Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Great Batman: The Brave and the Bold Rewatch: "Enter the Outsiders!"

Season One, Episode Six: Enter the Outsiders!
Written by Todd Casey
Directed by Michael Chang

Plot Synopsis

Teaser: Black  Manta fleas across a park in a giant mechanical walker, an armored car in its grip, with a motorcycle riding Batman in pursuit. Also chasing Manta is B'Wana Beast, who uses his ability to merge two animals to  create a horse/spider hybrid that he uses to join the chase. Batman's flying motorcycle, and B'wana Beast's pelican/shark are able to defeat the walker.

Episode: Batman is sparring at Wildcat's Gym with the gym's owner, the elder hero Wildcat,who taught Batman to box. Wildcat's feeling down because people aren't coming to spar or take lessons anymore, and Batman wants him to take it easy after the heart scare, but Wildcat still wants to keep up the fight. An alarm goes off, and Batman and Wildcat ride off to face it.

At a mall, three teens with super powers, Black Lightning, Katana, and Metamoprho, give a speech about the mindless drones of society not accepting outsiders, and begin wrecking the mall. Batman and Wildcat arrive, and Batman tells Wildcat they are The Outsiders, who Batman has been trying to put away for weeks. Batman fights Black Lightning, while Wildcat faces the others, and tries to talk them into doing something constructive with their powers. Batman is able to save Wildcat from being skewered by Katana, but Metamorpho turns to water and Black Lightning conducts electricity through it to stun the heroes and the Outsiders make their escape.

The Outsiders head down into the subway, and Batman and Wildcat pursue on motorcycles. Another fight ensues on the subway platform. Metamorpho lures Wildcat into the path of an oncoming train, and although Batman pulls him out of the way, Batman scolds Wildcat for falling into the trap. Batman and Wildcat fight, and Batman says Wildcat has been doing this for, "Maybe too long." Batman finds the hidden entrance to the Outsiders base, and the heroes follow.

The Outsiders head to their base, and to the person instructing them, a man monster called Slug, who gives a speech about how he's the one who cares for them, and sends them back to kill the intruders. Following a river of toxic waste, the heroes fall into a trap, and Metamorpho is able to knock them out.

Batman and Wildcat awaken tied above a pit filled with giant snapping turtles. Slug again says he's doing this because this is the only place the Outsiders won't be looked on as freaks, and although Batman says he's just using the kids, Slug counters that and begins lowering Batman and Wildcat into the pit. Only now does Wildcat begin to feel his age, and Batman says the only reason he's wanted Wildcat to retire is that he looks on him like a father figure and he doesn't want to lose another father. Emboldened, Wildcat says he has one more lesson to teach.

Lowering slowly, Wildcat begins goading Slug. Slug pulls Wildcat in and drops Batman into the pit. Slug and Wildcat begin to fight, Wildcat taking all the punches. Batman, free of the chains, is able to defeat the giant turtles.Wildcat still taunts Slug, and eventually, as he has exhausted Slug, he's able to knock him out and toss him into the river of toxins. Batman comes out of the pit to find Wildcat victorious and Wildcat gives the Outsiders a speech about understanding them and asking them to come join him and learn to do more. But just as he seems to be getting through to them, a hideously mutated Slug rises from the waste to attack, calling the Outsiders traitors and freaks.

The Outsiders turn on their former boss and attack him. Batman joins the fray, but as Wildcat goes to join as well, he clutches at his chest and collapses. With a little help from Batman, they easily defeat Slug, but find a collapsed Wildcat. The until now silent Katana gives instructions to the others, Metamorpho oxygenating Wildcat's lungs and Black Lightning jump starting his heart. Later at Wildcat's gym, we see the Outsiders smiling and sparring, now on the road to be heroes.

Who's Who

Wildcat (Voiced by R. Lee Ermey)
First Comic Book Appearance: Sensation Comics #1 (January, 1942)
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode Six- Enter the Outsiders!

Wildcat is Ted Grant, a former heavy weight boxer, who was framed for murder and took up the identity of Wildcat to prove his innocence. Even after proving his innocence, Grant continued to don the Wildcat costume to fight crime. Wildcat became a regular member of the Justice Society of America, and a mentor for many of the team's younger members. He remained on the team long after many of his peers had retired or passed on, teaching boxing and life lessons to anyone who would listen. Wildcat is a champion boxer, strong and fast, with stamina of a much younger man. He also obtained a magical power that granted him nine lives, like cats of legend.

Black Lightning (Voiced by Bumper Robinson)
First Comic Book Appearance:  Black Lightning #1 (April, 1977)
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode Six- Enter the Outsiders!

Jefferson Pierce was an Olympic decathlete who returned to his home neighborhood in Metropolis, the Southside neighborhood called Suicide Slum, to become a teacher and school principal. But when gang activity grew worse, Pierce donned a costume and used his metahuman powers to become Black Lightning. Black Lightning was DC Comics first African-American hero to headline his own title, and while he has only headlined his own title twice, both for fairly short runs, he has appeared regularly for decades as a member of the Outsiders and the Justice League of America. Black Lightning can channel electricity, firing bolts of lightning and creating force fields with it; originally his power was scientific, coming from a belt that granted these powers, but was later revised to be his own innate metahuman ability.

