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Plague of the Prototypes!
Original Airdate - November 5th, 2010
When Batman is on call, Gotham is kept safe by his squad of trusty Bat-Robots, but when Black Mask reprograms the unstoppable soldiers to do his bidding, Batman must blow the dust off "Proto," his bumbling (but good-hearted) beta-test robot to help him stop the villain.

Written by Dean Stephan
Directed by Michael Goguen
Review by Andrew
Media by Warner Bros. Animation
Diedrich Bader as Batman/Gorilla Boss
John DiMaggio as Black Mask / Tattoo
Fred Tatasciore as Sgt. Rock / Bat Bots
James Arnold Taylor as Green Arrow / GI Robot
Adam West as Proto

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

Video Clip

Strangely going back to the days of WW2, this teaser involves Batman - in present day garb - serving alongside the military during what seems to be D-Day. It doesnít really make much sense considering ďThe Golden Age of JusticeĒ pretty much told us that Batman was too young for that, so this would require further time-travel shenanigans. However, given that we just recently had an episode in which Batman scorned Booster Gold for not understanding how time travel works. While he may be more responsible about it, it doesnít seem in the timelineís best interest for him to insert himself into an historical military event. However, with that nitpicking over, it was a mostly enjoyable opening and introduces us to the obscure military heroes of DC lore Sergeant Rock and GI Robot. Unfortunately, GI Robotís introduction is cut short as he nearly immediately has to sacrifice his life in order to dive on a landmine. I understand the emotional impact they were attempting to go for, but it doesnít really hold up considering Red Tornado has been destroyed 3-4 times in the show already. We know sentient robots can be rebuilt, soÖ bit of a missed intention there.

The main story for the episode is generally okay, but continues with ill-thought out plot points and generally just comes off as lazy. Thereís no reason given as to why Batman and Green Arrow are going after aliens, or even why they flee upon being released from their meteorite disguises. Itís a minor part of the episode, but still, what in the heck is going on? The lack of explanation continues on as it gets into the main plot which deals with Batman all of a sudden having a legion of robots at his command. Although itís not unheard of for heroes to make robotic protectors for their occasional vacations, it really comes way out of left field given that Batgirl and/or Nightwing could easily handle Gotham. Not to mention there have been occasions already shown that have involved Batman leaving Gotham without any requisite robotic force. The real issue I have with this, though, is what is the point of Batman if he has a robotic army to defend Gotham City?

Apparently theyíre the second in his fooling around with robotic substitutes, his first being the hulking yet immature robot named Proto, voiced by the legendary Adam West. Although this isnít quite as bad as the unexpected robotic horde heís constructed, it begs the question as to what Red Tornado feels about his creating sentient robotic life? It didnít exactly go well in ďHail of the Tornado Tyrant,Ē which also featured the protest of Batman in Red Tornadoís efforts. Despite that slap in the face to continuity, Proto is the better part of the entire episode with obvious influence from the animated classic The Iron Giant, but without ever coming across as though itís an attempt to rip it off. The teaser oddly ties in here a bit, with Proto eventually sacrificing himself, but not really. It seems as though the strange twist to the teaser with GI Robotís sacrifice was supposed to build up to Protoís sacrifice and potentially make us more emotionally invested in it. Not exactly the best way to go about that since GI Robotís scene fell flat.

Overall, as much as Iíve griped about the episode it wasnít a bad one. It was actually pretty entertaining, especially with the inclusion of Black Mask as the villain and his henchmen, the False Face Society. It could have been better had the episode not contained such ridiculous continuity errors that had no reason to be there, but in the end I have to say donít pass this one up.

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