12th Level Intellects: Expectations for “Justice League”

James Strecker and I recently debuted the first episode of our new podcast 12TH LEVEL INTELLECTS, named after the DC Comics term for a cosmic genius, and an offshoot from the fan theory discussions of the same name we recorded for the WATCHTOWER DATABASE. We focus the conversation specifically on niche topics relating to DC Comics and DC Animation. Adam Mullen composed the intro music.

We hope to release an episode every other week where we discuss relevant news, comic book recommendations, and dive into a random topic, the first being our expectations for the upcoming JUSTICE LEAGUE feature film. Listen to the episode embedded below via YouTube or find us for streaming on Soundcloud.

Ted & Daniel talk BATMAN BEYOND

Daniel Dockery, an editor for Cracked.com, approached me to start a “written podcast” looking back on the BATMAN BEYOND animated series by the legendary team of Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Alan Burnett, et all. As one of the primary sources for the LEGACIES OF THE DCAU webcomic, I’ve already watched this series through many times, but it’s been a few years, and I have no doubt my memory needs refreshing.

We focused primarily on the first two episodes “Rebirth” which set the stage for the series. We discuss the growth of Bruce Wayne, changes that have happened to Gotham over the years, and the new villains such as white collar criminal turned glowing green skeleton Derek Powers and his scarred henchman Mr. Fixx.

Read the first post on Daniel’s blog Daniel Is Funny entitled “Great Villains Need Cool Eyeball Scars” and watch the classic theme song embedded below with music composed by Shirley Walker and animation by Darwyn Cooke.

12th Level Intellects // recap

About a year ago, I participated in an extensive discussion with James Strecker on fan theories regarding the DC Animated Universe (or DCAU, if you will) which was a series of interlocking cartoons that began in 1992 with BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES and concluded in 2006 with JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED. The DCAU started one of the first shared universes, a concept that Marvel Studios has now popularized over the last decade.

Since the DCAU experienced such a lengthy run with spin-offs like STATIC SHOCK and BATMAN BEYOND, these versions of DC Comics’ classic characters were truly streamlined to the bare essentials that made them work without all the baggage of 75 years of comic book history. Because of this, some characters were occasionally taken into new, unfamiliar territory, such as the romance between Green Lantern and Hawkgirl as well as a glimpse into the twilight years of Batman’s career.

The DCAU never ceased to surprise even long term fans of the characters and the internet took it upon itself to push the realm of possibility even further. The aforementioned discussion on these fan theories became the 12TH LEVEL INTELLECTS podcast, a continuing segment featured on the WATCHTOWER DATABASE YouTube channel, named for a term in the DCAU meant to describe the smartest beings in the universe. That would naturally be the hosts of the podcast.

We’ve discussed various ideas such as whether the Teen Titans belong to this universe, if Gear and Brainiac bonded to create a lineage in the far future, if villains such as Harley Quinn, the Scarecrow, Penguin, or Lock-Up ever had children, and the possibility that the Justice Leaguer Warhawk was actually the son of Hawkman rather than Green Lantern, among so many more discussions to come over the next few months.

Our biggest success was the Harley Quinn video, linked below, which went viral shortly after the premiere of David Ayer’s SUICIDE SQUAD. As of this writing, the video has gathered over 160,000 views on YouTube and countless comments debating who was actually the father of Harley’s children. Expect additional installments of the 12TH LEVEL INTELLECTS podcast at least once a month as it does take a moment to splice together such a video essay.

SUICIDE SQUAD Podcast Review

Last month, I was a guest on JTS Entertainment‘s “Pleasantries” where I discussed SUICIDE SQUAD, the newest entry in DC Entertainment’s budding cinematic superhero universe featuring Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, Will Smith’s Deadshot, Jared Leto’s Joker, among an assembly of all-star actors.

Between myself and the host, James Strecker, being fans of the source material, we spent a lot of time nerding out over what was faithful and what wasn’t. It’s a lengthy conversation with a silly intro skit but fun times all around. I gave the film a 7/10 because I left the theater with such a sense of enjoyment, though as someone with an eye for cinema, I’ll be the first to admit there were problems with character development and pacing that deserved the scathing reviews it received from critics.

Personally, I suspect I’m too invested with the DC Universe to approach their characters objectively and without bias. For 2 hours and 10 minutes last month, I was simply happy to be alive in a world where I get to see characters like Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, Captain Boomerang, and Katana on the silver screen rather than the funny pages.