Going Through The DCAU Part Sixty-Eight

Jimmy and Tom have been covering Batman Beyond for a while now.  But we’re at the end of the regular episodes.  There’s only the direct-to-DVD movie after that.

But for now, they’re covering the episodes “Curse of Kobra,” parts 1 and 2, “Countdown,” and “Unmasked”.

“Curse of the Kobra” parts 1 and 2

Terry goes for some martial arts training and makes a new friend.  Too bad this guy might be trouble for Terry, Max, and the rest of the world than he seems to be!

jimmy:  They wouldn’t have needed a part two if they had just called GI Joe.

tomk:  How long were you waiting to use that joke?

jimmy:  Just since I watched it. 🙂

tomk:  So, what you really wanted was for the old woman, instead of being from a character from the original series for that one episode where Bruce went to Japan and the characters spoke Japanese, to be Snake Eyes 2099?

jimmy:  …sure?

tomk:  That, or you wanted to see more variety in your dinosaur men than just a bunch of T-Rexes.

jimmy:  …sure?

tomk:  So, which is it?

jimmy:  Dinosaur Men 2099.

tomk:  I got ya.

jimmy:  And I know what you’re going to say, but…so Bruce just happens to send Terry to train with a woman that just happens to be training another student, who just happens to be the leader of Kobra, who just happens to be the gang that beat up Terry and the reason he needed training in the first place?

tomk:  I wasn’t going to actually say that.

Sharp thinking, Impossible.

jimmy:  I know that’s how these things go in these shows/comics A LOT, but this one just seemed a bit much to me.

But, this is a show about turning martial artists into dinosaur men, so…

tomk:  You’re trying not to think about it too much.

jimmy:  I’m trying.  Is it working?

tomk:  That’s not for me to say. Do you have a moose-dinosaur hybrid in your mancave right now?

jimmy:  Since you are going to post this on the internets, I’ll say no.

tomk:  Since no one reads it, I’ll say it’s in Watson’s yard.

jimmy:  That’s where I put him to do his business.

tomk:  Maybe you should send him to learn martial arts from someone you knew in your youth.

jimmy:  I’ll make sure she’s not teaching the leader of the gang that nearly put him in the hospital there first.

tomk:  Smart move.  Could be an evil snake cult.

jimmy:  That doesn’t know about video games or pizza.

tomk:  Idiots, then.

jimmy:  And I usually reserve these comments for Batman, but Max sure held her own against a master of the martial arts.

tomk:  Maybe Max should be the next Iron Fist.

jimmy:  Better than the current Iron Fist.

tomk:  Well, Kobra is about as interesting as the Hand.

jimmy:  And I guess this is the last we’ll see of them.

tomk:  And I believe you are wrong there.

Two episodes left and Kobra is in one of them.

jimmy:  Geez, I thought I was safe with that call.

tomk:  Don’t you know Batman’s most beloved enemies are armies of nameless goons?

jimmy:  Based on my years of video game playing…yes.

tomk:  Well, I guess that’s it. Who needs Arkham inmates when we can have nameless goons?

jimmy:  Speaking of nameless goons, how does one hold onto an electrified pair of nunchucks without getting electrocuted?

tomk:  Special gloves?

jimmy:  Curse you and your logic!

tomk:  You asked.

jimmy:  How do you explain this then Mr. Smarty Pants?!?

tomk:  The gloves are made of the same camouflage material as Terry’s outfit.

jimmy:  You win this round, Mr. Kelly.

tomk:  

jimmy:  At least he doesn’t have chainsaws for knees.

tomk:  There but for the grace of the snake god goes he.

