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Hail the Tornado Tyrant!
Original Airdate - June 5th, 2009
Red Tornado attempts to create a being that will possess the one thing he lacks: human emotion. His experiment goes awry after an attack from Major Disaster and his "Tornado Champion" quickly turns to the dark side as "Tornado Tyrant" whose only goal is to destroy all humans!

Written by J.M. DeMatteis
Directed by Brandon Vietti
Animation by Moi Animation
Review by Andrew
Media by Warner Bros. Animation
Deidrich Bader as Batman
James Arnold Taylor as Disaster / Green Arrow
Corey Burton as Red Tornado
Carl Lumbly as Tornado Champion / Tornado Tyrant

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

Making it’s second appearance in the series, we’re treated to another viewing of the Golden Age Jokermobile as it speeds through Gotham in a pursuit with the Batmobile and the Arrowmobile following closely behind. As usual with a Batman/Green Arrow team-up, they exchange plenty of friendly banter about which one is the better hero. Fortunately, it’s not too annoying this time around as it’s handled in a far more subtle way - although they do need to further cut down on it in the future. The rest of the teaser is pretty fun as it shows off various quirky tricks that are up the Jokermobile’s sleeve - or tail-pipe, rather. They also managed to keep the focus of the CGI to a minimum, at least until they focus on the ridiculous transformation of the Batmobile into the Batwing, and Catwoman’s absolutely ugly CGI Catplane. Which really makes little sense for Catwoman to have in the first place…

The rest of the episode doesn’t fare very well. To be honest, it’s an interesting and deeply emotional idea as Red Tornado creates an offspring, but since Red Tornado hasn’t been seen since “Invasion of the Secret Santas!” (at least in good form), it’s very hard to find an actual interest in the episode. I hadn’t even been concerned with Red’s lack of appearances. Of course, as Batman had been requested to be present for the “birth” of Tornado’s son, Batman is quite obviously skeptical right off the bat that it will go as Red Tornado has planned - especially since Champion’s emotions did not work. The first part of the episode that really feels like it should have been developed slower is when Tornado Champion is immediately put into action against the weathered villain Major Disaster. After Disaster is defeated by a quick batarang to the head (um, ow), he manages to attack Tornado Champion with a zap of lightning which kick-starts Champion’s emotional capability.

Unfortunately, the episode takes a very slow step from that as it delves into a narrative romp with Red teaching Champions about humanity, which really would have been great if it weren’t for the robotic voices. In small doses, each of their voices is fine and sounds appropriate for the characters, but in a lengthy back & forth conversation their voices eventually become akin to nails on a chalkboard, and any sincere point is lost in the verbal agony. Quickly, though, things go south as Champion randomly spawns a superiority complex as he feels he is far better than the humans and demands their respect. Due to this, Tornado decides to shut him down thus cheapening any emotional attachment to their bond that one may have developed. The episode doesn’t end there, of course, as Batman’s previous skepticism predicted things wouldn’t go well; Champion manages to turn himself back on and proceeds to upgrade himself by tacking on various things as armor.

Eventually we see the final result which appears incredibly similar to Emperor Zurg from “Toy Story 2,” as the most obvious upgrades for an angry robot is a huge cape with larger shoulder pads. At this point, I was simply waiting for the episode to be over and I lost any real interest in Champion as any sort of character - and definitely didn’t feel the reasoning behind his symmetrical and over-the-top look. I think he really would have been more menacing looking had they gone with an asymmetrical appearance to show that were truly was an inner turmoil driving this, instead of a simple flip from hero to villain. Red Tornado goes on to engage him in a fight which was somewhat interesting, but we’ve already seen Tornado get blown to bits leaving only his head left, so at no point do you feel he might actually get permanently harmed. Overall, the story had potential and would have been good with proper development, but the rush of the Champion’s decline as well as Red’s long absence leaves the episode falling flat. I recommend seeing it at least once - mostly for the teaser - but no extra viewings would ever be necessary.

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