Jimmy and Tom are back for a special edition of “Going Through The DCAU”.
Yup. This time we’re only covering one story.
But that story is “World’s Finest,” featuring the return of BATMAN!
Superman and Batman team up to take on Lex Luthor and the Joker! As Stan Lee would say, “Nuff said!”
jimmy: So great to have Batman and his Rogues and supporting cast back again!
tomk: I completely agree. What did you think of the redesigned looks of the different characters?
jimmy: For the most part they’re not all that different. Gordon looked almost sickly, he’s much skinnier. I’m not sure about the Joker. He’s like he’s made out of triangles. And what is with the black eyes with white pupils?
tomk: The new looks were mostly done to make the animation process faster. Most characters look similar but more streamlined. Bruce Wayne is supposed to look more handsome with a touch of bat wings in his eyebrows and not chunky in his suit. But Joker may be one of the few that actually looks noticeably worse with the all black eyes.
jimmy: Yeah. I couldn’t decide if I liked it or not. And leaned towards not. I’m a big fan of the simple black bat chest logo with no yellow, so that was a welcome change.
tomk: The first time I saw the redesigned looks, I wasn’t a fan. Most grew on me. Joker looks terrible and I think even Paul Dini and Bruce Timm agreed. He’ll have the whites back in his eyes for Justice League. But a couple characters actually end up looking better. None of them were in “World’s Finest “.
jimmy: Yeah, outside of Joker, Bats and Bruce there really isn’t much. Alfred a little. Gordon and Bullock in, I think, one scene.
tomk: Harley is a bit more cartoony.
jimmy: Oh right Harley too. True, but she was always along that lines. Her changes are much more subtle than puddin’s.
tomk: It’s often more obvious with the male characters. Catwoman and Poison Ivy are a bit more noticeable, Batgirl and Harley not so much.
The show was still hand drawn at the time, and the two shows and maybe Batman Beyond were all being done at about the same time.
Changes were made in order to speed up production, basically.
jimmy: It’s a real strain on the artists wrists.
tomk: Only for the live episodes.
jimmy: I assume these three episodes are what you often see advertised and on home video as the “Batman Superman Movie”?
tomk: I believe so, but aside from the new looks, what did you think, Jimmy?
jimmy: Great set of episodes. Superman is great and all, and the show is really well done, but I never realized how much I missed that Bat. All the pieces worked well together though. Bats and Supes. Lois/Clark/Bruce. Joker and Lex. Mercy and Harley. The story was somewhat simple (and AGAIN with the kryptonite) but it works.
tomk: Superman and Batman will have two more crossover episodes on STAS (with a Supergirl/Batgirl episode on Batman’s show), but one thing they do well is show how each hero can be outclassed by the other’s enemies. Joker almost killed Superman the first time around and Batman couldn’t stop that robot.
That pattern will continue in many ways.
jimmy: Batman would have found a way. He’s Batman.
tomk: Certainly, but that doesn’t change the fact Superman saves him rather easily.
jimmy: Well, that’s pretty much every situation.
tomk: It does seem that rescuing each other creates a bit of a bond.
jimmy: As does discovering each other’s identities.
tomk: Well, both these guys will have some team-up episodes in the future, particularly Superman. We’ll see who handles guest stars better.
jimmy: It’s interesting that Superman and Batman know of each other, but have never met…but it seems like Joker and Luthor have had dealings before.
tomk: Maybe on that last one. Both bad guys are famous in their own way.
Besides, both are used to working with other lowlifes by now. The heroes, not so much.
jimmy: That’s true. It’s funny how many super villains there are in comparison to heroes so far in these shows. At least Superman has had the Flash show up and now Batman. Who showed up in BTAS besides his Bat-Family?
jimmy: True. Hardly A-list, but it’s someone.
tomk: We’ll be seeing more in the future, but Batman doesn’t usually get outsider guest stars as it is.
jimmy: Who needs them? He’s Batman.
tomk: That’s your (accurate) answer to everything.
jimmy: I think it speaks to the fact that you can drop Batman into any story or situation from urban gothic to sci-fi and it works. Others like Superman, not so much.
tomk: I cannot argue with that.
