Trials of the Demon!
Original Airdate - March 20th, 2009
In 19th century London, Jason Blood - aka The Demon Etrigan - has been framed for supernatural attacks perpetrated by Gentleman Ghost.

This week’s teaser gives you a first look at the villainous Scream Queen and Scarecrow and introduces Jay Garrick aka The Flash.

Written by Todd Casey
Directed by Michael Chang
Animation by Dongwoo Animation
Review by Andrew
Media by Bird Boy
Cast
Deidrich Bader as Batman
Andy Milder as Jay Garrick (The Flash)
Dee Braldey Baker as Scarecrow / Jason Blood / Etrigan
Ian Buchanan as Sherlock Holmes
Jane Alan as Woman
Jim Piddock as Dr. Watson
Tony Todd as Asteroth
Greg Ellis as Gentleman Ghost

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









Review
With the massive disappointment brought on by “Mystery in Space!” I was a bit worried about this episode, but this is one of those times in which I love to be proven wrong. First off, it starts with Batman teaming up with a rarely featured version of the Flash; from the Golden Age. Teamed up with Batman, they go after a frightful duo with a new character referred to as Scream Queen and the infamous Batman foe, Scarecrow. This Scarecrow is something special, however, in that it is absolutely the best animated version of Scarecrow ever. Not only is his non-fear gas design like a vastly improved version of the B:TAS Scarecrow, but his nightmarish version is incredibly well done. On top of all that, he actually gets in on the action with the ever-classic weapon; a reaper.

As a bonus, the token henchmen are done very well too, not being mere thugs in skeleton masks but rather very well done skeleton costumes. In theory, this should have looked incredibly corny, but they pulled it off incredibly well. The plot involving Scarecrow is a bit cheesy, with him having simply planted fear gas bombs within Gotham’s pumpkin supply, but it doesn’t matter. The rest of the mini-story is done so well that it doesn’t come off as ridiculous as it should.

Moving on to the rest of the episode, we’re taken back to old-time London with a mysterious man offering a ride to a random woman…which he then leaves living, yet corpsified. I have to say, this episode falls under some of the gutsiest as this is only the beginning of the darkness they delve into. The woman is pointed out to be alive, but her appearance is an absolute fright. On the case to solve this mysterious killing spree is the illustrious Sherlock Holmes and his mostly ignored assistant Dr. Watson. Of course, what would a past-era murder mystery be if you didn’t have rabid locals? The paranoid villagers rally together to put Brave & the Bold re-visitor Jason Blood in the blame for these killings. Just before the villagers capture him, Blood manages to draw some magic gimmicks on the floor that Holmes manages to summon Batman with.

The meeting between Batman and Holmes is unfortunately over the top, and seems nothing but contrived. Still, it’s an interesting pairing. Batman, of course, leaps into action to save Blood and they figure out that someone is attempting to frame Jason Blood. This someone turns out to be “Gentleman” Jim Craddock, or the Gentleman non-Ghost. Blasting Bats with some magic gimmick, his cape does quite possibly the coolest thing it’s done throughout the whole series (so far); it transforms into a demon bat. This is not only interesting from an ooh-awe standpoint, but to fans’ delights it even leads Blood to repair Batman’s ripped costume by giving him a costume inspired from the Mike Mignola and Brian Augustyn Batman romp “Gotham by Gaslight.” And, the costume is replicated very, very well.

From this point on is where the episode begins to truly delve in darkness, as Craddock has been collecting souls for Asteroth in exchange for invincibility. He even manages to steal Holmes’ soul, leaving him corpsified - but alive - as well. By now, we’ve found out that this isn’t just any old-era adventure, but it’s the origin of Craddock’s existence as the Gentleman Ghost. Wonderfully done episode, and fascinatingly morbid - even if the corpsified people did get their souls back to live on. In the mind-blowing end of this episode, we even get a subtle reference that Craddock was actually executed for his crimes.

I have to say, the only problems I had with this entire episode was the ridiculous introduction of Batman to Sherlock Holmes, and Etrigan’s rhymes. I understand that the rhymes are supposed to be there, but they were some of the most poorly written ones I’ve ever heard. Still, they don’t even come close to overshadowing the greatness of the episode. Definitely belongs in the top greatest episodes of the show so far.

One quick note - as this episode ends with Craddock returning as the Gentleman Ghost and vowing vengeance against Batman, it ties in with the previous episode “Dawn of the Deadman!” by offering an explanation as to why Gentleman Ghost would leave Batman in a grave.

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