Going Through The DCAU Part Fifty-Four

It’s time for more cartoon chat from Jimmy and Tom!

This time around, we have the Batman Beyond episodes “Meltdown,” “Heroes,” and “Shriek”.  Tom has seen these before, and Jimmy is seeing them for the first time!  See what they have to say below…

“Meltdown”

An old foe of Bruce’s and a new foe of Terry’s are on a collision course! Can Batman keep the damage to a minimum?

jimmy:  Mr. Freeze. Cool.

tomk:  Was that an intended pun?

jimmy:  Whichever is funnier.

tomk:  OK, I’ll leave it at that.

And Derek Powers has his own supervillain name now. He’s Blight.

jimmy:  And a good foil for Victor.

tomk:  Well, he was. That’s Victor’s last appearance.

jimmy:  I was thinking as much.

tomk:  I told you Mr. Freeze had a complete storyarc you could follow. Go from “Heart of Ice” to this episode, including Subzero, and you have his whole life more or less.

jimmy:  You can’t say that about many villains.

tomk:  No, you can’t. You sort of can for Clayface, and if you consider things like how Two-Face’s last episode went down, well, it somewhat works. But they only brought out Freeze sporadically, and as a result, he has a storyline.
And since they were probably making it up as they went along…

jimmy:  Don’t tell Ryan.

tomk:  Eh, he never reads these. I could tell the world he’s illiterate and he wouldn’t chime in to tell us otherwise.
Of course, if he were illiterate, he couldn’t…

But as far as this episode goes, Victor killed at least one person.

jimmy:  The female doctor for sure. And I’d say at least one security guard. And he would have killed Powers except for his powers.

tomk:  The doctor voiced by Linda Hamilton?

Some robot guy finally got her…

jimmy:  A character, who in his only movie appearance was played by…

tomk:  Bob Odinkirk? Michael Cera? Bob Hoskins? Anthony Hopkins? Keegan-Michael Key? Jason Momoa? Watson?
This guy?

jimmy:  Close. They are all unstoppable killing machines.

tomk:  True.

Found it!

jimmy:  Watson’s ideal unstoppable killing machine.

tomk:  We’ll save it for the article!

But in the meantime…as tough as Freeze was, Blight completely cleaned his clock.

jimmy:  Paper beats rock. Rock beats scissors. Radiation beats ice.

tomk:  I always forgot that last one. I thought ice beat everything.

jimmy:  Well, you said it was his last appearance.

tomk:  It is. Did he go out in any way heroic?

jimmy:  Freeze has mostly been played as more sympathetic or misunderstood than evil. Which I think holds here. I don’t know if I would go so far as to say heroic (remember, he killed several people) but he’s definitely no Blight.

tomk:  And he saves Terry.

The one person he definitely kills was a villain with a chilling death scream.

Hard to say with the security guards. Depends on whether they were in solid or hollow ice.

Frank Castle would shrug that off.

jimmy:  I agree with all that. I’m still not sure I would call him heroic.

tomk:  I wouldn’t, but Bruce says they were both right about Freeze.

He may have lived for revenge, but he was trying to be good.

jimmy:  It’s a bit of a common Batman story. Sympathetic villain reforms but outside forces drive him back towards his former life and prevent him from living happily ever after.

tomk:  But it doesn’t often end with the sympathetic villain’s death after removing an even worse villain from the field.

jimmy:  That’s true. It’s usually just a return to status quo.

tomk:  Well, it’s like I said: Batman Beyond isn’t afraid to kill characters off.

jimmy:  Obviously.

tomk:  Plus, we don’t really get caps for Bruce’s old foes. It was nice, and appropriate, to give Freeze a farewell episode.

jimmy:  It worked. You would think the majority of Bruce’s foes would be dead at this point.

tomk:  Well, I get the impression many of them are. The ones that aren’t, for the most part, probably shouldn’t be a surprise. Freeze was immortal before they cloned him.

jimmy:  Possibly still since he was reverting to “normal”.

tomk:  Well, hard to say. He seemed to still care enough to do something, and his targets were all people trying to kill him.

jimmy:  He really seemed like he was turning over a new leaf and making amends for what he had done in the past, before he found the heat being turned up.

tomk:  Yeah, he might have even been less inclined to go bad again if they didn’t try to kill him.

