DM Haight

For the last few years we’ve been bombarded with heroes kicking the butts of every conceivable villain, from the Joker to the Sandman, and then back again to Loki and Hydra. Oh, and don’t forget General Zod. He was okay.

But with all these great, and occasionally not so great villains coming in, shaking things up, getting their rears handed to them, and getting tossed behind the bars, it’s become tiresome watching all these heroes coming out on top. I mean, look at these masterminds of terror! How can they not merit their own triumph once in a while? Even the gangsters of the 20s, 30s, and 40s had fan clubs. Heck, Jesse James had books written about his exploits while he was still out having more exploits. So why is it that we can’t have a bad boys and girls club running rampant in the cities of our liking?

Well, DC has an answer to that?

You can. In fact, they made just that. Assault on Arkham is the villains movie of the comic book mega giant. Instead of the focus on Batman, we watch Deadshot take over the suicide squad: a group of criminals assembled to take on the more distasteful tasks of the US Government. Their leader is Amanda Waller, voiced by C. C. H. Pounder. No one could ask for a more distasteful human being, and Pounder’s body of work has given her the tools to play this one to the extreme. Very rarely do we feel the disgusting nature of a person on screen, let alone an animated one; but Pounder magnifies a degree of vileness that finally dwarfs those of Gotham’s Most Wanted.

Back to Deadshot, a super assassin who never misses, who’s manly enough to catch the Joker’s gal, Miss Quinn. Yeah, you read right. He’s the guy in charge, despite the goofy incarnation he suffered in the Arkham games, which Assault is based off of. He’s voiced by the suave Neal McDonough, who captures the personality of the over-confident sharp-shooter. Deadshot rises to be the head honcho rather quickly and arouses the glances of more than just Harley Quinn.

Breaking into Arkham proves difficult, in some respects, but when you have a sultry Killer Frost, A shark week-worthy monster man in King Shark, and a new(ish) comer in Troy Baker taking over a newer, more violent and sadistic version of the Joker, you really can’t argue that the movie is going to have more than a little fun. Co-directors Jay Oliva and Ethan Spaulding work in a good deal of light-hearted humor, an impressive feat considering people get their heads blown off, stabbed, shot, beaten, and…intimate.

If this was a test from DC to play with fans and see if they could go further with their materials, then without a doubt they have earned, at the very least, a B+. Assualt is by no means, perfect, but what test run is? The animation is an offering suitable for any fan of animation, above and beyond the Saturday morning quality we tend to get with other run of the mill Direct-to-DVD releases. It’s not afraid to present the horrid individuals as comedians and heroes. It’s not afraid of the morbid and sickening. Batman has a few rare appearances, and that’s it. This is not an adventure of the Dark Knight, and that’s a serious relief. Fans of animation, and fans of comic, like the occasional diversion from the main protagonist. Whenever you have Harley Quinn kicking the good guys down a hole, there will be no complaints. And when you have the Joker getting territorial? Well, that’s a side we don’t often get to glance at from the clown.

Assault on Arkham is a step in the right direction for DC, who needs to play the comic book movie right, or they’ll lose to Marvel/Disney. This kind of raunchy, derelict animated step is one in the right direction.

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