I’m sure you were pleased someone remembered Kairi Tanaka still existed.

jimmy:  I had really been wondering what happened to her.

tomk:  Really?

jimmy:  No, not really.

tomk:  Well, we both know you love it when Bruce’s old comrades and enemies return.

jimmy:  Generally, though this one I really didn’t even know who she was. And I’m surprised she wasn’t more aware of what the “cult” Zander belonged to actually was.

tomk:  Maybe she was in the cult, too!

jimmy:  If she was, she wasn’t a very loyal member.

tomk:  That could be what she wants you to think. Take out the leader after a spectacularly stupid plan and take his place! Fake her own death so Bruce Wayne doesn’t come looking for her again. She’s bad. She’s rad. She’s never been had.

jimmy:  Ugh.  I hated that sequence.

tomk:  They had to keep Max in the story somehow.

jimmy:  They could have done it without those three lines.

tomk:  You mean the three lines used in the “previously on” segment?

jimmy:  Ugh.  Yes.

tomk:  Could be worse.  She could have made it her new catchphrase.

jimmy:  Maybe she did.  Maybe that’s why the show got canceled.

tomk:  You know, I will say I am surprised this was somehow a two part episode. I don’t think there’s enough story here for two in the grand scheme of things.

They really were trying to make Kobra Terry’s archfoes.

jimmy:  Better late than never, I guess.  Or they could have brought back Blight.

tomk:  They already had the likes of Inque, Shriek, and Spellbinder.

jimmy:  Inque is probably the closest to an archenemy.

tomk:  Plus Stalker, the Jokerz, and various rogue computers and underground corpses.

But which of Terry’s foes worked best for you, Jimmy?

jimmy:  Probably Inque, though I’m not sure how he managed to defeat her most of the time.

tomk:  Dumb luck and he read the script?

Also, assists from Bruce and Clark.

jimmy:  That helps.

tomk:  You have anything else to say about these rather forgettable episodes where no one was bad, rad, or had?

jimmy:  lol.  Bruce still got it?

tomk:  This is surprising?

jimmy:  No.  Just always fun to see.  🙂

tomk:  Old timers kick a lot of ass on this show.  I wonder where Selina Kyle is these days…

jimmy:  That sounds like leading, your honor.

tomk:  She never appears on this show.

jimmy:  Then I guess it’s not.

tomk:  There is a returning villain in the next episode.

jimmy:  Shall we see who it is?

tomk:  It’s Mad Stan.

jimmy:  Geez, you’re not one for surprises or segues are you, Tom?

tomk:  The last two bad guys for the series are Mad Stan and Kobra again.

You want surprises?  Wait for Return of the Joker.

jimmy:  I am.  🙂

tomk:  In that case, shall we check in on Mad Stan and Zeta?

jimmy:  We shall.

“Countdown”

Zeta returns to Gotham and ends up running an errand…for Mad Stan!

jimmy:  And then there was one.

tomk:  One Mad Stan?

jimmy:  One is more than enough.

tomk:  He’s a jolly fellow.

jimmy:  If by “jolly” you mean “likes to blow stuff up” and by “fellow” you mean “lunatic,” then yeh, sure.

tomk:  See, now you’re getting it.  You’re not just some rube who fell off a turnip truck.

So, did this episode make you want to see more of Zeta’s show?

jimmy:  It made me wonder if the blonde was from the show, but no, never really made me want to watch The Zeta Project.

tomk:  She was, so that answers that.

jimmy:  I figured as much.  I guess you’ve watched it?

tomk:  I may have seen a little here or there.  Plus, we did watch the opening credits off YouTube last time we saw Zeta,

jimmy:  I do recall watching it, but not much else.

tomk:  It was, you know, a thing that happened.

Like a Mad Stan plot, it didn’t quite blow up the way we wanted it to.

jimmy:  I think Mad Stan is a pretty stupid character, but have to give him props. In like an hour or two he attached a bomb to and completely reprogrammed this advanced robotic being. The sedative was a nice touch too.

tomk:  Stan’s not supposed to be a smart man.

But then he pulled this one off.

jimmy:  Exactly.

tomk:  If only we could see more of the smart side.

He might have got the sedative idea from when Spellbinder framed Terry for murder and Stan was just drugged somewhere.

jimmy:  Alas, this is probably the last we see of the Mad Bomber What Bombs at Midnight 2099.

tomk:  Probably?

jimmy:  My track record on these predictions hasn’t been great.

tomk:  Really?  Did you think Stan was Clayface the whole time?

jimmy:  No, but I never thought Stan and Kobra would show up again.

tomk:  Oh Jimmy, you sweet summer child.