Katana (Voiced by Vyvan Pham)
First Comic Book Appearance:  The Brave and the Bold #200 (July, 1983)
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode Six- Enter the Outsiders!

When Tatsu Yamashiro chose to marry Maseo Yamashiro over his brother Takeo, she didn't realize that a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions had been set in motion. The angry Takeo, a member of the Yakuza, acquired a sword called the Soultaker, and challenged his brother to a fight for Tatsu. In the course of the battle, not only was Maseo slain, but a fire started that killed Tatsu's children. Tatsu was able to fight and disarm Takeo, and taking the Soultaker sword, which possessed the souls of all it had slain, Tatsu began a quest for vengeance, taking up the way of the samurai. Along her way, she joined the Outsiders, and continued to fight by their side even after she had her vengeance, becoming a mother figure to Outsider Halo. Over the years Tatsu has also been a member of the Suicide Squad and the Justice League of America. She has appeared in an arc of the third season of Arrow, as Batman's partner in the animated series Beware the Batman, and will be a member of the Suicide Squad in this summer's film. Katana is a master of martial arts and swordsmanship. She possesses the Soultaker, which absorbs the life force of any it kills.

Metamorpho (Voiced by Scott Menville)
First Comic Book Appearance:  The Brave and the Bold #57 (January, 1965)
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode Six- Enter the Outsiders!

Treasure hunter Rex Mason was working for Simon Stagg, millionaire industrialist, to retrieve an Egyptian artifact called the Orb of Ra when he was exposed to the meteorite that the orb was fashioned from. The meteorite bathed him in radiation, turning him into Metamorpho, the Element Man. While now freakishly transformed, Rex continued to romance Stagg's daughter, Sapphire, to the ire of Stagg and his bodyguard/right hand man, the revived caveman called Java, who also loved Sapphire. He worked for Stagg regularly, until he became first a member of the Outsiders, and then the Justice League International. He would eventually marry Sapphire, and they would have a child, who inherited Rex's powers, although the child was eventually cured. Metamorpho has the ability to turn into and channel any element; while initially he could only change to those in the human body, he can now transform into any element. He is also a shape shifter, who can transform any part of his body onto various shapes.

B'wana Beast (Voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson)
First Comic Book Appearance:  Showcase #66 (January 1967)
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode Six- Enter the Outsiders!

Created in the 1960's, the character of B'wana Beast can be looked at as somewhat quaint to downright insulting by modern standards, when his origins are considered. Mike Maxwell is one of those characters who was a white man who traveled to Africa and used native magics, in his case a helmet and elixir, to become the hero of native peoples. The character has at this point become more commonly used in animation then comics, as he only has a handful of comics appearances, and the more colonialist aspects of his origins are glossed over, as you will see as you continue to watch Brave and the Bold. Aside from standard super strength, enhanced durability, and tracking powers, B'Wana Beast can telepathically communicate with animals, and can merge two animals into one creature, creating strange animal hybrids.

Black Manta (Voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson)
First Comic Book Appearance:  Aquaman #35 (September, 1967)
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode Three- Evil Under the Sea!

Slug (Voiced by Alexander Polinsky)
First Comic Book Appearance:  None
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode Six- Enter the Outsiders!

Slug is a character created for the show. There might be aspects of a Marvel character of the same name, who was an obese ganglord, and Sleez, a servant of Darkseid who has a similar look.

Continuity, Comics Connections, and Notes

R. Lee Ermey, best known for his performance as the drill instructor in Full Metal Jacket, plays the part of Wildcat, a very different trainer here. The part was previously played by the legendary Dennis Farina in Justice League Unlimited, and while Farina did a great job, I personally love Ermey's bombastic take on the character, making him one of my favorite Brave and the Bold guest stars.

The Outsiders were a team that was created in 1983 to be a team led by Batman. After quitting the Justice League, Batman forms the Outsiders to aid him in a crisis in the fictional Eastern European country of Markovia. Aside from the three members here, all adults in the comic book version, the team also initially included two other characters, both created for the team: Geo-Force, the prince of Markovia who had super strength and other powers based on geological energy, and Halo, who had various powers based on spectrums of light. Batman would leave as leader of the team, and the Outsiders would continue, having multiple series over the years with various members, including, but not limited to, Nightwing, Arsenal, Eradicator, Looker, Thunder (Black Lightning's daughter), Batgirl (Cassandra Cain), and Indigo, who recently appeared as a villain on the Supergirl TV show. Their is a new group called the Outsiders in the current DCU, but they have no connection to the pre-Flashpoint team, except that Katana is a member of both.

Wildcat was not a character created to have any ties to Batman or his extended family. But in the 90s, it was established he helped train both a young Batman and Catwoman. Add in his paternal relationship to Black Canary, who became an extended member of the Bat family due to her membership in Birds of Prey and her close friendship with Barbara Gordon, and Wildcat became a sort of grumpy grandpa figure to many Bat characters.

The Batmobile that explodes apart to reveal a Batcycle has precedent in two Batman films. In Batman Returns, the Batmobile sheds much of its outer armor to form a smaller vehicle to allow it to pass through smaller alleys, and in The Dark Knight, the Batpod, a motorcycle, is hidden inside the Tumbler, that universe's Batmobile.

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