Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Great Batman: Brave and the Bold Rewatch: Night of the Huntress!

Season One, Episode Sixteen: Night of the Huntress!
Written by Adam Beechen
Directed by Ben Jones

Plot Synopsis

Teaser: Solomon Grundy, the zombie mobster, menaces a scientist, whose brain he has decided to take to heighten his intellect. As Grundy's men prepare to remove the brain, Batman and Black Canary arrive to stop them, which they do with some cunning, some fists, and a handily applied Canary Cry.

Episode: Jaime Reyes, Blue Beetle, and his best friend Paco, are looking at college in Gotham City. While Jaime is excited to be going to school in a city with Batman, Paco is more excited about the lady supervillains of the city, commenting on how he likes and girls, and they agree on one super heroine: Huntress. As they say it, the professor giving them their tour arrives: Helene Bertinelli, who is secretly Huntress.

At Blackgate Prison, a veiled woman arrives with a huge baby carriage to "visit her husband." After getting through security, it's revealed she is Mrs, Manface, who had stubble and a manly face, and the "baby" is her husband, the mobster Babyface, who has a baby's head. They are their to release their imprisoned gang: Skeleton Keys, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, Polecat Perkins, and Hammertoes. We also see that Babyface is defensive of Mrs. Manface. But before they can escape. Batman arrives to stop them.

Back at Gotham U, the prison break is on the news, so Huntress and Blue Beetle make excuses and slip off to change into their costumes to head to the prison. Batman is fighting the gang, and while he was fairing well, eventually he simply can't fight the numbers and is about to be shot by Mrs. Manface when Huntress arrives, briefly flirting with Batman. And while this gives Batman the upperhand for a moment, soon enough he is at the mercy of the gang again when Blue Beetle arrives.

Babyface decides to make a break for it with his gang now that there are three heroes, but not before springing a bunch of villains to distract the heroes. They dogpile on Batman, but Huntress and Beetle help get them away from Batman and defeat them. With the villains defeated, Beetle really notices Huntress for the first time, and is instantly smitten, but Huntress isn't interested. She heads off to investigate what Babyface was up to, with Batman following her. She continues to flirt, with Batman having as much interest in her as she has in Beetle.

Arriving at the home of the Calculator, Huntress begins interrogating him to find out what Babyface is up to, but he won't reveal it. Batman begins hacking Calculator's computer while Huntress tries to beat the info out of Calculator, and Batman does his best to avoid Beetle's questions about girls. Batman's advice on girls is similar to hacking, and he and Huntress find out that at the same time that Babyface is going to break into Warehouse X.

Babyface and his gang are already into the warehouse by the time the heroes arrive, having broken in and taken the impounded weapons of other supervillains; Bbayface and his hole gang are now in mech armor and personal flying saucers. Huntress disregards Batman's attempt to come up with a plan, jumping right in, and Batman has to save the smitten Beetle from being taken out while distracted. But Beetle continues to be distracted by Huntress, and even though he saves her, he is too distracted and Babyface blasts him, and does the same to Batman and Huntress as they leap to Beetle's rescue.

Batman awakens imprisoned in a giant hourglass, which Babyface flips over as he and his gang head out. Beetle and Huntress bicker before Batman gets them focus. He uses a combination of one of Huntress's crossbow bolts and an acid pellet from his belt as well as help from Beetle to reach them to break out. Free, Batman deduces where Babyface is headed, "the center of everything evil in Gotham." The ganglords of Gotham are holding a summit in a warehouse in a particularly innocuous neighborhood, and as they begin their meeting, Babyface and his gang arrive, saying they're taking over.

As the mobsters fight Babyface and his goons, Batman, Huntress, and Beetle arrive and begin to protect civilians and try to take out the mob. Babyface grapples Batman in his mech suit, but Batman slips clear and transforms the Batmobile into a robot suit of his own, and the two begin to brawl. Beelte realizes its time to stop acting like he has, and he and Huntress are able to take out the rest of Babyface's gang. With Babyface on the ropes, Mrs. Manface tries to sucker punch Batman with her suit, but he defeats her, and Babyface again jumps to her defense, but Batman destroys his suit this time, leaving (disturbing image ahead) Babyface in nothing but a diaper, crying for his mommy.

With the crisis done, Huntress heads out, complimenting Beetle and telling him to call her in five years. Batman and Beetle walk off into the sunset, with Batman assuring Beetle she didn't mean it.

Who's Who

Huntress (Voiced by Tara Strong)
First Comic Book Appearance: Huntress #1 (April, 1989)
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode Sixteen- Night of the Huntress!

The last survivor of the Bertinelli crime family, Helena Bertinelli saw her entire family wiped out by a rival mob. She was sent to Italy, where she learned martial arts and mastered the crossbow before returning to Gotham to protect people from the Mafia. A vigilante without a code against killing, Huntress and Batman often butted heads, until time spent with Nightwing, and her defense of Gotham during the No Man's Land saga, convinced Batman there was more to her. Huntress would go in to train, and have a romantic affair, with the Question, and would later join Oracle's Birds of Prey, where she would be a regular member. Huntress is a skilled hand to hand combatant and one of the best shots with a crossbow in the DC Universe.

Blue Beetle  (Voiced by Will Friedle)
First Comic Book Appearance: Infinite Crisis #3 (February, 2006)
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode One- Rise of the Blue Beetle

Baby Face (Voiced by Tom Kenny) 

First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode Nine- Journey to the Center of the Bat!