Though the two, done right, compliment each other very well.
jimmy: That’s very true.
tomk: And that comes out, and it’s why, no matter how mismatched they are, Bats and Supes are generally seen as the best of friends. At least they don’t try to betray and kill each other like other pairs we can name.
jimmy: Ryan and Watson?
tomk: No. Bullock and Turpin.
But say, Jimmy, did you think it a wee bit disturbing that the Metropolis TV news labeled Harley going back to Arkham as the “lighter side” as if someone needing psychiatric help was funny? Unless they were laughing at the idea that Arkham can fix anybody…
jimmy: Perhaps the latter, but I never noticed that.
tomk: It only occurred to me with this viewing.
jimmy: I get the feeling the people of Metropolis feel they are better than Gothamites anyway. So they probably were laughing at them.
tomk: They do tend to get more sunlight in Metropolis. Those mile-high streets are nifty too.
jimmy: The trouble with the Gothamites
And they’re quite convinced they’re right
They say Metropolis is just too lofty
And it grabs up all the light
tomk: How poetic.
But given what the the Joker did to Boss Carlini (named for longtime Superman writer/editor Mike Carlin), it’s probably for the best if Joker stays in Gotham City.
jimmy: And that’s a nice segue…how did the mob guys not know who the Joker was?
tomk: Well, the one Batman met in the club sure knew who the Joker was!
After Intergang left, it was probably a lot safer being a mobster in Metropolis than it is in Gotham. Superman doesn’t worry much about organized crime.
jimmy: Who does deal with organized crime in Metropolis usually in the comics anyway? Just the police?
tomk: Sometimes there’s a guy in town called Gangbuster.
Superman will on occasion.
Mostly if it ain’t Intergang, it ain’t a factor.
jimmy: So, I picked up on a couple of things from the DVD commentary for this show. One, there was a request to make more episodes of BTAS, and they decided after the fact to use STAS as the launching pad. Two, there was a lot of controversy in the production offices around the fact that the Joker redesign didn’t have red lips. And three, they had difficulty bridging the gap between their down to Earth, realistic Batman and the sci-fi, alien man-God in Superman.
tomk: What I remember from when I listened to the commentary years ago was that having Daly and Conroy record at the same time somehow caused Daly to push his Superman voice lower once he heard Batman talking.
jimmy: Haha, yes. That too.
tomk: I can’t say I noticed a difference.
jimmy: Me neither to be honest.
tomk: But we got a few episodes of voicework from the likes of Conroy, Daly, Delany, Brown, Hamill, and Sorkin. I’m not complaining.
Hamill’s laugh at the end was marvelously deranged.
And, quite frankly, I thought there was some rather above-average animation for this three-parter. The final part particularly, with Superman battling the robots and Batman getting into the repainted flying wing were standouts.
jimmy: It did look/feel like a different show in a lot of ways. In a good way. Like they really went all out to make this something special.
tomk: Just like a bag of exploding marbles.
jimmy: That was something special for sure.
tomk: Yeah, you don’t want to drop them on a rocky flight.
Unless you think that’s really funny.
Like, Harley-going-to-Arkham level funny.
jimmy: Ok. I made copious notes on these three episodes. Let’s see what else I’ve got…did I mention how skinny/sickly redesigned Gordon looks?
Did you note the hijackers in the beginning having the meta awareness of how dumb it is to even accidentally kidnap Lois Lane?
jimmy: Lol, yes. She is the Queen of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Speaking of which, I know he saves the day, but spinning a plane 360 degrees and then opening the door mid flight…probably not a good idea.
tomk: And she seems to have accepted that position.
