Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Great Batman: The Brave and the Bold Rewatch: "Dawn of the Dead Man!"

Season One, Episode Seven: Dawn of the Dead Man!
Written by Todd Casey
Directed by Ben Jones

Plot Synopsis

Teaser: Hopping across the rooftops of a post-apocalyptic world, Batman follows Kamandi, the last human boy, and his mentor, Dr Canus, towards a time fissure. They are attacked by rat-men, with Batman holding them off while Kamandi and Canus carry a capsule to the fissure. They travel by inflatable raft to the wreck of the Statue of Liberty, where Batman takes the capsule and heads into the rift with the vaccine he needs to save human life, but not until telling Kamandi to check the statue's nostril, where he finds a time capsule with a ray weapon Kamandi uses to save himself and Canus from the pursuing rat-men

Episode: In a London cemetery stands a grave that reads, "Here Lies Batman," and from the grave rises what appears to be Batman's ghost. In flashback we see Batman chasing Gentleman Ghost, who is trying to obtain artifacts that will allow him to raise a ghost army, across London. Gentleman Ghost is able to knock Batman unconscious and bury him alive, but Batman is able to astrally project out of his body.

Out of the grave, he meets a ghost and tells him he has two hours of air before his body will die. The ghost tells Batman he can possess bodies, and offers to use a body to dig up Batman's body, but Batman knows the coffin is booby trapped, so he has to find another way. While Gentleman Ghost acquires the second artifact, Batman and the ghost travel across London. Batman sees a light that is a way to the other side, something the ghost is excited for as he himself is trapped on the mortal plain, and Batman sees his parents beckoning him, and begins to drift towards the light.

At the last moment, Batman decides to stay behind and because his work is not done. The ghost is annoyed by Batman rejecting what he has sought, but they head off to find a nearby hero. As luck would have it, Green Arrow and his sidekick, Speedy, are chasing a thief in London, and the ghost pushes Batman into Speedy, since a ghost needs to possess a living person to speak with the living. After a little experimentation, Batman gets Arrow to believe it's him, and Arrow and Speedy head to the cemetery.

When the ghost hears Gentleman Ghost is involved, he wants out, as Gentleman Ghost is, "bad news," but after Batman tells him to stop wallowing in self pity, he follows Batman back towards his body, and tells Batman his origin: he was a trapeze artist who was shot while performing, and his killer, who has a hook for a hand, was never caught. Batman knows him to be Boston Brand, who performed under the name Deadman, and Batman tells Deadman he's been working his case, and challenges Deadman to help him stop Gentleman Ghost.

At the, "Museum of Torture," Gentleman Ghost gets the final artifact, the noose he was hung with, and the astral Batman confronts him. They battle, and while Batman is the more skilled fighter, Gentleman Ghost's familiarity with fighting as a ghost gives him the upper hand. Deadman arrives to aid Batman, but Gentleman Ghost calls his ghost horse to escape. The ghostly heroes pursue him, and they all wind up heading back to the cemetery, and Gentleman Ghost uses the pen that signed his death warrant, the key that locked the dungeon, and the noose to summon an army of criminal ghosts, who restrain Batman's spirit form and possess skeletons to able to destroy London.

Green Arrow and Speedy are able to beat the booby trap and dig up Batman's body, and Deadman possesses the body, leading Arrow and Speedy into the catacombs beneath the cemetery where Batman's spirit is imprisoned. He goes down to save Batman, while Arrow and Speedy fight Gentleman Ghost up above. The Nth Metal in Batman's tools defeats the ghosts holding Batman's spirit, and Batman retakes his body.

Arrow and Speedy are outnumbered by Gentleman Ghost's army, but Batman arrives, and Deadman possesses Speedy. Arrow uses Nth Metal arrowheads to destroy Gentleman Ghost's horse, and Batman fights him hand to hand with Nth Metal knuckles. Batman knocks off Gentleman Ghost's hat, where the artifacts were hidden, and the spirits Gentleman Ghost summoned drag him back to the afterlife. Batman swears he'll find Deadman's killer, and with the Deadman sees the light.

Flash forward three months, and Batman has been captured by a gang and is about to be killed, when Deadman possesses the leader, having decided to stay behind and find his own killer. Freeing Batman, the episode ends with the two of them joining together to fight the gang.

Who's Who

Deadman (Voiced by Michael Rosenbaum)
First Comic Book Appearance: Strange Adventures #205 (October, 1967)
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode Seven- Dawn of the Deadman!

