A new series of DC Animated Shorts are coming in 2019, and the list is full of surprises. DC and Warner Brothers Animation announced a slate of five short animated stories led by five very different characters – Batman, Sgt. Rock, Adam Strange, the Phantom Stranger, and Sandman’s Death – and created by some of the heaviest hitters in the DC animated orbit.
This is Death’s first appearance in non-comics media. Her story sounds a little bit like Death: The High Cost of Living, the miniseries created by Neil Gaiman and Chris Bachalo – manic pixie Endless girl meets an artist and helps him work through his personal issues to come to grips with his artistic legacy and inevitable demise. It’s produced and directed by Justice League vs. The Fatal Five’s Sam Liu, and written by J.M. DeMatteis, a veteran of the DCAU and co-creator of several seminal comics stories like “Kraven’s Last Hunt” and the Bwa-ha-ha era of the Justice League. And Death is voiced by The Gifted’s Jamie Chung, a perfect casting choice.
Sgt. Rock follows the World War II legend as he leads the Creature Commandos against a platoon of ultimate first-person-shooter villains: Nazi zombies. Rock is voiced by Karl “Best Part of the Star Trek Reboots” Urban, and the short is directed by DCAU architect Bruce Timm, and written by the greatest power couple in comics history: Louise Simonson (of New Mutants and Superman fame) and her husband Walter (the best Thor writer and artist of all time).
Adam Strange sounds like it was inspired by The Expanse – Strange is the town drunk on an asteroid mining colony until the miners unleash a group of deadly alien bugs, when he has to clean himself up and save everyone. Strange is voiced by How to Get Away with Murder’s Charlie Weber, and the short is directed by DCAU veteran action director Butch Lukich and written by DeMatteis.
The Phantom Stranger’s short follows a young woman named Jess as she hits up a party in a run down mansion. The Stranger (who *SPOILERS* is actually Judas left to wander the Earth for his betrayal of Christ, at least in the comics), steps in to save these doomed teens from a horrible fate in what I can only assume is the House of Mystery. This one is directed by Timm and written by Ernie Altbacker (Teen Titans: The Judas Contract), and voicing the Stranger is none other than Darth Maul himself: Peter Serafinowicz.
No information is available on the fifth short besides the fact that it will lead a compilation release of all of the prior shorts in 2020, and it’s title: Batman: Death In The Family. For those of you without a DC Universe subscription or younger than 30, that was the story where readers called in votes to a 900 number and ordered the death of Jason Todd, who was beaten to death by the Joker and eventually resurrected as Red Hood.
This isn’t DC’s first foray into animated shorts. DC Showcase was originally a set of five shorts that ran alongside feature-length animated films in 2010 – The Spectre, Jonah Hex, Green Arrow, and Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam. The first short will likely be released alongside the next DCAU film, Batman: Hush, later this year.