nation of Ares; and Batman is more vampire-bat than man…and he’s not Bruce Wayne. It is unclear if our greatest heroes are here to protect us…or to rule us. Machinima has already announced a second season, which will come out in 2016.

Last Updated: June 9, 2015

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia's M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

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