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TZ @ SDCC: WB Animation Showcases "The Batman" and "Legion of Superheroes"

The panel for Friday, July 27th at Comic-Con featured a nicely lengthy discussion of the two new seasons of WB’s currently-running comic book cartoons, The Batman and Legion of Superheroes. Both shows will be premiering their new seasons – #5 for The Batman and #2 for Legion – on Saturday, September 22.

Legion came first, and provided a large slate of cast and crew to talk about their sophomore year. Producer James Tucker, known for his DCAU work as a producer/storyboarder/designer, was on hand along with director Brandon Vietti (already featured earlier as a director for Superman: Doomsday) and writer Michael Jelenic, hot off his well-received fourth season story editing for The Batman. These crew members were joined by three voice artists: Yuri Lowenthal, voice of Superman; Alex Polinsky, playing newbie Chameleon Boy; and Phil Morris, featured as the new Big Bad of the season, the evil Imperiex.

The notable difference right out of the gate is that Legion‘s second season is looking much darker. Tucker described the first season as being their “Silver Age”, and this new season as their “Bronze Age”. The characters are a few years older, more in the 17-18 age range, and some have been redesigned accordingly. The Fatal Five and the Legion of Supervillains were confirmed to be making appearances, but Tucker stressed that the Imperiex would be their big recurring villain this year, with Phil Morris mentioning that they pushed him to go ten times more savage in the characterization. (A one-word demonstration from Phil revealed a pretty inhuman-sounding voice.) Along with Chameleon Boy, Dawn Star and Karate Kid are confirmed to appear, but the big character difference this time is that we’re not getting exactly the same Superman. Last time, they went to the past and picked up that Superman; this time, they’re going into the future and getting a test-tube-grown Superman who never had any farm life or Kansas upbringing, and is thusly pretty harsh and vengeful. He was featured prominently in the promo, but Lowenthal confirmed that he’s voicing at least two different Supermen, so perhaps Season One’s Superman will also be joining up and encountering this other version of himself.

Next was The Batman‘s section of the panel. The four-person crew ended up being producer Michael Goguen, producer and story editor Alan Burnett (stepping up into full story editor mode after last season’s Michael Jelenic departed), casting and voice director Andrea Romano, and writer Stan Berkowitz, who is confirmed to be writing three of Season Five’s episodes, including the Green Arrow one.

The fifth season, as anybody who saw last season’s finale knows, is opening up The Batman‘s world to the rest of the DC universe and including many other heroes; in fact, of the thirteen episodes in the season, eight of them will be team-ups. The two-part opener will be where Superman and some of his cast members make their appearance, featuring the voice-over returns of George Newbern, Dana Delany, and Clancy Brown in their DCAU roles (Superman, Lois, and Luthor, respectively). Of other heroes, the Lantern is stated to be Hal Jordan; however, the Flash won’t be taking off his mask and thusly confirming who he is. Alan Burnett sees him as a young Barry Allen, but he said that Wally fans can imagine it’s Wally all they like. In fact, Goguen and Burnett pointed out that they took a very Silver Age approach to the League and its members. The producers were loath to really spoil any plot details, but in listing villains, they did reveal that the two-part opening would deal with a Bat-villain team that includes names like Bane, Freeze, Clayface, and others. Additionally, Harley Quinn and Hugo Strange will return, as well as other heroes’ villains making appearances like Metallo and Mirror Master (one of Burnett’s favorites).

As mentioned earlier, both shows will see their new seasons start on the Saturday morning of September 22. They’re both looking to be even more fan-pleasing and character-packed than their respective previous seasons, so fans should start counting down the days.

Stay tuned to Toon Zone News for complete coverage from San Diego Comic-Con 2007 throughout the weekend.

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