Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good anthology. What’s better than a few different short stories being told together in a collection? It’s like if a chip company were to put some Cheetos, BBQ chips, Cool Ranch Doritos, and some sour cream & onion chips all in one bag. You get a little taste of all sorts of flavors. DC Comics has been doing just that with the comics lately but now we’re getting an anthology in animated form with DC SHOWCASE – CONSTANTINE: THE HOUSE OF MYSTERY which contains four shorts of very different sets of characters to bring you a cornucopia of flavor. Constantine: The House of Mystery, Blue Beetle, The Losers, Kamandi, The Last Boy on Earth! are all stories with their unique styles and stories that make a great anthology.
Matt Ryan (Constantine, Legends of Tomorrow) reprises his live-action and animated role as the Hellblazer himself in Constantine – The House of Mystery which is a continuation of the pre-rebooted DC animated universe. The opening shows the end of Justice League Dark: Apokolips War as a reminder of how absolutely batshit wild that universe got which truly sets the tone. Before I talk about how well executed the story is, I have to comment on Matt Ryan. Some actors are destined for roles in which I can never see anyone capturing it in the way they do and that is Ryan with Constantine. There’s a crisp snide wit to the tone of his voice every time he reprised the character that’s bled into anywhere I read the characters voice. This performance may be one of his best with a truly sad tale. Matt captures all the different facets of the character with heart and a cheeky wink to just how shitty the character can be to the people around him even when he means to do his best. My biggest hope for whatever comes next for DC, Matt stays around as Constantine forever.
The main story follows Constantine trapped in the House of Mystery after the universe was rebooted for everyone else. Without getting into spoilers, John is trapped in his own personal hell in a Groundhog day type situation where he is forced to relive the situation on repeat. When you find out the true root of what is happening in the story, it may break your heart if you have any warm feelings for the character. Imagine Groundhog’s Day if Bill Murray was a magical asshole with a hot girlfriend who killed him every day. Sure, it may sound like a dream up until the whole getting murdered part but it gets so much worse when the weight of the situation gut punches you.
While Kamandi, The Last Boy on Earth! feels like the first animation that captures the Jack Kirby art style and The Losers highlights a weird chunk of the DC Universe, Blue Beetle stands above them all. Imagine being a kid with your bowl of cereal on Saturday morning watching the Hannah-Barbara era superhero shows. That is the exact animation and story style delivered with this story that wears that era as a badge of honor but still pokes fun at some of the animation hiccups. It’s just a extremely fun story that follows Blue Beetle (voiced by Matt Lanter, Anakin Skywalker himself from The Clone Wars) and The Question going after Dr. Spectro who is voiced by Tom Kenny (Nuff’ said). My face was covered in a huge grin for the entire short because it gave me that feeling Super Friends did when I was a kid.
DC Showcase – Constantine: The House of Mystery is such a fun grab-bag of DC Comic stories brought to life with animation. If you’re looking for a little horror, some heart, and a lot of smiles then you really need to pick up this collection to get a little taste of all the flavors that make DC Comics so magical.