Justice League Concept Art Analysis

Zack Snyder is probably breathing a sigh of relief right now. His much maligned Batman V Superman:Dawn of Justice appears to be getting a new lease of life in the form of the new “Ultimate Edition” which has become available for digital download in the US and met with favourable reviews from both those who loved the theatrical cut and those who hated it…

While we will have to wait an agonising four and a half weeks to get our hands on the Blu Ray here in the UK we can see the resurgence of goodwill towards Snyder and the emerging DCEU from our shores as more and more goodies emerge from the set of Justice League.

NOTE: You can check out my analysis of the Justice League News revealed thus far here and here.

Yesterday this concept art image was leaked on Twitter via user @nighthawkj2:

justiceleague

Being the obsessive pedant that I am, I couldn’t let this little nugget slide without some detailed analysis so here we go:

Overall

If you’ve leafed through the concept art book for Batman V Superman you’ll have already seen the images for Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman and the image is clearly a composite of individual design concepts loosely cut together rather than a unified design concept. STill, it all hangs together pretty well and rings true with what we know about the respective actors heights and proportions. The images of The Flash and Cyborg also seem to match what we’ve already seen from the CW DCEU special which speaks to the legitimacy of the image.

Aquaman

aquamanWe’re all fairly familiar with the design concept for Aquaman by now but I just wanted to go on record once more to declare how much I love it.

There’s a clear reference to the King of Atlantis’ look in the comics of the 90s by Peter David and Martin Egeland and the Justice League Unlimited animated series (minus the hook-hand thankfully) subtly combined with the Polynesian lineage and undiluted machismo of actor Jason Momoa.

Shark teeth and spearheads are abound in various islander cultures. Triangular denotations of spearheads and shark’s teeth are traditionally associated with the tattoos of Polynesian tribal cultures and it’s cool that costume designer Michael Wilkinson extrapolated elements of  Momoa’s own tattoos into Aquaman’s design.

The shoulder brace and gauntlet have a wonderfully crustacean-like aspect to their armour with a scale mail finish and if rumours are to be believed we may see Arthur don a suit of the familiar orange scale mail in the film.

NOTE For more information about the cultural significance of Aquaman’s tattoos check out this excellent article on ScreenRant.

Batman

Not much to speak of here. We can assume that Batman will continue to sport the Frank Miller inspired Batsuit from Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad for at least a good portion of the film although we already know that he will have one or likely even two costume changes. Eagle eyed fans may have already spotted what look like translucent white lenses on the cowl. Time will tell if these are indeed incorporated into the mask or if it was just an abandoned concept from BvS.

Superman

Unfortunately very little of mention here either. Time will tell if Superman continues to use his suit from BvS (although hopefully with the great big hole where he was gored by Doomsday patched up) or if we get a new design concept. Although Man of Steel has shown us that a black variant of Superman’s costume isn’t necessarily off the cards I’m not convinced that we’ll get the familiar black suited and be-mulleted Superman from the comics of the early 90s.

If we do see a new Superman costume it’s likely to be very closely modelled on the existing concept established by Man of Steel and Batman V Superman.

Wonder Woman

Once again, I don’t expect Diana’s costume to change for Justice League.

A lot of fans reacted with hostility when this design concept was first revealed but I remain steadfastly in love with it. It strikes a great balance between the ceremonial and the functional and looks designed for Diana to wear both as a dignitary and as a warrior (a sentiment that applies equally to the Kryptonian armour in Man of Steel). The familiar “WW” motif is prevalent throughout and we will hopefully learn by next year’s Wonder Woman film if it has its own meaning among the Amazons as Superman’s “S” shield does amongst Kryptonians (“on my world it means you’re about to get kicked in the face”). The incorporation of a bird’s head motif as per the comics leads me to believe the Ws are in fact meant to represent wings. This could be a subtle homage to Hermes (the Greek God often depicted as a winged messenger). The ancient Greeks also believed that the dead could return to the world of the living as birds so it may also be a link to Diana’s ancestry.

This image shows Diana holding not only her familiar sword but a simple wooden staff. The ancient Greeks used these for both ceremonial use (particularly among royalty) and in combat so its fitting that she should have one here.

 The Flash

This is where the fun begins. So far what we’ve seen of The Flash’s costume has been a little sketchy but this looks like the best look we’ve had of it so far. The design is very sleek and streamlined and suits the lean, chiselled looks of actor Ezra Miller.

While the suit looks sculpted, indeed armoured, it doesn’t look bulky enough to impede Flash’s motion (if you’re attuned to the speed force the laws of physics pretty much go out of the window anyway).

The iconic wings look like they’re suggested although not necessarily present in the helmet design (I guess it’s worked for Captain America so far).

The familiar lightning motif seems to be recurrent throughout the design in much the same way as it is in the New 52 Flash design. The suit also appears like a system of inter-connecting panels which is also a cool little homage to the New 52 design (and if the suit comes out of a ring I might just explode in fanboy glee!).

The red of the costume is broken up by several charcoal grey panels. While I can’t figure out what practical application they might have (vents for excess body heat maybe?) they’re a nice flourish.

I’m delighted to see the gold trim on the gauntlets and around the hip bones as they contribute a great deal to the Flash’s iconography.

There are two elements here that flummox me however.

flash concept art

Firstly, for reasons I can’t fathom the suit features fingerless gloves. Surely a forensic scientist would be conversant with the advantage of not leaving fingerprints on everything they touch.

Secondly while I like the glowing lightning bolt in the chest piece I’m baffled as to why the white circle that has been a key element of the flash’s logo since the silver age has been omitted. My best guess is that because it would distort the silhouette of the lightning bolt but it’s a shame that we’ll probably never see the traditional flash logo on film.

Cyborg

I had my reservations about how Cyborg might look on film as many of Victor Stone’s incarnations in comics and video games have been prohibitively huge, bulky and unwieldy. We’ve seen from Batman V Superman that Vic’s transformation has been facilitated by Motherbox technology and it looks like the design concept has freed itself from any notions of contemporary technology and created a sleek yet formidable almost biomechanoid look. For those of us who grew up reading Teen Titans comics by Marv Wolfman and Gerorge Perez might appreciate this sleeker, leaner look.

cyborg

The cybernetic appendages appear to be replicating rather than replacing human muscular tissue . This, combined with the news that Cyborg will most likely be a part-digital creation lead me to believe that actor Ray Fisher will be able to deliver a performance unimpeded by prosthetics and that the cybernetics will look and move in a way that is seamless.

 

Justice League will be released on 17th November 2017.

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