Going Through The DCAU Part Sixty

The DCAU had a lot of great episodes over multiple series.

Did the Batman Beyond episodes “Mind Games,” “Revenant,” and “Babel” reach those heights?  Jimmy and Tom had some thoughts on the subject.

“Mind Games”

A young psychic girl has been kidnapped by a shadowy cabal called the Brain Trust! Can Batman get to her before they all disappear from Gotham?

jimmy:  So who WAS the boring one?

tomk:  Yeah, that episode aired before Bush the Second came after Clinton and, well…

I like boring. Boring means no problems.

Should I ask if the episode was a boring one?

jimmy:  Hmmm…I dunno if I’d say boring. It was ok. Had a few good fight scenes…and the creepy Wednesday girl.

tomk:  Man, wait til you get to Justice League for creepy psychic goths.

jimmy:  Why was she like a broken record in the classroom (and possibly in the Batcave)? In other instances she just straight up had a conversation when she “called”.

tomk:  Maybe she had to know she was being heard.

jimmy:  It was creepy and effective, but thinking about it now made me go “Hmmm?”

tomk:  You have a creepy child phobia, don’t you?

jimmy:  Who doesn’t?

tomk:  Other creepy children?

jimmy:  Lol. You never know.

tomk:  Well, Terry was necessary to saving the day here…or not.

jimmy:  Well…he punched that guy a lot.

tomk:  The guy who looked like a forgotten Jack Kirby hero?

jimmy:  Yeah, that guy.

tomk:  The Indestructible Man sure was easy to freak out with a little sudden blindness.

jimmy:  I thought that as well.

tomk:  At least he wasn’t beaten by simply holding his arms down.

jimmy:  You try to get up from that!

tomk:  I could try if my powers only seem to require snapping my fingers to work.

So, was the Brain Trust an X-Men inspired group?

jimmy:  It had that feel didn’t it?

tomk:  It did, but they reminded me more of Valiant’s Harbinger Foundation.

jimmy:  I’m not really familiar with Valiant outside of Rai.

tomk:  OK, well, they may have been different in the 90s, but the current Valiant books basically say all superpowers with a handful of exceptions are mental powers. Physical powers are often really mental powers in disguise. Superhumans are called psiots.

The first new Harbinger series worked in that the founder of the Foundation took young psiots away for training but his ultimate goals may not have been all that altruistic. He was a little Professor X and a little Magneto. Mostly, he felt psiots were superior people who needed his guidance to “save” the world through any means necessary to achieve his vision.

jimmy:  Sounds very X-Men.

tomk:  Up to a point. The heroes of the series was a breakaway faction fighting the Foundation. Plus, after reading the first few trades, I still wasn’t sure what the Foundation’s ultimate plan was.

Only that they were willing to commit murder and kidnap children to get it.

Hey, we’re back to the Brain Trust!

jimmy:  They were very X-Men inspired.

tomk:  Sure sounds like it.

Which bunch were we talking about again? The one you could defeat with a giant Teletubby?

jimmy:  It sure looked like one didn’t it?

tomk:  I always knew those things were dangerous.

jimmy:  Having no kids, I’ve managed to avoid them.

tomk:  Same here. Even visiting various nieces and nephews didn’t expose me to those things.

And only hearing my sister-in-law bemoan their existence has led me to see the dangers of Caillou and Peppa Pig.

jimmy:  Luckily, have avoided all of that as well. I only watch the kids shows I want to watch dammit!

tomk:  Take that, programming for small humans!

jimmy:  Yeah! No one wants to watch your stupid kids shows! Oh, wait…

tomk:  We watch the smart ones, Jimmy.

jimmy:  And the creepy ones that are somehow the most “kid friendly”.

tomk:  So, we seem to be mocking this one. I do have some trivia to add: the albino guy reappears in Justice League. Sort of.

jimmy:  It’s in a snowstorm and you can’t see him?

tomk:  Um, no.

He’s, you know, younger.

So, anything else to add about this one and it’s superfluous Batman requirements?

jimmy:  Not that I can think of. Let’s move on shall we?

tomk:  Sure. The next one’s a good one.

“Revenant”

Hamilton High seems to have a ghost! And it’s a violent one!

jimmy:  I’m glad it turned out to be Professor X, I was starting to think that Patrick Swayze had turned into a real jerk.

tomk:  It was that or Casper the Extremely Unfriendly Ghost.

jimmy:  I’d be pissed too if I went from being Richie Rich to haunting a high school.

tomk:  Hold on. I found a picture of the prime suspect before Willy Watt came back.

jimmy:  Look at that hat! You know he’s guilty!

tomk:  Gotta be careful of anyone in a derby.

jimmy:  And anyone with a name like or similar to Willy Watt.

tomk:  Yes. Were you surprised to see Willy again?

jimmy:  I don’t even remember seeing him the first time. :p

tomk:  Wow. Guys who control giant construction golems are not really memorable.

jimmy:  But they hit the gym.

tomk:  And still chase the same girl.

And wreck the same bully’s car.

jimmy:  He’s not very…creative.

tomk:  He may have even knocked himself out…

…is this two episodes in a row where Terry didn’t actually save the day?

jimmy:  He’s no Batman.

tomk:  Then what is he?

jimmy:  Poochie?

tomk:  Well, the comic book reviewer I watch on YouTube calls the Batman of Frank Miller’s All-Star Batman and Robin by the name “Crazy Steve, the homeless man who stole a Batman costume” because the real Batman wouldn’t act that way. So, Terry must be something.

Should I at least point out that Terry used his own detective skills to figure out it was Willy completely on his own?

jimmy:  That’s true. And how did that work out for him?

Crazy Steve, lol.

tomk:  It told him he needed to suit up at least to keep people from getting hurt when Willy got paroled.

jimmy:  That’s “so high school”.

tomk:  Hey, Willy must have been good at what he was doing to target people so specifically without being able to see anything from juvie.

jimmy:  Yeah…how did he do that?

And another reference to Terry having “done time”.

tomk:  Does Bruce know or is he too busy referencing the Etrigan episode to do a background check?

jimmy:  He has seen it all. And of course Bruce knows, he’s on the ball.

tomk:  Except now it’s Terry’s call. Call it bad and he takes the fall.

Um, howdy y’all.

jimmy:  Etrigan we are not.

tomk:  That demon can rot.

He barely rhymed in that episode of the show. Guy didn’t really try. And we should know.

jimmy:  That’s better. 🙂

So you mention that Terry never really saved the day, what can he even do against a foe with such powers?

tomk:  What’s he done so far? We never questioned Bruce’s ability to handle Clayface.

jimmy:  Yeah, but he’s Batman. :-p

tomk:  I think I see a pattern here.

jimmy:  Let me ask you a different question. And you can answer within the confines of the DCAU or not. Would Dick Grayson be a better Batman than Terry? (And not Batman Beyond Grayson, since he’s like 60+.)

tomk:  Huh. Probably, but he’d be a very different Batman. Dick actually can make friends.

But it probably comes down to training. Dick was training for most of his life to be a vigilante if not Batman. Terry just kinda showed up one day.

jimmy:  That’s a good point.

tomk:  Which is not to say Terry is awful. He just doesn’t feel like a Batman.

jimmy:  Right? I know that’s probably part of the point…if he was just going to be a Batman clone, just make more BTAS episodes.

tomk:  I think it’s more like we just have a hard time accepting Terry as Batman. Good hero? Sure. Batman? Nah.

jimmy:  So do we see Witty Watts again?

tomk:  I don’t think so.

Unless he sneaks in somewhere with a naughty look on his face and sticks that pointy nose somewhere that could get him slapped with a sexual harassment suit.

Anything else to add, Jimmy?

jimmy:  It’s not liking that way. You?

tomk:  Not really. It’s a good episode, nice mystery, but I think we covered everything.

jimmy:  Yeah. I think we undersold the episode. It’s a good one, but didn’t leave a lot to talk about.

tomk:  It was so high school.

Shall we move on to the next episode of Crazy Steve Beyond?

jimmy:  I guess I never answered this. We shall!

tomk:  Then forward ho!

“Babel”

Shriek is back, and he’s holding Gotham for ransom in a way only he can. And all he wants is one thing: Batman’s life!

jimmy:  So Terry figured out something before Bruce…has the student become the master?

tomk:  Senility?

Lucky guess?

A real fondness for quantum mechanics?

Bruce can have an off day. Imagine how he must feel when he’s ready to surrender himself and has to be reminded Shriek doesn’t really want him.