Created by Arnold Drake and Neal Adams, Deadman's origin is pretty much exactly what this episode puts forth: Boston Brand was a trapeze artist who was kind of a jerk, who was shot mid-performance by a hook-handed assassin. As he died, the goddess Rama Kushna appears to him, granting him the ability to possess bodies so he can hunt down his killer. Deadman does eventually hunt down Hook, who was a member of the League of Assassins, but does not pass on, instead staying on Earth to continue to do good. He has rarely held his own series, although has had a number of mini-series, and has often appeared in comic alongside Batman, two characters whose visuals were both defined by Neal Adams. In recent years, Deadman has gotten more of a spotlight as he was a featured player in DC's last pre-Flashpoint epic, Brightest Day, and was a member of the Justice League Dark in the New 52. Aside from the ability to possess the living, which allows Deadman a physical form and the ability to communicate with the living, when in a body Deadman retains the physical memory of being a trapeze artist and acrobat, able to perform stunts most people can not.

Green Arrow (Voiced by James Arnold Taylor)
First Comic Book Appearance: More Fun Comics #73 (November, 1941)
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode One- Rise of the Blue Beetle

Kamandi (Voiced by Mikey Kelley)
First Comic Book Appearance:  Kamandi: The Last Boy On Earth (October, 1972)
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode Seven- Dawn of the Deadman!

Kamandi is the last human left alive in a post-apocalyptic world. Years ago, "the Great Disaster," occurred, wiping out most of humanity, and what humanity is left is feral. Emerging from the Command D bunker, from where he gets his name, Kamandi finds a world populated by bipedal animal people, most of them very hostile to humans. The only ones who approve of Kamandi are Dr. Canus, a dog scientist who acts as Kamandi's mentor, Prince Tuftan of the Tigers, and Tuftan's father, Great Caesar. Kamandi travels the Earth, trying to find a way to restore the last of humanity's sentience. Created by Jack Kirby, Kamandi has had limited interactions with the DC Universe proper, although he was used by Grant Morrison in both Final Crisis and Multiversity. Kamandi is a normal human, although one on very good physical shape, and who is clever and a talented fighter.

Speedy (Voiced by Jason Marsden)
First Comic Book Appearance: More Fun Comics #73 (November, 1941)
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode Seven- Dawn of the Deadman!

Roy Harper was the ward of Green Arrow, Oliver Queen, who took him in after losing both his father, a park ranger, to fire, and his adopted father, Brave Bow, a Native American who taught him archery. An excellent archer in his own right already, Roy took the name Speedy and became Green Arrow's partner, as well as a founding member of the Teen Titans. Roy's life after this was a hard one, as he became addicted to heroin, became a government agent, had a daughter with a supervillain, and various other travails. He took on the adult secret identities of first Arsenal and then Red Arrow, and would spend time leading the Titans and as a member of the Justice League. In the current continuity, he has been a partner of Jason Todd, the Red Hood, and they currently run a heroes for hire business. While having no superhuman powers, Roy Harper is an excellent marksman, one of the best in the world, as well as an inventor of unusual weapons, and a skilled hand to hand combatant.

Gentleman Ghost (Voiced by Jonny Rees)
First Comic Book Appearance: Flash Comics #88 (October, 1947)
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode Two- Terror on Dinosaur Island!

Continuity, Comics Connections, and Notes

The teaser for this episode is loaded with references to the DC work of Jack "The King" Kirby, on e of the greatest creators in comic book history. A billboard Kamandi stands in front of is a reference to the cover of the first issue of OMAC another Kirby title, and a character who will appear in a future episode of Brave and the Bold. The Statue of Liberty is in the same position that it appears in on the cover of the first issue of Kamandi's own series. Thee ray weapon that Batman leaves behind for Kamandi is straight out of a Kirby design, down the the visual effect is utilizes, called Kirby Krackles, which were a trademark of Kirby's art.

Michael Rosenbaum, who voices Deadman in this episode, has a long resume filled with DC Comics projects. Probably most famous for playing the part of Lex Luthor on TV's Smallville, Rosenbaum also was a regular member of the classic DC Animated Universe voice troupe, starting out with a small cameo in Batman Beyond, before graduating to a larger role in the animated movie Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, and then a starring role a the Flash in Justice League/Justice League Unlimited, where he also voiced Deadshot. He has reprised the role of Flash in a few video games and DC Animated movies, and voiced Kid Flash on Teen Titans as well.

The dialogue Green Arrow uses when doing a Batman impression, "I am Vengeance, I am the Night, I am Batman!" is dialogue lifted directly from the classic Batman: The Animated Series.

Batman says that Deadman was working for Haly's Circus at the time of his death. While Deadman has not been connected with Haly's Circus in the comics,it is connected to the origin of another DC Comics acrobat: Dick Grayson, the original Robin. Dick and his parents, the Flying Graysons, were working at Haly's when Boss Tony Zucco killed the Graysons in Gotham City. Dick would eventually go on to own Haly's Circus in both the pre- and post-Flashpoint continuities.

After Deadman leaves Speedy's body, the sidekick pounds one fist into his open palm and says, "Holy involuntary acrobatics!" an obvious reference both the physical performance of, and the dialogue given to, Burt Ward, who played Robin in the classic Batman series of the '60s.

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