Going Through The DCAU Part Fifty-Five

Once again, Jimmy and Tom return to a futuristic Gotham City for some more Batman Beyond chat.

This time around, they’ll be discussing the episodes “Dead Man’s Hand,” “The Winning Edge,” and “Spellbound”.

“Dead Man’s Hand”

The Royal Flush Gang is causing problems in Gotham, but Terry’s distracted by a girl he’s just met!

jimmy:  What a shock that Melanie was part of the Royal Flush Gang!!!

tomk:  It would have been more shocking if she were Fred Savage’s sister on The Wonder Years.

jimmy:  Hmm…well…I’ve got something to tell you…

tomk:  What?

Next you’ll tell me King was a (literally) one-time James Bond.

jimmy:  When he was a younger man. More of a Jack than a King.

tomk:  Next thing you know, you’ll be telling me Ace was voiced by Marcel Marceau.

jimmy:  Lol. He may just have been!

tomk:  OK, so, the Royal Flush Gang.

Usually Justice League villains, and they will be a very different group when they do appear on Justice League.

jimmy:  They appeared previously in the DCAU though right?

tomk:  Not yet.

This is their first appearance.

jimmy:  No? Hmm. I thought I remembered them. Especially with the King going on about his grudge against Batman.

tomk:  Nope. We’ve never seen them before.

jimmy:  And we never will again…

tomk:  Well…

You really think the series will not bring back its own version of Catwoman?

jimmy:  That sounds like a yes. And I’m sure it’s not the last we’ve seen of Dana either.

tomk:  Nah, Bruce is right about Dana. They’ll patch things up quickly enough.

jimmy:  I bet the next time she appears, it will be like none of this ever happened.

tomk:  Probably a safe bet.

So, who do you think Terry should stick with? Dana or Ten?

jimmy:  Well…one of them is currently in jail.

tomk:  Assume she’s free.

Dana really shouldn’t have blown up that bus full of nuns.

jimmy:  Heh.

If Terry revealed his alter ego, maybe Ten. Otherwise, possibly in the same boat with both.

tomk:  True, but Ten seemed more fun. Dana is a very stock character in many ways. She pops up here and there to hang out with Terry and…that’s it. This episode shows she gets a little annoyed (to put it mildly) at Terry for having a job with very strange hours.

jimmy:  It’s funny. While watching the opening theme, I was thinking how Dana is rarely on the show. Then she shows up and they break up after like 20 seconds.

tomk:  Dana does appear in the opening credits. Can’t say that about Terry’s mom or kid brother Matt.

jimmy:  And like the opening credits all she does in this episode is go dancing. Oh Mary Jane, I mean, Dana.

tomk:  That makes Ten a Felicia Hardy, right?

jimmy:  A cat of some kind it seems.

tomk:  She ain’t Gwen Stacy.

jimmy:  She’s probably better off.

tomk:  She did need to be caught after a bad fall.

jimmy:  This is true.

tomk:  Also, she’s blonde.

We should look through those curls for a head band.

jimmy:  Something has to keep her hair back under that mask.

tomk:  She wouldn’t be the first such character to have trouble with too much hair under a cowl.

No wonder Nightwing wasn’t bothered by that mullet.

jimmy:  That’s probably why he eventually retired. Bruce kept telling him to “shave those sideburns”.

tomk:  Bruce has stayed alive thanks to a healthy daily dose of nerve tonic.

jimmy:  Luckily avoiding gigantism.

tomk:  In this universe, gigantism is getting popped in the face by Ace.

In the DCAWU (DC Animated by Watson Universe), gigantism is getting popped in the nuts by Ace.

And I don’t mean Ace the dog. Too many Aces in this episode.

jimmy:  And all voiced by the same actor. Very confusing.

tomk:  But hey, villainous snobs. You must like the idea of them getting punched in the face.

jimmy:  Of course!

The Royal Flush gang is a good concept though. Interesting look, theme and powers. And an intriguing background that’s outside of the “fell in a vat of chemicals” norm.

tomk:  The idea of snobbish thieves isn’t something Batman deals with very often. The Penguin maybe fits that category.

jimmy:  Reminded me a bit of the Court of Owls too.

tomk:  Does that make Ace a Talon?

Comic book Ace is usually a robot. This episode didn’t say one way or the other.

jimmy:  Well, he was the only one that stayed in costume the whole time.

tomk:  And he was apparently unhurt after being dropped down a laundry chute.

jimmy:  And that this is a cartoon. 🙂

tomk:  Goes without saying.

jimmy:  It also means we probably don’t need to worry about continuity like how did Terry get his jacket back from Ten?

tomk:  He had another?

jimmy:  C’mon, Tom…who has two of the same jacket???

tomk:  He always wears the same clothes. Unless people don’t sweat in the future.

jimmy:  And that this is a cartoon. 🙂

tomk:  So you keep reminding me.

jimmy:  On a different point, I always wonder why Terry doesn’t stay invisible more of the time? Especially when it seems like every time he uses his invisibility he defeats one foe, becomes visible and is immediately attacked from behind by another.

tomk:  I was waiting for someone to bring that up. There’s no good explanation for it. The audience can even still generally see him.

jimmy:  I can understand the visual effect still allowing the viewer to see him, as we need to, but it just seems like “invisible all the way down” would be the way to go most of the time.

tomk:  Apparently, you and I need to write more cartoons.

jimmy:  I’m working on a Fallen cartoon, but the creator is very difficult to deal with. Wants all kinds of 5 pointed throwing objects and iron appendages added in.

tomk:  Sounds like a misguided Krull and/or Iron Fist fan.

jimmy:  You wouldn’t think such a thing could possibly exist. But you’d be wrong.

tomk:  I can imagine.

Just as I can imagine the show did more to make Ten seem like a real love interest in one episode than it has with Dana over seven or so.

jimmy:  Yes. Easily.

tomk:  Do you have anything else to add here, Jimmy? Gentleman thieves and a solid (for a twenty minute cartoon) love story makes this one stand out a bit.

jimmy:  Not much. Good episode. And some good interactions to build the relationship between Bruce and Terry.

tomk:  You know, maybe we should get some more detective work, one of Bruce’s old enemies , and a subplot I think I saw on The Brady Bunch once.

jimmy:  I guess that’s a selling point. 🙂

tomk:  Let’s find out.

“The Winning Edge”

Some student athletes at Terry’s school are abusing performance enhancing drugs! Can Batman bust the dealers responsible?

jimmy:  Swedish Bane is in hard shape.

tomk:  Remember, this was intended to be the more kid friendly series!

jimmy:  The whole drug abuse storyline was pretty dark for Saturday mornings.

tomk:  Plus, that roided out guy referred to in the episode only as “Bane’s friend”.

jimmy:  What are you implying, Tom?

tomk:  Just say no?

jimmy:  That’s right. Or, “this is your brain, this is your brain on Venom.”

tomk:  And Bane himself is “And that’s old you on Venom.”

jimmy:  Just don’t tell Bruce that Bane is old.

tomk:  Bruce was the one who sent Terry there.

jimmy:  Yes, but Terry started to make some comment about Bane being ancient and Bruce gave him a death stare.

tomk:  Bruce is still very dangerous. Bane? Not so much.

jimmy:  At least he has a good friend to take care of him.

tomk:  Bruce or Bane?

jimmy:  Bane.

tomk:  Right. Bruce just has a dog and a sleep-deprived teenager.

jimmy:  I can relate to Terry. That final scene is usually me trying to get these episodes watched.

tomk:  So you got caught with some other guy’s slappers, too?

jimmy:  Haha, no, but not uncommon for me to fall asleep on the couch trying to catch up on our many rewatches.

tomk:  The slapper subplot with Terry’s mom was a little silly. I saw the same thing on The Brady Bunch when a pack of cigarettes fell out of Greg Brady’s jacket after he accidentally switched his with a classmate who smoked.

Only here, it’s a fast-acting super-steroid.

jimmy:  It was important to the story that Terry get grounded.

tomk:  Well, no one really knows what he does for Mr. Wayne.

jimmy:  I know, but his being grounded had no affect on anything since he was still allowed to go to work. It really only set up the scene at the end where Bruce stopped by Terry’s house, and it meant that he wouldn’t see Dana much, since they are back together without explanation after last episode…as predicted.

tomk:  And I didn’t even try to convince you otherwise then.

