Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Great Batman: Brave and the Bold Rewatch: Last Bat on Earth!

Season One, Episode Twenty-Two: Last Bat on Earth!
Written by Steven Melching
Directed by Ben Jones

Plot Synopsis

Batman and Mr. Miracle are chained to a roller coaster car passing through a booby trap littered roller coaster. They progressively escape from such death traps as blades, hammers, and fire, all while undoing the chains that hold them. At the last minute, before they are about to crash into a spiked wall, they break free and land on stage; this has been a charity stunt to raise money for orphans, and Miracle's wife, Big Barda, and manager, Oberon, are waiting.

Episode: In a post-apocalyptic future, a tribe of tiger men in armor march to meet a similar army of gorillas. Watching from a distance is Kamandi, the last boy on Earth, and his friend and mentor, the dog-man Dr. Canus. They are waiting for the battle to begin so they can liberate the humans who both sides keep as slaves. The battle is joined, and the tiger king, Great Caesar,  urges his son, Tuftan, friend of Kamandi, into battle. The battle is brutal, and when Tuftan is lassoed, Kamandi jumps into battle to save his friend, and the two ride off on horseback together.

The tigers win the day, driving off the gorillas, but Caesar is disappointed that his son has abandoned him. Meanwhile, at the gorilla camp, the gorilla general is berating his soldiers, when a cloaked figure appears and says the loss is the general's fault. The figure removes his cowl and reveals his identity: Gorilla Grodd.

Back in the present, Batman finds himself in the lab of Professor Nichols, a scientist working on time travel. Batman finds Nichols tied up and gagged, and when Batman removes the gag, Nichols tells him that Grodd coerced Nichols into sending him to the future. Batman asks Nichols to send him after Grodd, and after receiving a beacon that will allow him to return, Batman goes after Grodd.

Back in the future, Grodd challenges the general to a battle to determine the leader of the gorillas and bests him, taking over the gorilla army. In the tiger encampment, we see tiger warriors gathering more human slaves as Kamandi and Tuftan attack. While they distract the guards, Canus tries to free the humans, but is captured in a net as is Kamandi, but before a tiger guard can smash Kamandi with a club, a batarang disarms him and Batman appears to aid Kamandi and his friends. Batman and Kamandi begin to defeat the tigers, but are forced to surrender when the guards threaten to kill the humans, Tuftan, and Canus unless they do.

In the city of the tigers, Batman, Kamandi, Canus, and Tuftan are imprisoned. Great Caesar comes down to tell them that Tuftan will be left imprisoned and the others will be executed. Batman tries to warn Caesar of the coming on Grodd, but Caesar scoffs until he hears the war chant of the gorillas: Grodd has arrived outside the citadel with his army. Grodd has come to the future with technology, including a power gauntlet for himself and other weapons, and after Caesar insults Grodd by calling him a monkey. Grodd has his soldiers fire a sonic cannon, which has an even stronger effect on the sensitive hearing of the cats. Grodd then has a huge ape named Tiny smash the tigers' gates and the gorillas attack.

In the jail, Batman uses acid to melt through the bars and escape with Kamandi and friends. Tuftan uses his knowledge of the city to lead them through the streets, but Grodd smells Batman and sends his soldiers after him, but Batman and company slip into the sewers and escape. Batman takes Kamandi and Canus to prepare his plan to stop Grodd, while he sends Tuftan on another mission.

Batman takes Kamandi and Canus to the Batcave, which has fallen into disrepair over the centuries, and is now populated by man-bats, who attack Batman for mocking them with his costume. Batman and Kamandi fight the man-bats, and when they defeat the leader, the man-bats leave. Batmanreveaks his plan, and begins preparing technology of his own to stand against Grodd's.

Grodd and his army march out of the city, only ot be met by an army of tigers, snakes, rats and other animals, led by Tuftan. Tuftan again goads Grodd by calling him a chimp, and Grodd unleashes the sonic cannon, but as Grodd orders the charge, Batman appears with the Batplane, which fires missles that destroy the sonic cannons, helping to level the playing field.

As the armies meet, Batman, Kamandi, and Canus escape the Batplane with an ejector seat, and the plane crashes into the mountain, raining rubble down on the gorillas. As they drift to the ground, the man-bats return, swearing allegiance to Batman, and joining the battle against the gorillas, stealing their clubs from them. The armies are warring when Grodd sends Tiny into combat. Kamandi takes some rope from Batman and goes to deal with Tiny while Batman goes to deal with Grodd.

