With an upcoming app launch DC is proving it’s drawing power is far greater than just Batman, Superman, & Wonder Woman. Soon the phrase “DC Universe” will not just refer to the Comicbook Publisher’s galaxy-spanning, character-filled comic world, but a digital streaming platform by the same name. DC recently dropped some new info about the service they first teamed with Warner Brothers to create in late 2016. Though the update was sparse, there were certainly still some exciting new nuggets shared. It kicked things off with a reveal of the new platform’s logo, beneath it stylized text reading “The Ultimate DC Membership is coming. DC Universe is a first-of-its kind, immersive digital experience designed just for DC fans. One of the many incredible things your membership will include is unlimited access to the following exclusive original series.”
When news originally broke of the (then) unnamed platform it was a footnote in the bigger story- that being, the previously cancelled animated cult hit "Young Justice" would be resurrected and what we now know to be "DC Universe" would be it's exclusive home. Young Justice had previously aired two seasons, from late to 2010 to early 2013 on Cartoon Network but after it’s cancellation, years of non-stop fan campaigning on social media and great streaming numbers for the previous seasons on Netflix finally earned it a much deserved chance to return. Fans will finally get to see them make good on the big cliff hanger they've been waiting 5 years to see resolved.
Similarly, the promise of a live action “Titans” show has lingered for several years; most recently it was tied to TNT last year before it died once again. That parting of ways is probably for the better, as it’s tough to picture a show about a team of young superheroes doing well amongst a lineup filled with the NCIS’s and Law & Orders of the world. Supergirl had a similarly bumpy road on CBS before relocating to The CW for it’s second season and the show feels much more comfortable in it’s skin after the move. As DC Universe will finally be rescuing Titans from development purgatory, it’s no coincidence they’ll be putting someone at the helm who knows well how to steer young superhero shows to success. Greg Berlanti, the architect of the CW’s five current successful DC Comics based shows will head up Dick Grayson and the gang’s adventures. Hopefully this means even bigger crossovers to come with the CW’s Arrow, Supergirl, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Black Lightning.
Also coming to both the DC Universe App and Greg Bertlanti’s resumé is a live action Doom Patrol. This is big news for fans of the misfit superhero team as it will be the first time Robotman, Negative Man, Elasti-Girl and Dr. Niles Caulder will be portrayed on screen outside of a few brief animated appearances. It’s been confirmed that this show will be in the same universe as “Titans”, but if it also officially coexists with the heroes of Berlanti’s CW shows, Doom Patrol’s tendency to embrace the wonderfully bizarre will be a great change of pace from the more standard hero fare.
From animation she came and to animation she will return. Given the level of popularity Harley Quinn has climbed to since she debuted on Batman the Animated Series back in 1992, this new show should be a big draw for prospective subscribers to the DC Universe app. Though Harley crossed over from a kids show to the more mature world of comics years ago, her move back to an animated show won’t revert her to her PG roots. Harley’s 2018 animated incarnation will stay closer to her printed persona- a much more fleshed out and edgy Harley will be than simply “The Joker’s girlfriend”.
The announcement that the DC’s dark character Swamp Thing will get another crack at his own eponymous show rounds out what we know about the exclusive content of the DCU app to date. Unlike the other live action shows of the upcoming DC Universe app, this one will be produced by James Wan who happens to be involved in DC's big screen-side of things as director of the upcoming Aquaman movie starring Jason Momoa. As yet it’s unclear whether Wan’s Swamp Thing will exist in the same universe as the Berlanti produced shows, but his new incarnation unquestionably has an advantage it’s 80’s film and early 90’s show predecessors did not- an advanced digital effects arsenal to fully do justice to Swamp Thing’s weird mystical world on screen.
With the advent of The DC Universe App DC seems to be continuing to tighten their grip on the in-home entertainment market; even leaving their own mediocre movie-verse in the dust by comparison. Through the still growing roster of Berlanti’s Arrowverse, DC is sneakily doing in serialized form what Marvel Studios has accomplished with their own vast universe in theaters. The highly anticipated Harley Quinn and Young Justice: Outsiders look to maintain DC’s long-held spot atop the animated show throne and with a whole platform to fill-out there is surely still a lot of information to come. A fanboy can only hope that somewhere in their vague description of “immersive”, “many”, and “incredible” that there’s room for some digital comic books in the mix, afterall, without the comics themselves there’s no DC Universe at all.