But the most amazing thing to me is apparently there’s only one guy named Mason in all of Gotham City.

jimmy:  Haha, I never thought about that.

tomk:  Terry overhears a first name and decides it must be a kid from his school. And it is!

He would have been screwed if there was another Mason.

jimmy:  He probably recognized his moves from the team that were the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked before Venom got involved. Or he recognized his voice from 90210.

tomk:  Man, if only the symbiotic anti-Spider played whatever the hell that game is supposed to be.

jimmy:  It’s like anti-gravity hockey/lacrosse with the most ridiculous outfits you can come up with including bicycle helmets and disc throwers for hands. I’d say there was a bit of Quidditch thrown in there too, but that wasn’t invented yet. Though it does take place in the future, so maybe it was!

tomk:  Yeah, well, just being the suspicious coach in the goalie uniform doesn’t mean you can beat Batman.

jimmy:  Or anyone. Besides bullying some teenagers.

tomk:  Did you think the coach supplied the slappers at any point?

jimmy:  Not that I recall, but it wouldn’t have been a surprise. You?

tomk:  Not this go-around. He is a good suspect.

jimmy:  It’s always the gym teacher.

tomk:  I do know actor Larry Drake voiced the evil doctor. He was best known for a supporting role on L.A. Law, but he did have a role as a bad guy in Darkman, and you being a fan of Spider-Man and Evil Dead might know that. Of course, when he plays an evil doctor, I remember him from this:

jimmy:  I am well aware of Mr. Larry Drake and the awesomeness of Darkman.

tomk:  Darkman is a great movie especially when you consider the hero is a pre-Schindler’s List Liam Neeson and the female lead is a pre-Oscar Frances McDormand.

jimmy:  I need to watch that again!

tomk:  Especially for the Bruce Campbell cameo!

jimmy:  All right. We’re done with this chat. Time for a Darkman rewatch!

tomk:  You mean you don’t wish to say anything about Terry doing some detective work when he goes looking into the slapper crimes?

jimmy:  Fin-nuh! You’re no fun.

Yeah, he’s no Bruce, but there’s been a couple of times where they’ve shown him starting to learn the tricks of the trade.

tomk:  Like spying on classmates from convenient school windows.

So, this episode does seem to play a lot like an afterschool special. Do you have any other thoughts on this one, Jimmy?

jimmy:  Not really, but I agree with that comparison. Except instead of the druggies cleaning up their act by the end, they get get their asses kicked by Batman.

tomk:  And then the cops arrest the only guy named Mason in town.

And then, just to make things worse for Mason, he got sucked up into a sharknado.

jimmy:  Those sharknados are a once in a lifetime phenomenon.

tomk:  I dunno. I figure it can happen three or four times.

jimmy:  Either way, I doubt we’ll see Mason again.

tomk:  No, we will not. No Bane either.

Maybe we should see a new villain that is sort of a lesser-known classic Bat-villain that never appeared in the other cartoons.

jimmy:  Sounds good.

tomk:  Then let’s get to it…

“Spellbound”

The mysterious villain Spellbinder is getting teenagers to commit robberies for him! Who is he and how does he do it?

jimmy:  You say Spellbinder is from the comics?

tomk:  Yes.

jimmy:  I…like his new suit better.

tomk:  Generally an illusion-casting bad guy, the original was a somewhat pathetic guy towards the end when the demon Neron offered his female assistant real power in exchange for his death and her soul.

The second Spellbinder’s powers were magically-based and could create any illusion…unless she was somehow unable to see. She could be stopped by putting a bag over her head.