But in reality, this is Terry’s show. He has to be the hero. He doesn’t look like one if Bruce feeds him all the answers.

jimmy:  That’s true. And maybe Terry is growing into his own as (not my) Batman.

tomk:  Or Bruce’s.

jimmy:  Like when Barbara says Shriek wants Batman and Bruce is like “I’m on my way” and she’s like “uh, no, the other guy”.

tomk:  Yeah, jeez Bruce, way to undermine the new guy.

jimmy:  He’ll always be Batman, even when he’s not Batman.

tomk:  Someone tell Shriek that!

jimmy:  If you did, he wouldn’t be able to hear you.

tomk:  He would if he wore his headphones.

You’d think the future would have something less clunky than modern hearing aids.

jimmy:  Especially for a guy that can create a suit that allows him use sound as a weapon and is able to turn a building into a mind controlling tuning fork.

tomk:  Or another tuning fork into an addictive drug for junky loser assistants.

jimmy:  Yeah. That was…odd…

And super kid friendly!

tomk:  Hey, he didn’t snort anything!

jimmy:  That makes it ok then.

tomk:  It’s as addictive as VR simulations of dates with greasy fast food managers or slappers.

Man, too many addicts on this show…

jimmy:  Maybe the writers were dealing with their own demons at the time…

tomk:  Demon in the bottle or Demon’s Head?

jimmy:  Especially Demon in the bottle. But especially Demon’s Head.

Speaking of, since he’s immortal…where is R’as?

tomk:  Wait and see.

jimmy:  Ah… 🙂

tomk:  In the meantime, enjoy some high quality gibberish.

jimmy:  Wuzzle wazzle?

tomk:  Fishunka nazzelbatts.

jimmy:  Watch your mouth!

tomk:  Seriously, the gibberish impressed me. Like the voice actors spoke nonsense that sounded like it shouldn’t be nonsense.

jimmy:  True. And it seems silly, but it must be hard to write and act out gibberish. And convincingly like you said. They weren’t speaking gibberish for gibberish’s sake, they thought they were speaking normally.

tomk:  And the way they cut back and forth so you heard the gibberish from individual character’s perspectives was rather clever.

Though it does occur to me that an episode where much of the conversation is deliberate gibberish when Batman isn’t rounding up angry zoo animals may not promote much conversation. So, here’s a question: why aren’t the residents of Gotham more grateful to the local hero?

jimmy:  There seemed to be a mix. Some were very grateful. Maybe they are just tired of the whole super hero thing, or subscribe to the thinking that super villains only exist BECAUSE there are super heroes.

tomk:  And without a J Jonah Jameson type egging on even the ponytailed guy Terry actually caught during a bad fall.

jimmy:  Strange there isn’t one given all the Spider-Man parallels.

tomk:  That said, it strikes me that dark mysterious guy Batman isn’t the kind of superhero you feel grateful for. He isn’t Superman flying high and publicly.

Sure, Terry isn’t exactly quiet and stealthy when he’s flying around in that version of the Batmobile, but he doesn’t exactly pose for the cameras.

jimmy:  I’m sure there are plenty of people afraid of each incarnation of Batman.

tomk:  Yeah, but we’re not talking about fear. We’re talking about gratitude.

And for what it is worth, I don’t think Bruce is offended that Batman gets no gratitude. I don’t think he cared about that for himself. He cares about it for Terry.

Batman doesn’t need gratitude. Bruce still sees himself as Batman.

jimmy:  Maybe he’s learned from Dick, Barbara, etc moving on and out of his shadow.

tomk:  And yet…he still thinks Shriek wants him dead, not the guy who actually fought him.

jimmy:  That’s our Batman!

tomk:  Anything else, Jimmy?

jimmy:  Does Clash…I mean Shriek return again?

tomk:  I think he does.

I’d have to check.

The most reoccurring bad guys on this show are Inque, Spellbinder, the Royal Flush Gang, and Shriek.

We see some others maybe one more time, and there is a major DC villain group for late in the series, but those are the ones who pop up the most often.

jimmy:  Let’s see who pops up next then.

tomk:  Well, let’s say it may be the dumbest title ever…

NEXT TIME:  Yes, what may be the dumbest title ever is up next when Tom and Jimmy discuss the episode “Terry’s Friend Dates a Robot,” as well as the episodes “Eyewitness” and “Final Cut”.

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