Thursday, June 18, 2009

Duel of the Double Crossers

Batman: The Brave and the Bold
"Duel of the Double Crossers"

"Now, I always took you for a civilized fella, 'cept for that goofy getup you parade around in." -- Jonah Hex

This episode starts out with Batman and the Outsiders teaming up to fight one DC's biggest baddies, Despero. Batman is directing the Outsiders on how to handle the situation, but they're still having a bit of a problem, especially when it comes to keeping collateral damage at a minimal. Batman then instructs them on strategy and teamwork. Black Lightning blasts Despero into a bridge, then Katana strikes it down with her sword and it collapses. Though, just after Black Lightning exclaims on how that was too easy, we really see how much of a mess they made of the city. They don't have to worry about cleaning it up since we soon see that it was actually all holographic images. Batman makes them repeat the training until they get it right.

After the title sequence and that jazzy intro theme, we see Jonah Hex (voiced by Phil Morris, Martian Manhunter from Smallville) riding in the desert and into some sort of alien saloon. He sits down at a table and soon gets into a brawl with a red, one-eyed alien named Arges, whose name is on Jonah's bounty list. At first, Jonah is outmatched, but soon uses his iron horse as a decoy to punch out Arges and then transports himself, horse and Arges to Warworld. As Arges is being taken away, we are introduced to Mongul (voiced by Gary Anthony Williams, Uncle Ruckus from The Boondocks) where we learn that he is using Jonah as a bounty hunter to capture warriors for his arena. Mongul gives Jonah immense praise, but Jonah spites it since he's doing Mongul's work so he can be sent back home to his own time. Mongul agrees to send Jonah home after one more job: to capture Batman.

Cut to Batman fighting Zebra-Man. With a quick punch to the face from Batman, Zebra-Man flies into a building and is knocked out. Now, how Batman got so strong, I'll never know, and of course this is followed by the quip "Looks like you'll never change your stripes." (Diedrich Bader kills with these lines) Then Jonah shows up and explains his situation, though Batman states "Don't mistake my patience for compliance, Hex" and soon the two have at it. Batman tries to use his batarangs, but Jonah easily shoots them down. Then, they get into a sort of a shootout. Batman tries escaping using some kind of bat-jetpack, but Jonah has a laser lasso and takes Batman down.

Back on Warworld, Jonah turns in Batman to Mongul and His Yellowness is beyond impressed. When Jonah asks for his reward, Mongul refuses, saying that Jonah is too much of a great bounty hunter to just be let go. Just when Jonah is about to shoot Mongul, Mongal (Mongul's sister, and also voiced by Williams) shows up and stops him because she loves humiliating Mongul in the Warworld games. At this point we are also introduced to Mongal's Furies, Lashina and Stompa. Jonah is taunted by Lashina and he quietly steps down and walks away while Mongal is pleased with the capture of Batman, she questions how he would fare against her champion, Steppenwolf. So, of course, Batman is teamed up with three other aliens that Jonah had captured (one of them being Arges) and he tries to tell them that there is strength in numbers and strategy is the key (a reflection of the intro to the episode with the Outsiders). However, his "comrades" don't feel as optimistic about that idea. Then, we are introduced to Steppenwolf (voiced my Kevin Michael Richardson, the Joker from The Batman) and he starts fighting Batman and the captured aliens, and is quite brutal. What else would you expect from Darkseid's uncle?

Cut to Mongal, trying to woo Jonah into working for her. He is weary about dealing with her, but can't resist an offer to take him back to his own time. Back to the arena, Steppenwolf is still beating Batman and his fellow fighters. Steppenwolf taunts his challengers, but then Batman uses a bolo on Steppenwolf and he signals Arges to fire his optic blast until...Arges runs away. Assistance in an alien battle arena is so hard to find these days, apparently. Steppenwolf laughs off Batman and his faith in his fellow competitors, but then Jonah shows up and they team up against Steppenwolf. Jonah shoots Steppenwolf's axe out of his hand and keeps firing (even breaks Steppenwolf's force shield), but is uppercutted a few dozen feet in the air and into a pole. As Steppenwolf boasts, Batman comes back with enhanced brass knuckles and the two get into a fist fight. It goes back and forth for a while until Batman gets the best of Steppenwolf. Batman and Hex make a break for it while Mongul reveals to his sister that he had known about her double-cross with trying to send Jonah away.

Meanwhile Batman and Jonah are still trying to escape to the time tunnel, but are stopped by Mongal and her Furies. Batman takes down Stompa while Lashina has called Jonah (with whom she also has some sort of infatuation) as her opponent. Then, Mongal shows up and then gets tied and dragged to Jonah's iron horse. The two heroes find the containment center with all the bounty Jonah has captured and not surprisingly him and Batman aren't too popular. Jonah wants to set the prisoners free and explains that he's going after to Mongul for what he's done. Surprise, surprise -- Mongul finally appears and easily outmatches the two. Being quick, Batman sets the prisoners free to actually turn on Mongul, but having set the prisoners free, Jonah can't get back to his own time since it fried the time tunnel's circuits. Jonah approaches Batman with another time-traveling device and gives it to Batman so he can go back to his own time. Lashina then shows up and her and Hex ride off together.

Now this episode was interesting on a couple of notes. One being that there wasn't a whole lot of humor in it. Sure, there were a fewer zingers and quips, but it had some strong action scenes. Then again, Warworld and any of Darkseid's kin aren't really a laughing matter. Don't get me wrong, I liked the action and it was truly fast-paced... I guess I was just surprised by this. This is the second episode in a row that's been really deep emotionally and action-oriented, maybe they are going in a different direction for a time. Last week's episode of the Tornado Tyrant was extremely moving for this show. I thought the sexual tension between Lashina and Hex was okay, but almost out of character for her since she's always been a Lil Miss Bad Ass. The voice acting was superb, especially with Williams being both brother and sister, and I hardly recognized Phil Morris at all.

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