Kamandi and Tuftan are able to die Tiny's feet together, and when he falls the assembled armies easily defeat him. Grodd is caught in the flight of his gorilla army, as they flee after their strongest member and their weapons are destroyed, leaving him for Batman to retrieve. With the battle over, Great Caesar thanks Batman and Kamandi, finding that humans are more than he thought, and after congratulating his son as well, he frees the human slaves. Kamandi says goodbye to Batman, who returns to his own time with Grodd, leaving Kamandi excited at the idea of maybe visiting Batman in his time someday.

Who's Who

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!

Gorilla Grodd (Voice by John DiMaggio)
First Comic Book Appearance: The Flash #106 (May, 1959)
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode Two- Terror on Dinosaur Island!

Mr. Miracle (Voiced by Yuri Lowenthal)
First Comic Book Appearance:  Mister Miracle #1 (April, 1971)
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode Twenty-Two- Last Bat on Earth!

One of the New Gods of New Genesis, Scott Free is the son of the leader of that world, Highfather. But as a part of the pact that brought about the cease fire between New Genesis and its opposite number, evil Apokolips, Scott was given over to Darkseid to raise as a hostage, while Darkseid's son was given to Highfather, Not surprisingly, Darkseid was not a loving father, and dumped Scott into one of his orphanages, to be raised at the not so tender mercies of Granny Goodness. But Scott never gave in, and eventually did what no one ever had: he escaped. He came to Earth, where he would take up the name of Mr. Miracle and be both a superhero and the world's greatest escape artist. He would be a member of the Justice League. He would make friends and marry Big Barda, another escapee from Apokolips. But above all else, he would be free. Mr. Miracle has many of the standard powers of a New God, including immortality and enhanced durability, but its his mind that is truly impressive. A master inventor, he builds his own traps to escape. He is the world's greatest escape artist, and emplyes otherworldly tech including the sentient computer Mother Box.

Big Barda (Voiced by Diane Delano)
First Comic Book Appearance:  Mister Miracle #4 (October, 1971)
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode Twenty-Two- Last Bat on Earth!

Big Barda was raised by Granny Goodness to be the leader of her Female Furies, the elite female warriors trained to, "Die for Darkseid." But a meeting with a young Scott Free changed all that, and after helping him and other rebels against the despotic ruler of Apokolips, Barda fled Apokolips for Earth. There she found Scott, and the two were married. Barda would travel with her husband, and would join the Justice League, both at his side and on her own. Barda is a powerful presence with a personality equal to her huge stature, but is at heart someone who loves life as much as she loves Scott. Barda is physically powerful, even by the standards of the New Gods, exceedingly strong and nearly indestructible.

Oberon (Voiced by Dee Bradley Baker)
First Comic Book Appearance:  Mister Miracle #1 (April, 1971)
First Brave and the Bold Appearance: Season One, Episode Twenty-Two- Last Bat on Earth!

Oberon was the manager and assistant to the original Mr. Miracle, the human escape artist Thaddeus Brown, and when Scott Free came to Earth and inherited the mantle, Oberon stayed with him in those capacities, but also as friend and mentor here on Earth. Oberon is most often seen with Scott, although he did spend some time with Maxwell Lord as his assistant when Lord was leading the Justice League, but returned to working with Scott when that incarnation of the League folded. Oberon is a normal human, although he has an excellent knowledge of business and escapology.

Continuity, Comics Connections, and Notes

The creations of Jack Kirby, the King of Comics, feature heavily in this episode. Both Mr. Miracle and his supporting cast, and the world of Kamandi are Kirby creations. Last episode also featured Kirby creations, in that case Steppenwolf and members of the Female Furies. And next episode also guest stars Kirby creations, but we'll get to that next week,

Professor Nichols, the scientist who sends Batman and Grodd into the future, was a Silver Age character, who would appear in those stories to use "time travel hypnosis" to send Batman and Robin through time. Grant Morrison would revisit the character, as he did with many Silver Age concepts, during his extended run on the Batman titles.

Tiny has some King Kong-inspired moments in this episode, and it would be easy to assume a giant ape is just a generic concept. But Tiny is a character right out of the Kamandi comics, specifically issue seven of Kamandi's original series. There he could talk, though, so that version has some advantages.

Yuri Lowenthal makes his Brave and the Bold debut in this episode, voicing Mr. Miracle, but as another voice actor with a long list of credits, this is far from his only DC animated credit. He voiced Lagoon Boy and Icicle Jr. in Young Justice, and has voiced Red Robin in the direct to video Batman Unlimited features.

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