Though Gotham has some crazy weather in the future. It’s snowing at the beginning and end of the episode, but when Freeze is missing, the forecast is for 70 degrees…

jimmy:  I noticed that too. Global warming I suppose.

tomk:  See what happens when Victor isn’t around to keep the ice caps frozen?

jimmy:  I think you mentioned in an earlier chat about this being “in the future,” but no one having smart phones. Well, Bruce sure seems to have one in this episode.

tomk:  Bruce had a mini TV. There’s a difference. He’s also a bazillionaire.

jimmy:  A mini TV he put in his breast pocket?

tomk:  He has big pockets to best carry multiple bulging wallets.

jimmy:  Haha. Fine. 🙂

tomk:  If he isn’t making phone calls with that thing, it ain’t a phone.

jimmy:  I don’t make phone calls with mine…

tomk:  But you could.

jimmy:  Fine…

tomk:  So, any other thoughts on Mr. Freeze?

jimmy:  Sorry to hear this is the end for him. But they’ve done a really good job with him over the years.

tomk:  His last line was very appropriate for the character: “Believe me, you are the only one who cares.”

jimmy:  I care Victor. I care.

tomk:  Shall we move on to a more blatant Marvel tribute?

jimmy:  I like Marvel tributes.

tomk:  Then you should like this one.

“Heroes”

A new group of superheroes are helping out in Gotham City, but what terrible secret is behind their creation and can Batman save the day when it comes out?

jimmy:  Hey! It’s the Fantastic…Three?

tomk:  The Thing and the Human Torch we’re merged into one character, so why not?

jimmy:  Funny, I was thinking it was Sue and Johnny merged in a way, but that probably makes more sense.

tomk:  And the stretchy guy was not the smart guy.

jimmy:  This your brain. This is your brain in 2D.

tomk:  But hey, the Terrific Trio! This is their only appearance!

jimmy:  I figured that. Though the ending is pretty ambiguous about what happens to them.

tomk:  It is, but it does seem as if most of Terry’s adversaries are one-offs.

jimmy:  Well, it’s not like they have a vast reservoir and 70+ years of characters and stories to draw from. They are making up most of the villains as they go.

tomk:  How have you felt about the villains so far?

jimmy:  They’ve been fine. Though I don’t know that we should classify the Terrific Trio as villains.

tomk:  Well, they did almost nuke the city.

The other guy who sorta caused the accident was a bigger villain, but moreso like that “humanitarian” Mark Hamill played in “Heart of Ice”.

jimmy:  All over a girl. How cliche.

tomk:  She was giving him the cold shoulder. He thought he could see right through her.

jimmy:  Tom will be here all week, folks! Tip your waitress!

tomk:  Everyone used to fall in love with Sue Richards.

jimmy:  Well, no wonder…

tomk:  Poor Spidey…or not.

jimmy:  I was also reminded of another classic Spidey moment


tomk:  I, too, thought of that one. You beat me to it.

You win this round, Impossible…

jimmy:  I get one every once in a while.

tomk:  Given we both see a strong Spidey influence on Terry, you of all people might start getting a lot more of them.

jimmy:  And you’ll probably pick up on the army generals that look like Hitler. (I don’t know what that means…but he did!)

tomk:  Or J Jonah Jameson.

jimmy:  I thought of that right after I typed my last message. I’m not sure what it is. Probably the cigar.

tomk:  Or the sneer.

jimmy:  Did I miss the explanation of the army attacking the TT prior to the attack? I was kinda like, “what is going on here?” It wasn’t until after that they revealed that they expected them to go psychotic.

tomk:  The corporate guy told the General before the attack.

jimmy:  I knew they said there was “issues” with the DNA, and they showed the strands breaking apart…anyway…

tomk:  Corporate guy used the phrase “dangerously psychotic” with the general before the Trio said it.

jimmy:  I must have been crunching my chips too loudly when he said that.

tomk:  You caught other things. Lifting heavy object sort of things.