You can never get rid of Mad Stan or Kobra!

jimmy:  Apparently.

tomk:  What next?  The Jokerz go to jail?

jimmy:  No.  If they weren’t in jail by now…

tomk:  Look, the legal system in Neo-Gotham works very slowly.

jimmy:  Slowly or not at all?

tomk:  Could you tell the difference?

jimmy:  Could I tell the difference? Probably not.

tomk:  Well, let Justice Be Served…eventually.

jimmy:  I want to make a slacker Barbara Gordon joke, but the keeping them in jail is the issue here, not putting them there.

tomk:  Then her DA husband must be the slacker!

jimmy:  There you go!  I was thinking the same thing.

But that’s what happens in comics/cartoons. Villains will either get a ridiculous sentence (“Well Dr. Octopus, you tried to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge, that’s 90 days in jail for you! I hope by then you will have learned your lesson!”) or break out after no time (“Man, maybe we shouldn’t have put him in his cell with his super suit on.”) or will get broken out by someone needing them for a nefarious plan (“We couldn’t be the Legion Of Doom without you. Here’s your suit. Grab that pudding and let’s go!”)

tomk:  One thing I actually liked about Silver Age Flash comics was a returning foe would open the story in jail and have to escape somehow. They rarely did it the same way twice.

jimmy:  There were a number of 1960’s Spider-Man cartoons that opened like that. Nowadays, they don’t even bother. The only time a prison ever really gets mentioned is if the Raft or Pleasant Hill or something is a major part of the plot.

tomk:  The current Flash was based in Iron Heights for a while if he still isn’t.

jimmy:  I wouldn’t know.

tomk:  Neither would I.  I am a few trades behind.

jimmy:  So, at this point in time was Zeta’s show running concurrently or finished?

tomk:  It was running concurrently, I think.

jimmy:  Zeta’s not much of a talker if his friend had no idea he was from Gotham nor that he knew Batman.

tomk:  It’s probably not something you bring up too much.

I mean, they are constantly running from that federal agent.

And since said agent is voiced by Kurtwood “guy who killed Robocop” Smith, thanks to That 70s Show, I just expect him to call everyone a dumbass

Thanks for finding this one, Jimmy!

jimmy:  “Get out of the way, Batman, you dumbass!”

tomk:  Something like that.

jimmy:  It doesn’t seem like much of a show if it’s just Agent Smith chasing Zeta every week for 22 minutes.

tomk:  I think it was a Bill Bixby Incredible Hulk scenario, where Smith would be chasing, but Zeta and the teenage girl he hung out with would help others along the way.

jimmy:  Sounds about right.  And then Zeta would get angry and smash things.

tomk:  Or he’d do like the A-Team and bill the people he was helping off-camera.

jimmy:  If you have a problem, and you can find them, maybe you can hire, The Zeta Project!

tomk:  See, now you get it.  Mad Stan had a problem, no one else could help, and he found Zeta.

jimmy:  This show did have an A-Team style huge number of explosions with minimal injuries and less casualties.

tomk:  And a guy who could be related to Howlin’ Mad Murdoch.

jimmy:  And now I’ve got the A-Team theme stuck in my head…

tomk:  I pity the fool that has a song stuck in his head!

Though it sure does look like Stan blew up that speaker at the tech expo at the beginning of the episode.

jimmy:  OK, one casualty.

tomk:  I rewatched the scene just now.  He may have barely scrambled away in time.

jimmy:  ZERO!

tomk:  This is too much like numbers.

jimmy:  And we know how you feel about numbers.

tomk:  That’s purely a Ryan-and-Watson thing.

jimmy:  Jenny has a numbers thing too…but that’s a completely different thing.

tomk:  Like Zeta on a Batman show?

jimmy:  At least that doesn’t involve oranges or fish.

tomk:  No, just a 911 call to Batman.

jimmy:  That’ll never work.

(Though I did think it was cool that Bruce monitors 911/police traffic…though that’s one of the oldest tricks in the books.)

tomk:  He must have a lot of free time on his hands.

jimmy:  Well, he’s not exactly hitting the gym or out patrolling these days.

And I imagine the Batcomputer constantly scans for keywords and alerts him when necessary.

tomk:  Like “Joker” or “Batman” or “sassafras”?

jimmy:  Yes.  Especially Joker.  But especially sassafras.

tomk:  That tree knows what it did.

jimmy:  The lemon tree?

tomk:  Shut up and drink your turnip juice.  We have a Zeta cartoon to ignore.

jimmy:  haha

Well, if it did anything, it made Mad Stan kinda interesting…just in time to never see him again.

tomk:  Well, that’s something for Henry Rollins to be proud of.

jimmy:  Anything more to say about the penultimate episode of Batman Beyond?

tomk:  Not really. I think a crossover episode for a show neither of us seems to have much interest in is going to provoke much chat.

jimmy:  Especially since Mad Stan ended up being the most interesting aspect.

tomk:  Shall we move on?

jimmy:  Let’s see how Terry and Bruce wrap things up.

“Unmasked”

Terry shows his face to a scared boy, but now Kobra knows this kid knows what Batman looks like!

jimmy:  The end of an era.

tomk:  So, you’ve seen the fabled lost episode that wasn’t really lost?

jimmy:  This was lost?

tomk:  Sort of.

It was originally supposed to air the weekend after 9/11, so the network took it off and didn’t air it for a while.

jimmy:  …any particular reason?

tomk:  I don’t know.  I think it just fell through the cracks.  I assume you played the audio commentary.

jimmy:  Not yet.  Let me do that…

tomk:  I am sure the commentary will have a better explanation than I could ever give off the top of my head.

jimmy:  So…there’s no audio commentary for that episode. But on one of the featurettes, Bruce Timm says that there was production problems with the episode and when it was finally ready, the Kids WB! had stopping showing Batman Beyond, so it debuted much later.

Wikipedia is more in line with your previous comments, saying that it didn’t debut after 9/11 dues to its terrorism content.

tomk:  Yeah, I probably got it from Wikipedia.

jimmy:  It could be right.  Timm might have been simplifying things.

tomk:  Well, was this one worth the extra wait? Not for you. You had the whole thing on DVD or something.

jimmy:  I did. Timm talked about how hyped up this episode got as the last episode of Batman Beyond, 9 months after the previous episode aired; and that it was just an average episode. Back then, they never made big season finales, they just made enough shows to fulfill their contract and if they got renewed they’d make more. He said that they never got an official cancellation, they just stopped making shows.

tomk:  That makes a lot of sense.  Did this work as a final episode?

jimmy:  Not really for me. It could have been stuck anywhere in the run. And I generally don’t care about Ryan’s issue with prequels, but I felt it with this one. Obviously it wasn’t Terry’s face on the big screen since this was taking place in the past. It would have worked better without the unnecessary framing sequence.

That said, I think everyone from Kobra that saw “his” face died or committed suicide?

tomk:  Didn’t they send that picture to all members everywhere?

jimmy:  Yeah, I couldn’t remember. It did seem like they were downloading it to a disc at least. In either case, that just proves my point.

And speaking of murder and suicide, they also commented that this was the last show of any series they made that was also targeted at the teen audience, and not just kids/pre-teens.

tomk:  Yeah, Justice League is a bit more adult.

Teen Titans was probably meant more for kids.

jimmy:  How did you feel about this episode? In general, and as a series finale? (Which I’m not sure it’s fair to judge it on, as it was made as “just another episode”.)

tomk:  Back when I first saw it, I thought it mostly worked as an unintended finale. The kid giving Terry a smirk kinda worked that way. Today? It’s an average episode with no named villains.

jimmy:  That smirking kid could almost be a set-up for a future episode,  alas…

tomk:  There will be no Robin Beyond in this incarnation, Jimmy.

jimmy:  I’m OK with that.

tomk:  Are you OK with how things mostly end here? We do still have Return of the Joker and a couple Justice League appearances.

jimmy:  It doesn’t work for me as a series finale, but I can’t hold it against them as it was never intended to be. I guess time will tell if Return of the Joker is more of a proper send off.

