Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Great Batman: The Brave and the Bold Rewatch: Deep Cover for Batman!

Season One, Episode Twelve: Deep Cover for Batman!
Written by Joseph Kuhr
Directed by Michael Chang

Plot Synopsis

Sitting in shadows, a hooded figure begins to talk about his comrades and the Phase Oscillator, a device that will allow him to find allies on another Earth. He fires the device, and a portal opens. He tosses a throwing star in the shape of a card suit spade through, and is confident the device is working when a hooded Batman-like figure appears, along with figures resembling his many allies, although they appear far more aggressive. The light reveals the man to be the Red Hood, and as the others pursue him, he drops the Phase Oscillator, which is retrieved by his foes, who beat him, although he is able to escape. The group steps out of the shadows, revealed to be Owlman (Batman), Blue Bowman (Green Arrow), Scarlet Scarab (Blue Beetle), and Silver Cyclone (Red Tornado), who plan to use the device to take over other worlds.

Episode: The Bat Signal shines in the Gotham sky, as Batman talks to Commissioner Gordon, telling him he's stopped the Riddler. He drives back into the Batcave, first noticing the throwing spade Red Hood tossed through the vortex, and in its reflective surface notices Owlman, who attacks. The two have an extended fight sequence and prove evenly matched, down to similar gadgets. Batman kills the lights, and Owlman begins to gloat, saying owls see better in the dark than bats, turning on nightvision tech. Batman, though, is prepared and triggers a device that causes a bright flash before punching Owlman and knocking him out.

Batman examines the Phase Oscillator, deducing its purpose, and realizing Owlman is his doppelganger. Owlman, in a strait jacket and cell in the Batcave, refuses to tell Batman his purpose, and while Batman seems to threaten to beat the answers out of Owlman, he instead takes his costume and heads back to Owlman's Earth. In Owlman's penthouse, he finds the doppelgangers of his friends waiting, and warns them off his Earth, saying its too dangerous, a world where everyone has powers, so they decide to go with plan B: simply use a giant bomb to blow up the other Earth, to make an example of it and scare all other Earths into bowing to them.

The Injustice Syndicate heads to a lab to get a sample of Prometheum-90, the fuel for the bomb, and Batman sees the world he's in, and how it is full of fear of the villains, with seemingly no heroes to defend it. They reach the lab and go to get the Prometheum-90, but Silver Centurion warns them not to break the container, or the only sample of the mineral known will be useless. Seeing a way to stop the bomb, Batman heads to get it, only to be interrupted by Red Hood. The Injustice Syndicate attacks Red Hood, and Batman knocks Red Hood aside, revealing his identity as a hero from the other world. He gives Hood a Bat communicator, and although Hood's face is obscured by shadow, the lines of it and the bits we see make it clear he is this Earth's Joker. Batman apologizes before knocking him out, and the others arrive, with Scarlet Scarab holding the Prometheum-90.

Back at Owlman's penthouse, Batman finds out where Red Hood is being kept, and when Blue Bowman asks why he's acting weird, Batman slugs him and tells him not to question him. Bowman walks off perturbed, and then seems to talk to the air, telling someone to stay close and keep an eye on Owlman. In the jail, Silver Cyclone is trying to torture information out of Red Hood, who won't break, simply laughing it off. We see his origin, and inversion of Batman's fight with his Earth's Red Hood, where instead of him jumping into the chemicals that made him Joker to escape, Owlman throws him into them, and this Red Hood didn't fully lose his mind. We see versions of villains,in this world heroes, fighting the Injustice Syndicate, and falling to them, although Hood escapes to fight another day. Batman is communicating to him right in his ear through the communicator, telling him to stall as he is about to spring Hood and the other heroes.

But then we find out who Blue Bowman was talking to: Dyna-Mite, this universe's Atom, who springs up to stop Batman from using the computer to free the heroes. Batman stops Dyna-Mite, but the computer is destroyed, so Batman heads down to Hood, who uses his interrogation to drop hints to allow Batman to find him. As Batman nears him through the ventilation system, Silver Cyclone figures out what's going on, zaps Hood and starts blowing cyclones through the vents, pushing Batman back towards a large exhaust fan. Batman tosses a few explosive capsules from his utility belt to stop the fan, and escapes into the Injustice Syndicate's trophy room.

Batman makes his way into the room, and finds Blue Bowman, Dyna-Mite, and Scarlet Scarab waiting. They try to blast him, and when they find Owlman's tattered costume, they think they killed him, only to have Batman drop down on them in his own costume. He easily bests them, and then heads down to the jail, where he frees Red Hood. They are then confronted by the entire Injustice Syndicate, including doubles of Aquaman, Fire, and nearly all the bother heroes who have appeared in the series to date. Silver Cyclone observes they are outnumbered, but Batman opens the cells, freeing the heroes, all doubles of series villains, to even the odds.