Or just the awesomeness of the general casting.

I mean, Magma was voiced by actor Robert Davi, best known for menacing the Goonies and playing an arrogant, doomed FBI agent in the Christmas classic Die Hard.


Freon was actress Laura San Giocomo, who had a nice TV career at the time, best known for the lead role in the sitcom Just Shoot Me, though you probably remember her best from the TV version of The Stand.


And corporate guy Dr. Hodges was actor Kevin Dunn, who seems to be, like, everybody’s dad.

jimmy:  Should I recognize that last one?

tomk:  Have you seen any Transformers movies?

Or season one of True Detective?

jimmy:  Ah. Not used to the beard.

tomk:  Not used to a lack of Shia.

jimmy:  I’m pretty used to and thankful for the lack of Shia now.

tomk:  Aren’t we all.

But something struck me about the show so far…a lot of the bad guys are involved in the corporate world. Aside from the Jokerz, we haven’t seen too much street crime and there hasn’t been any traditional mobsters. Aside from Willie Watt, all the bad guys are either connected to big business or run companies.

jimmy:  Big business is full of jerks.

tomk:  Yeah, you can’t trust those rich dudes with their own companies.

jimmy:  But a good observation. One that is similar to, surprise, Spider-Man 2099.

tomk:  Or just the 2099 line in general. Makes you think people in the 90s had issues with big business taking over in the future.

jimmy:  Yes, you’re right. All of the 2099 line. Big Business = Big Brother.

tomk:  It’s the kind of world where Doom becomes an anti-hero just for kicking a large corporation out of his country.

jimmy:  Doom a hero? They had to set that in 2099. We’d never see that in regular continuity.

tomk:  Certainly not. Doom as a hero would be silly since he routinely fights off whole teams of heroes, how could anything be a threat to him?

jimmy:  Well, he did cry after 9/11. But we’re getting off topic.

But speaking of Marvel…I’m not a lawyer, and I don’t know any, so I wonder how these things work? I mean, the Trio is obviously an, let’s say, “homage” to the Fantastic Four. I’m guessing DC/WB didn’t go to Marvel asking for permission to do that. So when the powers that be at Marvel see that while in their pajamas and eating cereal on a Saturday morning, what are they thinking about it?

tomk:  Nice homage, probably. There’s not much they can do. It’s not like DC sued them for the Squadron Supreme or the Shi’ar Imperial Guard.

jimmy:  That’s what I figured.

tomk:  It’s not even the first time they’ve done a mock FF at DC. The Cyborg Superman started off as a Reed Richards stand-in for a foursome who went to space and came back different.

jimmy:  At least we can be sure here, the Trio never went to space…right?

tomk:  Yes.

But in the DCAU Ultimate universe, they did.

jimmy:  Sure Tom. Sure.

tomk:  Well, the Ultimate FF were a transporter accident. I figured the Ultimate TT went into space.

But now we’re in the realm of the silly. Anything else to add, Jimmy?

jimmy:  I think we covered everything I had noted. Except for the surprise that Batman was suspicious of the Trio. And by “surprise” I mean not surprising in the least.

tomk:  Maybe he needs to do some detective work. As it is, the only bad guy who rivals Inque for appearances on this show is up next.

jimmy:  Funny, I still call him Batman. I meant Bruce with my last comment.

tomk:  Don’t we all?

In fact, that comment is a brilliant segue to the next episode…

jimmy:  Damn. I’m good.

tomk:  Shall we move on?

jimmy:  I think we have to now…

“Shriek”


Derek Powers has contracted Walter Shreeve to remove an obstacle to his plans…Bruce Wayne! Can the new Batman stop the newly dubbed Shriek?

jimmy:  I think someone needs to have a chat with the Gotham City building inspectors. I really, really don’t think you should be able to open those hospital windows.

tomk:  Patients jumping out frees up more space for new patients in an overpopulated future.

jimmy:  That’s…actually a good point.

tomk:  I have my moments.

jimmy:  I really liked this episode. I wonder if it was the emphasis on Bruce over Terry?

tomk:  Well, Bruce, like you (and me), still thinks he’s Batman.