But the Batman Beyond Spellbinder…he comes back a couple times, and he has a sort of Scarecrow vibe going for him as a psychologist gone wrong.

jimmy:  I expected him to be revealed as the Scarecrow at one point.

tomk:  Batman Beyond mostly doesn’t do that. In fact, with one big exception, you’ve seen all the returning Bat-foes until Return of the Joker that this series will feature. Hope you liked five seconds of asthmatic Bane!

jimmy:  I did!

tomk:  Point is, no Scarecrow.

jimmy:  Definitely a similar vibe though.

tomk:  Similar vibes they do more often.

jimmy:  Speaking of vibes (this segue makes no sense, but what are you gonna do?) that blond chick wasted no time moving on from Mason faster than Dana and Terry getting back together.

tomk:  I think that girl’s purpose is to always be dating someone new on this show, all while walking around with a hairbrush down the back of her short-shorts.

jimmy:  Lol, I no sooner had said to myself, “self, why does she have a brush down her shorts?” when she proceeded to use it as a sword. “Ah.”

tomk:  Because all hair brushes double as machetes in virtual reality.

jimmy:  Sometimes a hair brush is just a hair brush.

tomk:  Wasn’t it sticking out handle first???

jimmy:  …yup…

tomk:  There’s some laws of physics being violated there unless that girl has a tesseract down there too.

jimmy:  Or needs a lot of grooming down there.

Man, this chat turned all Watson pretty quickly…

tomk:  Yeah, uh…how about those dream—for lack of a better word—sequences?

jimmy:  They were cool, but again, the whole thing played like a Scarecrow episode. And what the hell was up with the design of his “ship”?

tomk:  Um.

He’s a fan of weird angles?

jimmy:  I dug his suit though.

tomk:  The suit is good. He looks very underwhelming underneath when the mask gets ripped off, but the suit is cool. Especially when compared to the character’s “classic” look (see above…or don’t).

jimmy:  Yeah…let’s not look at that again.

tomk:  You’d rather see Terry fighting The Walking Dead some more.

jimmy:  Definitely!

You’d think Bruce would have come up with something to prevent Terry from getting “zapped”, especially after the first time it happened.

tomk:  Give him time. He’s an old man, and they don’t generally get into new technology like younger folks. He’s probably still grousing about the drones that cut his grass.

jimmy: 

Old Man Bruce

tomk:  That came from the pilot.

But Bruce does make an effective second pair of eyes when Terry can’t trust his own.

jimmy:  Yes. That was smart. Telling Terry to turn on his lenses so that he could see what was really happening. It was more than just what a person was seeing though. It was still a struggle for Terry to break free of Scare…uh, Spellbinder’s influence.

tomk:  At least this time the vision was something cooler than a supermarket-based game show.

I mean, hair brush girl gets a jungle adventure. Man too obsessed with a dress gets gritty war story. New bride gets freaky alien world. Terry-as-Batman gets cliffdiving and zombies. Terry as himself gets…supermarket game show.

jimmy:  Well, they were programmed by Spellbinder. Perhaps he was watching too much daytime TV before fighting Terry.

tomk:  That makes as much sense as anything else.

But there sure are a lot of really rich kids at Terry’s presumably public school.

jimmy:  That’s a good point. You mean, not everyone has a foot tall statue that cost them like $20,000?

tomk:  I foresee a lot of Terry’s friends transferring to an expensive private school with a better screening procedure for all faculty hires in the near future.

It strikes me that this was a good episode that maybe doesn’t inspire much conversation. Anything else to add, Jimmy?

jimmy:  Not a lot of conversation? I thought we did ok. 🙂

I did have a couple of other notes:

I guess Bruce is in no mood to talk about Dick Grayson.

Terry playing “detective” again.

I guess Barbara knows Terry is Batman now.

tomk:  If Barbara doesn’t, she will soon.

As for Dick…he’s a big question mark in this series. He never shows up and they never say exactly why he left.

jimmy:  Those heartless bastards.

tomk:  You’ll just have to keep some mystery in your life.

I think there was a tie-in comic that explained what happened with Dick. It’s a little too soon to share that information yet.

jimmy:  There’s a Watson waiting for Dick joke in there somewhere, but maybe we should move on instead.

tomk:  Yes. We should. And as we go forward, remember: this was supposed to be the more kid friendly series.

NEXT TIME:  Tom and Jimmy will be back soon with more Batman Beyond.  Next time, they’ll cover the episodes “Disappearing Inque,” “A Touch of Curare,” and “Assension.”

tomk74

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

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