A big fight commences, and with Batman aiding them, the heroes have the upper hand this time. Red Hood battles Silver Cyclone, and is able to knock the Phase Oscillator away from him into Batman's hands. The heroes begin to slowly lock the villains up in the cells they were once imprisoned in, but Silver Cyclone has a last play: He activates the bomb that he was planning to send to Batman's Earth, so he can wipe out all human life on this Earth, leaving him an empty Earth of his own. Red Hood throws an explosive spade, blowing up Cyclone's head. Batman attaches rockets to the bomb, and Red Hood programs the Phase Oscillator to a world of zombies, where no one can be killed, and the rocket explodes there, causing no deaths.

Later, Batman and Red Hood stand in Owlman's penthouse, Batman congratulating Red Hood on his victory, and Red Hood saying he hopes his counterpart can repay Batman, whose reply is that seems, "unlikely." Batman opens the portal and heads back to the Gotham, only to find the city papered with wanted posters for him, and the police surrounding him, saying he's under arrest.


Who's Who

Owlman (Voiced by Diedrich Bader)
First Comic Book Appearance: Justice League of America #29 (August 1964)
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode Twelve- Deep Cover for Batman!

When first introduced, Owlman was a member of the Crime Syndicate, the team's opposite number to Batman, although he was never given much of a backstory. In the post-Crisis and post-Flashpoint continuities, he is Thomas Wayne Jr., who hails from Earth-3 (or the anti-matter universe before the multiverse was recreated), the brother of Bruce Wayne. The two origins vary: post-Crisis, Thomas witnessed the death of his mother and brother at the hands of a corrupt police officer and swore vengeance on the law, while in post-Flashpoint, he orchestrated the death of his family to inherit their fortune. There have also been two Owlmans from the main DC Earth, one was detective Roy Raymond Jr., recruited to be the detective on the Outsiders after Batman's apparent death at the hands of Darkseid, and the other is Lincoln March, a member of the Court of Owls who claims to be Bruce's heretofore unknown brother, Thomas Wayne Jr, although his claims are unsubstantiated. Owlman has skills on par with Batman in both intellect and fighting, although he is considerably more ruthless and has no qualms about taking a life.

Crime Syndicate of America
First Comic Book Appearance: Justice League of America #29 (August 1964)
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode Twelve- Deep Cover for Batman!

The Crime Syndicate of America is an alternate reality of the Justice League of America from Earth-3 (or briefly the antimatter universe in the post-Crisis continuity where there was no Multiverse). On their Earth, the morality of people is inverted, and heroes are villains and vice versa. The Crime Syndicate is often portrayed a rulers of their world. The five regular members of the Crime Syndicate are Ultraman (Superman), Super Woman (Wonder Woman), Owlman (Batman), Johnny Quick (Flash), and Power Ring (Green Lantern). The most recent incarnation of the team, whose invasion of the main DC Universe Earth was the centerpiece of the Forever Evil crossover, also included Grid (Cyborg), Sea King (Aquaman), Deathstorm (Firestorm), and Atomica (Atom).

Red Hood (Voiced by Jeff Bennett)
First Comic Book Appearance: Detective Comics #168 (February 1951)
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode Twelve- Deep Cover for Batman!

While there is no direct corollary to this alternate Red Hood in the alternate DC Universe, the name Red Hood is significantly tied to Batman history. The leader of the Red Hood Gang, a gang that terrorized Gotham, Batman cornered Red Hood in the Ace Chemical Factory, where he dove into a vat of chemicals to avoid capture, counting on the air supply in his helmet to help him survive. And while he did survive, he found his skin bleached white and his hair dyed green. He would go on to become Batman's most nefarious foe, the Joker, but more on that next time... Former Robin Jason Todd would also take up the name Red Hood after his resurrection from his death at Joker's hands.

Continuity, Comics Connections, and Notes

The Injustice Syndicate members introduced in this episode are nearly all original characters, with the exception of Owlman. The name of the group is actually a combination of two villain teams who have fought the Justice League over the years, the Crime Syndicate of Earth-3, who are the alternate reality evil doppelgangers of the Justice League, and the Injustice Gang, who are usually a team comprised of villains who are gathered to fight the Justice League.

This is the series first of only two part episodes. Similar to Batman: The Animated Series, Brave and the Bold is a mostly episodic series, where while there is character development and backstory built up over the series, it can mostly be watched in any order, as opposed to later DCAU series like Justice League, which was much closer to a serialized narrative.

As with the beginning of the series, the teaser is tied directly to the main story, but is even more tied in to the main story, being less of a stand alone vignette and more a prologue to the main action.

Many of the most famous elements of Batman's mythos appear rarely in the course of Brave and the Bold. As mentioned earlier,Batman rarely appears without his mask. And while the Batmobile and Batarangs have appeared often, this is the first appearance of both the Bat Signal and the Batcave.

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