Calculator (Voiced by Armin Shimmerman)
First Comic Book Appearance: Detective Comics #463 (September, 1976)
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode Sixteen- Night of the Huntress!

While the heroes of the DC Universe had Oracle to provide them with information and digital aid, the villains had Calculator, who worked for profit. Noah Kuttler started out his career as a costumed villain, who had a calculator themed costume similar to the one worn in this episode, before switching to a behind the scenes role around the time of the events of the DC Comics event series Identity Crisis. He would go on to become one of the inner circle of Alexander Luthor's Secret Society, and would stay on as one of it's leaders after the Society's defeat in Infinite Crisis, becoming a major nemesis to much of the DC Universe, especially to Oracle and the Birds of Prey. Calculator originally wore a costume that could create hard light constructs to fight heroes and commit crimes. Later, he used his exceptional mental acuity to plan crimes for other criminals and provide intelligence for them, at a steep cost. He suffered from intense Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Black Canary (Voiced by Grey Griffin)
First Comic Book Appearance: Flash Comics #86 (August, 1947)
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode Sixteen- Night of the Huntress!

The daughter of the original Black Canary, Dinah Laurel Lance took up her mother's superhero identity against her mother's wishes. Still, Dinah became an accomplished hero as one of the tentpole members of the Justice League, in some versions of continuity one of its founders, and would often fight crime alongside her on-again/off-again love interest, Green Arrow. Dinah would reach a whole new level when she joined forces with Oracle, Barbara Gordon, to create the Birds of Prey, a team comprised of mostly female heroes. Dinah and Oracle would become best friends, and would fight crime together across the globe. Black Canary. Black Canary is one of the best hand-to hand combatants in the DC Universe, able to hold her own against Lady Shiva, and her metahuman Canary Cry, a sonic scream, allows her to shatter glass, deafen opponents, and even do physical damage to objects and people.

Solomon Grundy  (Voiced by Diedrich Bader)
First Comic Book Appearance: All-American Comics #61 (October, 1944)
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode Sixteen- Night of the Huntress!

Solomon Grundy was Cyrus Gold, a miser who lived in Gotham City in the 19th Century, who was killed by a blackmailer in Gotham's Slaughter Swamp and sunk to the bottom, spending years being worked on by the magic and the plants in the swamp before being reborn in the 1930s as the undead Solomon Grundy. While originally a nemesis of the golden age Green Lantern, Alan Scott, Grundy would go on to fight many heroes, often Batman. It was revealed that Grundy has multiple personalities in his head, and each time he dies, a new one, often with a slightly different power level, takes over. Solomon Grundy is not technically alive, and this cannot be killed, and has incredible strength, although that varies depending on which version of his mind controls the body; usually the less smart the Grundy, the stronger he is. He also has a slight connection the The Green, the voice of the plant world, as he is a failed Plant Elemental, like Swamp Thing, although this bit of his origina comes and goes as needed.

Continuity, Comics Connections, and Notes

I have to admit, this is the first episode of the series that left me cold. I'm not in love with the fact that most of the female superheroes seem to default to flirting with Batman, something out of character for Huntress as she has been presented in most other instances. On the other hand, the Batmobile turns into a mechanized Bat armor, so that's pretty awesome.

As a note, the Who's Who origins above for both Huntress, Black Canary, and Solomon Grundy are the post-Crisis/Pre-Flashpoint origins of the characters, not the current ones. I decided to use these origins as they match the versions of the characters in their Brave and the Bold adaptation more closely than the current ones (not to mention, we don't know how much Rebirth might be rewriting those post-Flashpoint origins soon).

Most of Babyface's gang are original characters, created for the show, like Babyface himself. However, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum are established Batman villains, appearing occasionally over the years, often as henchmen for the Mad Hatter.

Another villain cameo is Weather Wizard, who is name checked in the Calculator scene. He'll get a normal Who's Who entry when he appears in full later in the series.

The villains that Babyface releases at Blackgate to distract Batman contain many villains from this series, as well as the classic Batman TV series, and includes Fun Haus, Sportsmaster, Black Manta, Clock King, Shark, Kiteman, Top, Felix Faust, Minstrel, Bookworm, Mad Hatter (the '66 version), Cavalier, Scarecrow, King Tut, False Face, and Dr, Polaris, And also, among the mobsters at the summit, you see another Batman series villain, Louie the Lilac.

The Huntress in this episode is the post-Crisis version of the character, but the original, pre-Crisis Huntress was, in fact, Helena Wayne, daughter of a retired Batman and Catwoman of Earth 2. That is the version of the character who appeared first post-Flashpoint, with the Bertinelli version appearing not as Huntress but as a member of the spy organization, Spyral. Helena Bertinelli will again take up the Huntress mantle in the upcoming Batgirl and the Bids of Prey series.

The Calculator in this episode bears a similarity to the comic book version in his occupation, but little else. He has a different name, Myron vs. Noah, and the comic book version is slender and handsome, versus the stereotypical obese nerd in his mother's basement from the episode.

Voice actress Tara Strong, who makes her Brave and the Bold debut this episode as Huntress (and who will return as other characters later on), has a long history of DC Comics animation voice acting, dating back to The New Batman Adventures, where she took up voicing Batgirl, a role she reprised in Beware the Batman. and has voiced Raven in all of the Teen Titans/Teen Titans Go! series. She also took up the role of Harley Quinn in the Arkham video game series starting with Arkham City. With a tremendous body of work that continues to today, she is still working as Harley in the DC Super Hero Girls series.

No comments: