hosted by popgeeks.com | DC Comics Solicitations October 2022 Shazam 2: Fury of the Gods teaser

The World's Finest Presents

MAIN CHARACTERS GUIDES MEDIA REVIEWS BACKSTAGE RELEASES DISCUSSION

REVIEWS


Episode #12 - The Rubberface of Comedy, Part 1
Original Airdate - April 30th, 2005

Joker wreaks havoc on all of Gotham with a new gizmo which can morph any object into rubber or putty, while the Chief of Police pressures his detectives to take down The Batman, once and for all.

Review by Jim Harvey
Media by Gareb
Credits
Supervising Producer Duane Capizzi
Supervising Producer Michael Goguen
Producer Linda M. Steiner, Jeff Matsuda
Associate Producer Kimberley A. Smith
Written by Greg Weisman
Directed by Sam Liu
Animation by Dong Yang Animation
Music by Thomas Chase Jones

Voices
Rino Romano as The Batman
Alastair Duncan as Alfred
Steve Harris as Detective Ethan Bennett
Ming-Na as Detective Ellen Yin
Kevin Michael Richardson as Joker
Jesse Corti as Chief Rojas

Video

Screen Grabs






Pans





Review

Note: This review contains spoilers for both Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 of the first season finale.

It’s amazing what twelve episodes can do for a series. It worked wonders for X-Men: Evolution and now its’ doing the same for The Batman. After an uneven first season of episodes, the show takes a giant leap forward in quality with its two part first season finale. While the first part is weaker than the conclusion, both parts add up to a vast improvement overall for the series.

Now, to review the first season finale, spoilers will be involved. There’s simply no way to discuss the second part of this episode without dropping a spoiler or two. And given that The Batman was actually brave enough to alter the status quo, it merits discussion.

Like the pilot, The Joker is the focal point for the opening half of the finale. On the rampage with his newly created substance-altering “Joker Putty,” the criminal is out to remake artifacts and landmarks in his image. With his new "putty" he's able to melt and alter the texture of any surface, to warp it in his own vision like silly putty. Both the police and The Batman are hot on his tail, with Chief Rosa demanding both the The Joker and The Batman be brought to justice like a common criminal.

During the excitement, The Batman decides to let best friend Officer Ethan Bennett in on the secret, to gain a new ally in his fight against Gotham’s underworld.

This eventually leads to a dramatic showdown between The Joker, in a showdown “fun house” no less, The Batman, and Officer Bennett and Officer Ellen Yin. During the struggle, Bennett inhales fumes from a broken canister of “Joker Putty,” instantly having an ill effect on the cop. In short, the Joker is captured, The Batman disappears, and Bennett is suspended for crediting Batman with The Joker’s capture, and failing to apprehend the Dark Knight.

Later that evening at Bennett’s apartment, we find him still feeling ill from gas inhalation earlier in the day. After receiving a phone call from Bruce Wayne, aka The Batman, to meet tomorrow to discuss some important matters, we see him stumble towards the bathroom. He peers in the mirror, looking sickly. He rubs his face and is shocked to discover…his skin begins to melt.

That nifty cliffhanger ends the first part. We pick up seconds after in part two, with Bennett falling apart. His skin is melting, transforming into a clay-like substance. He freaks out, and runs around begging for help. Given his new ghastly appearance, he’s turned away by everyone. Angry and alone, Bennett, now dubbed Clayface by onlookers, lashes out.

I don’t know how the show managed to jump in quality to suddenly, but I’m glad it did. The majority of the show’s first season was riddled with mediocrity and flat, one-dimensional characterization. Villains were terrible and the supporting staff barely serviceable. But almost all of that changes with this finale.

The Joker is still loud, abrasive and over-the-top and for those who don't like this spin, he’s pretty much gone at the end of part one, save for a quick cameo in the second.

The remaining supporting cast featured in the episode is greatly improved upon. Alfred is also handled much better in this episode and actually encourages The Batman instead of ridiculing his night time activities. Both Officer Yin and Bennett are given more material to work with, and actually rise above their clichéd cop stereotypes. Even Bruce Wayne shows more depth. Writer Greg Weisman makes up for “The Big Chill” with his character work here.

As usual, the animation is top notch. Characters move with fluidity and grace, and action sequences are fast and solid. This cartoon excelled early on with great animation, and that continues with these finale episodes. Having the animation actually paired with good writing really bumps up the quality. Surprisingly, and this is not a complaint, the initial fight between The Batman and Clayface isn’t as well animated or executed as the similar tussle in Batman: The Animated Series’ “Feat of Clay, Part 2.” It lacks the ferocity of Ron Perlman’s amazing vocal work on the character.

Still, The Batman does add a few nice touches. When Bennett initially becomes Clayface, his speech is garbled and barely understandable. We see him figure out how to adapt his lung work to compensate. We see him struggle to understand his new body, resulting in some fascinating animation and some interesting defensive measures.

Still, this finale does suffer from a few problems. The cause of Bennett’s new morphing abilities is weak and almost illogical. Early on, the Joker says he unsure the effects the putty would have on people, and then he uses his fingers (ungloved at the tip of each) to do some painting. Now, seeing as how Bennett only inhaled the fumes of the putty, shouldn’t touching the stuff have far worse effect? And how did The Joker concoct this brew in the first place?

Secondly, despite using a bit of detective work, both The Batman and Officer Yin come discover Clayface’s identity way to easy. It’s almost comes out of left field, and is more guess work than actual fact.

The show still has a few shortcomings, but the finale easily tops the every episode that came before it. Amazing animation, better defined characters, and improved writing show this actually have some life in it. If season two continues the trends from the first season finale, The Batman may actually be worthy of the cape and cowl.

 

DC Comics on popgeeks.com