What’s not to like?

Plus, poetic justice for the bad guy in a suit where I’m not sure how he can pick up anything with those fingers.

jimmy:  That’s true. I liked the villain, though he reminded me a lot of this guy.

tomk:  Did Spider-Man steal Bulleye’s costume?

jimmy:  Close. You’re not familiar with Clash?

tomk:  First time I’ve ever seen the guy.

jimmy:  No big loss.

He’s basically an(other) attempt by Marvel to create a Spider-Man like character where he didn’t have Peter’s moral code or sense of responsibility. He was even retconned into Spider-Man’s first few original stories.


He has very similar powers to the villain here, minus the cool “total silence” schtick.

tomk:  Huh. I think they just retconned me hating him.

jimmy:  Haha, he’s pretty lame.

He shows up in current continuity now and then. Struggling between being reformed (he worked at Parker Industries) and being a menace.

tomk:  Man, Parker Industries still throws me for a loop as well…

That makes Peter more Bruce than Terry!

jimmy:  Not anymore…but anyway…

What did you think of the G.I. Joe #21 sequence?

tomk:  It took me a minute to get that reference.

Very well done. Adding the music later on almost ruined it, but it might have been necessary for people to see there was nothing wrong with their TV.

jimmy:  It’s a good reference.

tomk:  You know, between this and the Spidey stuff, we might have found your series here, Impossible.

jimmy:  Lol

On the audio commentary Bruce Timm said that now he wishes that they had made the sequence longer. I see your point about the music coming in so that people weren’t thinking their sets were broken (kinda like the geniuses thinking that sequence in Last Jedi was a problem in the theatre). I thought it was a cool sequence once I let go of how far the sound cancelling device actually affected.

tomk:  Yeah, I mean, I’ve seen the episode before more than once and I still had to remind myself what was going on, and it was a cool moment that really works for the episode and its villain.

jimmy:  I liked that the ending was essentially this:

tomk:  Bruce and Terry gorge themselves on donuts?

jimmy:  Donuts are delicious.

More the ironic punishment part.

tomk:  Ah.

I understand Derek Powers went mad in fifteen minutes.

jimmy:  Lol. Or less.

tomk:  You must have been there pleased to see Ace help out.

jimmy:  I love Ace.

tomk:  What’s not to love? He makes a better sidekick than some Robins.

Plus, even Bruce still doesn’t see Terry as Batman.

jimmy:  Though Terry sees himself that way.

tomk:  Someone had to!

But man, trying to make people think Bruce was insane…that couldn’t have been too difficult.

jimmy:  Haha, I’m surprised he got as far as he did with the board in the beginning.

tomk:  Bruce actually came to work. That’s as important as Velma saying “Jinkies!” on Scooby Doo.

jimmy:  And the whole thing played like a “good” version of what it took Iron Fist 192 episodes (or however long it was) to do.

tomk: 


Many things play like a good version of Iron Fist.

Except Krull.

jimmy:  Haha.

tomk:  Well, we’ve reached the Bashing Iron Fist/Simpsons Memes portion of the talk. Anything else, Jimmy?

jimmy:  This was a good episode. Like I said, I enjoyed the focus on Bruce. I’m still waiting to be wowed though.

tomk:  I am not sure Batman Beyond will wow you the way the old Batman show did. But it does have a nice niche, especially as it was intended to be the most kid friendly and went way, way dark in many ways as the series goes on.

I mean, Freeze died, the Trio might have died, and Blight is a nightmare all by himself.

jimmy:  The opening credits alone makes this seem less than kid friendly.

tomk:  Heh. Wait until you see Earthmover.

But he’s for a time way in the future. Maybe next we should see some bad guys who normally fight the Justice League.

jimmy:  Let’s do that!

NEXT TIME:  Tom and Jimmy will be back soon for more Batman Beyond with the episodes “Dead Man’s Hand,” “The Winning Edge,” and “Spellbound,”.

tomk74

Defender of the faith, contributing writer, debonair man-about-town.

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