Out of that context, I thought it was an ok episode, but again, they should have called in GI Joe. At least they clued it up in one episode this time. 🙂

tomk:  Yeah, this was…wait, maybe they didn’t need to call G.I. Joe since they were ultimately defeated by Soldier Sam.

jimmy:  Pretty close to G.I. Joe.

And that’s quite the tech that Kobra had…though it was ultimately defeated by a child.

tomk:  These guys aren’t very smart. They take out their own people when they know Batman is looking for them. That’s kinda dumb.

jimmy:  That’s a good point.

tomk:  You need all your guys there when Batman shows up in case one of them gets lucky.

jimmy:  And if not, just throw yourself into a pit of cobras.

tomk:  Or try to throw Batman into it.

jimmy:  That never works.

tomk:  Nothing for Kobra works.  He’s Batman.  Or, if you prefer, Batman Beyond.

jimmy:  Is it a failing of the writers or mine that after 3 seasons and 52 episodes I still feel like Bruce is Batman and Terry is, well, Terry?

tomk:  Was it ever possible to ever change your mind on that?

jimmy:  I guess we’ll never know.

And I guess it is fitting that there were 52 episodes.

tomk:  I suspect that as long as a Kevin Conroy-voiced Bruce is right there, then we can’t really help but compare the two. Terry will always come up lacking.

jimmy:  I was going to make that exact same comment.

tomk:  Then again, maybe if they got into a fight, we could see who was more badass.

jimmy:  Never saw that before.  Pretty cool.

tomk:  Are you familiar with Astro City?

jimmy:  I am, but have never read it.  I should probably rectify that one of these days.

tomk:  There’s a character in it named Jack-in-the-Box. He dresses like a clown, bounces around the city, and fights crime with various clown-based gadgets. Since most Astro City characters look like thinly disguised DC and Marvel characters, I always took him for their Spider-Man.

Astro City characters age in real time, and when he had his story, he passed along his name and mantle to a younger guy while the original advised him from his lab or something.

But when I looked it up, I saw the Jack-in-the-Box story might have come first.

jimmy:  Came before Batman Beyond, you mean?

tomk:  Yes.

jimmy:  Well, it’s not exactly a ground breaking concept. And Terry is more Spider-Man than Batman, so that fits too.

tomk:  So, this was your favorite series so far?  And should we call it Batman-Beyond?

jimmy:  “Nah” to both.  🙂

tomk:  Well, we’re at the end of the regular series. Mostly, I think this show was fine, but unless Bruce tied directly into the plot and he wasn’t just sitting in the Batcave dispensing advice, then it was never better than an OK show that was a fun distraction for 20 minutes at a time without really being particularly memorable or special. It’s fine, but it doesn’t compare well to the other shows.

jimmy:  I think that sums up my thoughts as well.

Also, the Batman Beyond suit is a very cool design.

tomk:  Well, if you have nothing else to add, we do have one more adventure for Terry McGinnis.

Maybe one that does tie into Bruce rather directly.

jimmy:  A…return to form so to speak.

tomk:  A return of someone, mayhaps.

jimmy:  I’ve been looking forward to returns.

tomk:  OK then, Return of the Penguin it is.

jimmy:  WAHOO!!! Hey…wait a minute…

tomk:  Return of Clock King?

jimmy:  Now you’re just being cruel.  And on my birthday.

tomk:  Oh, it’s your birthday?  OK.  Return of the Joker.

jimmy:  WAHOO!!!

NEXT TIME:  All things good or bad must come to an end, so here we are with the last of Batman Beyond as Tom and Jimmy take a look at the direct-to-home video feature Return of the Joker.

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