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Evil Under the Sea!
Original Airdate - November 28th, 2008
Batman aids Aquaman as Ocean Master and Black Manta team up to assassinate him.

Written by Joseph Kur
Directed by Michael Chang
Animation by Dongwoo Animation Co., Ltd.
Review by Scott Lochmoeller/"Style"
Media provided by Warner Bros. Animation
Diedrich Bader as Batman
Dee Bradley Baker as Faust and Fluke
John DiMaggio as Aquaman
Wallace Langham as Orm and Ocean Master
Kevin Michael Richards as Black Manta

Theme Written and Performed by Andy Strumer
Music by Michael McCuisition, Lolita Ritmanis, Kristopher Carter

At this point in the series, one wonders how far the series can go being as rootless as it is. Consider that after the tease, this is the second episode in the row starting us with Batman patrolling the skies of the endless ocean. The series is so relocating to put him either in the Batcave or in a Watchtower, (or Hall of Justice,) it does make one wonder how Batman is organizing his time. How often is he flying that plane of his over the ocean?

This lack of roots for Batman is especially illustrated in this episode, as more so than most Aquaman is given a spotlight episode spotlighting his whole world. His home, his allies, and his enemies are all on display here. The moment he appears on screen, Aquaman dominates the action very nearly shoves Batman aside in his own series, which is a first for this show.

And may I say on that note I thoroughly enjoyed this version of Aquaman. Especially that much of his anger and distrust of the surface world, (as seen in the JLU iteration,) is dispensed with. Personally, that fear and distrust always seemed more like Marvel’s Prince Namor seeping into Aquaman anyway. Here, Aquaman, (with a design splitting the difference between his silver and modern age looks, being both be-shirted and be-bearded,) is a very happy and very broad old-school Superhero. Almost like the Tick if played straighter. But it works well. John DiMaggio lends his voice to the role, and he continues to impress me with his range. Yes, I’ll admit, I once considered him an actor with just two voices, (Drakken and Bender) but now he’s very innovative. In particular, he seems to have approached Aquaman by channeling John O’Hurley, (most famously to this generation as J. Peterman in Seinfeld) the writing and voice recalls O’Hurley’s niche for joyful, exuberant and heedlessly innocent self satisfaction that informs Aquaman. It’s easy to mentally “hear” Aquaman’s dialogue in O’Hurley’s voice, but stretch that mannerism across DiMaggio’s raspier chords produces a deeper effect, leaving Aquaman sincerely, joyfully heroic. And Aquaman remains a joy to watch as the episode expands with Aquaman’s telepathic and sometimes controversial “hard water” powers, along with hints at previous adventures. Mechanical Monsters? Undercover pirated missions? This episode begs us that to consider that Aquaman may be neater and full of more potential than we’ve given him credit for. I’d love for the series to feature him again.

It was nice to see Ocean Master and Black Manta make appearances, but there villainy was fairly typical. Aquaman himself was the real show here.

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