Actually, the whole suction thing in real life would be over very quickly once the air pressure inside the plane equalized itself to whatever was outside. Superman still killed a man by punching him.
jimmy: This is also true and intentionally ignored.
tomk: That guy was even considerate enough to strap Lois in really tight before Superman showed up.
jimmy: Well, he knew what was coming.
tomk: Considering Lois doesn’t seem to have a steady beat at The Daily Planet, you’d have to watch it doing anything near anything remotely newsworthy in the entire Metropolis region.
jimmy: Speaking of steady beat, here’s Lois asking Superman out again. (I don’t know what that segue means.)
tomk: No one does. He better watch it. Some handsome billionaire playboy might fly into town.
jimmy: Man, Lois really fell head over heels for Bruce Wayne.
tomk: Can you blame her? I mean, it’s a cartoon, so obviously people get married or at least move to a new city inside of a week, but…wait, that sounds like a terrible idea. Her reaction to finding out he was Batman made it sound like they were already engaged.
jimmy: I was a bit surprised that she learned his identity actually.
tomk: And yet…she still doesn’t know her co-worker is Superman.
jimmy: Exactly. Some investigative reporter she is.
tomk: To be fair, Superman doesn’t cover his face. Why would anyone even think he even had a secret identity? Someone realized that at some point past the Silver Age that unless Superman told people he had a secret identity, most people would assume he was Superman all the time.
jimmy: Fair point.
You know, I was at Costco the other day and I saw this guy that worked there. He was covered from head to toe even wearing a balaclava to cover his face because he was working outside. So all I could really see was his eyes. And I knew exactly who it was as I see him there all the time. It made me wonder how anyone can keep a secret identity without wearing a full mask. If even then. And here’s Supes wearing glasses and changing the part in his hair. And no one seems to care that Clark (or Bruce for that matter) are built like Olympic athletes.
tomk: DC has said, of Clark at least, that Clark Kent also tends to slouch, wears baggy clothes to hide his physique, and speaks in a lower octave as Superman. The old Superman radio show came up with that last one very well. It did sound almost like two different people. Clark is also a meeker person. As for Bruce, well…publicly he’s an irresponsible playboy.
jimmy: I know, I know, but still. Anyways…
One of the things mentioned in the commentary about the redesign was that they wanted to make Bruce sexier and felt like the original BTAS design made him look fat. Oh, and they gave him bats for eyebrows.
tomk: I think I said something like that up there, but the bat eyebrows thing doesn’t work for me. I don’t mind the rest, but the eyebrows don’t work.
jimmy: Na na na na na na na na Bat-eyebrows!
tomk: Then again, I wasn’t sitting at home watching Batman cartoons and wishing Bruce Wayne was sexier.
Though Bruce had one of my favorite lines in the whole three parter, where he shows a sense of humor about the whole mess he’s in with Lois.
“I never said I wasn’t Batman.”
jimmy: Haha, that is a great line.
tomk: Howard the Duck creator Steve Gerber got a writing credit on the last episode, but what struck me the most about the line was how unconcerned Bruce was about the whole thing. He’s like, “Oh well, I guess she knows.”
jimmy: I guess there isn’t much he can do about it. She is a dangerous person to know your secret identity. She sold out New 52 Superman.
tomk: Yeah, and then she died. Served her right.
jimmy: I made a couple of notes on the Lex and Joker side of things. One, Joker asked for a billion dollars to kill Superman and Lex doesn’t bat an eye. How much money does Lex have anyway? And two, it seems odd that Lex never knew anything about this large Kryptonite statue to begin with.
tomk: To be fair, everyone thought it was regular, old cursed jade.
You’d have to be crazy to think it was something else.
Besides, Lex clearly had no plans of actually paying the Joker judging from the last part.
jimmy: Perhaps. But how did the Joker figure out it was Kryptonite?
tomk: He’s crazy. And what else is green and glows in the dark if all you think about is homicide?
jimmy: Soylent Green?
tomk: That stuff is neither rock nor glows in the dark.
jimmy: Then he is crazy!
tomk: Your notes are precise in this matter.
jimmy: On a less crazy note, Batman smashing through the skylight at the club was totally cliched….and awesome.
tomk: Batman’s whole trip to the club was awesome, particularly when he judo flipped a surprised Superman.
Granted, Clark was more surprised than anything else judging by the look on his face.
jimmy: Do you think even a surprised Superman could be Judo flipped by Batman?
tomk: No, but it made sense. Superman isn’t heavier than a normal man, and if he isn’t actively resisting (and why would he?), then flipping him is totally possible. It just won’t hurt him. And the resulting shoulder check probably does much more harm to the flipper than the flippee.
jimmy: Oh yeah, he pulverized Bats. Could have been the end of the crossover right there.
tomk: Instead, he just pissed Batman off. And looking under the cowl ain’t cool. It’s easy. Not like slipping a tracking device on a man who can hear whispers from across town.
jimmy: I was just going to ask you about that. If you’re Superman, do you immediately look under Batman’s cowl to see who he is?
tomk: Why not? It’s a mystery.
jimmy: And I guess he has no reason to trust Batman at this point.
tomk: And it’s smart. He should always know who he’s dealing with.
jimmy: I liked the scene with Bats discovering Superman was Clark. Blocks away on top of a building, he gives the little salute and “I got you back” smile and he’s off.
tomk: Batman is remarkably jolly for this. He’s not grim or brooding when he has to deal with either Clark or Lois finding out who he is. He just deals with it.
jimmy: I guess we’ll see how that attitude holds in the relaunch, but maybe they intentionally lightened him up here to better suit the tone of this show?
tomk: Maybe. Or maybe he’s just more inclined to partnerships than even he would ever admit. Batgirl becomes a much more prominent character in the relaunch.
Besides, there’s been strong comedic elements to Batman’s adventures for a while now. I personally loved the scene where Joker and Lex negotiate for a second time and meanwhile Mercy and Harley are beating the crap out of each other.
jimmy: That was great. Man…Mercy really had a tough go of things in these three episodes.
tomk: Harley didn’t have it much better. We’ll have to see if either of them ever come out on top.
Would either Harley or Mercy turn on her boss? We’ll just have to wait and see.
jimmy: Harley made a habit of it in BTAS. If Mercy didn’t after her last appearance before this, I doubt she ever will.
tomk: Harley, though, always goes back because that’s part of her psychosis.
Regardless, I don’t think Mercy and Harley meet again at any rate. Lex and Joker? Yes. Harley and Mercy? Not that I can recall.
jimmy: They never had that budding romance feel like Harley and Ivy.
tomk: No, but Joker was concerned enough after the second encounter to ask Harley how she was holding up.
jimmy: I wouldn’t put much weight in Joker’s “concern”.
tomk: It was a good laugh line for the episode. And besides, for once, he wasn’t the one abusing her.
jimmy: Very true.
tomk: Well, we had a damn good chat so far. Anything to add, Jimmy?
jimmy: I had a couple of last notes…
tomk: Fire away! Hopefully not about how quickly Harley can paint a giant flying wing with just a single spray gun.
tomk: Or how Batman suggested the Joker might really be puddin’.
jimmy: One, that suit that protects Superman from Kryptonite, really, really needs to be made out of stronger material.
B, I made a note that part three made a “Good point of making the cape make no sense”…but I can’t remember now what I was talking about.
:tangerine: :fish:, When the Lexwing loops in front of the moon, it sounds like a tie-fighter.
tomk: That lead suit never works.
The Lexwing had enough problems.
And the cape, well, I don’t know whose cape you mean since Batman’s caused him trouble only in part two.
Though he had a spare from the one the printer mangled.
jimmy: I can’t recall. I do remember in the commentary they mentioned that they had to have some scenes with Batman reanimated because the Japanese animators thought because he had a cape that meant he could fly.
tomk: You mean he can’t?!
jimmy: Well, he is Batman.
tomk: And it really is good to have him back.
jimmy: Yes. I didn’t realize how much I missed him.
tomk: Well, no more of that!
It may be just as well that Superman plays well with others. We have another superhero team-up next.
jimmy: Then let’s get to it!
NEXT TIME: When Jimmy and Tom return, we’re back to our usual three-episode-at-a-time format. So be back soon for “Hand of Fate,” “Bizarro’s World,” and “Prototype”.