DCAU #23: The Clock King

IN THIS ONE... The Clock King makes his first appearance, trying to get Mayor Hill out of office.

CREDITS: Written by David Wise (one of the driving forces behind the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon); directed by Kevin Altieri.

REVIEW: Though he has nothing to do with the comics' Clock King (and that may be to his advantage), the horribly named Temple Fugate has a great origin. A perfectionist efficiency expert is told by a city councilman one day that he should relax and stray from his almost OCD-motivated schedule, and when he does, it destroys his life. His life is derailed, an image from the trains we see him use throughout. He cracks. Madness. And 7 years later, he returns to strike at the councilman who is now Mayor. And since Mayor Hill is a jerk who's on record hating the Batman, we're kind of on his side. If he didn't use explosives (time bombs, don'tcha know?) and present a danger to public safety, I'd be inclined to let him fsociety the hell of Hamilton Hill.

They've created a good villain here, one that has the kind of psychosis all the best Batman villains do, and whose impeccable timing gives him a believable advantage even in hand-to-hand combat with Batman. The minimalist costume (the glasses with the watch motif are pretty subtle) and the camp voice evoke Batman '66 rogues, and while there WAS a Clock King on the TV series, he also looked very different. Still, I wouldn't be surprised if he inspired Fugate more than the mainstream continuity version (see below).

Unfortunately, the story is rather slim - they've given too much over to his origin perhaps, but it's the best part - and the set pieces are uneven. The traffic jam is lackluster, the bank trap is a puzzle that takes up too much time, and the climax in the clock tower lacks a strong sense of geography that might make it more interesting. On the plus side, the subway derailment is fairly cool, and the trap the Mayor is put in is suspenseful. Fugate in general is fun to watch exploit is perfect inner clock, but the episode doesn't really have the same exact pacing. So I'm left wanting.

The original Clock King is William Tockman (only slightly less on the nose), a Green Arrow villain who wore the most ludicrous of costumes (created in 1960 by France Herron and Lee Elias). He was so bad, in fact, that he eventually made it into the incredibly silly Justice League Antarctica. Check out Arrow and the Flash for Tockman's live action appearances. A member of the Terror Titans was introduced much later (in 2008) who looked more like the BTAS character and had the power to see 4 seconds into the future. That Clock King was called "Tem", so it's likely writer Sean McKeever meant for him to the that exact character.

Alan Rachins plays the Clock King, AKA Douglas Brackman on L.A. Law, also Dharma's hippie father on Dharma & Greg.

A good new villain (I mean, they basically saved the name from ignominy), but some sequences aren't as dynamic as the concepts deserve.


Andrew Gilbertson said...

This guy always seemed a bit silly to me- I don't buy that his knowledge of timing translates to competency against Batman (I know all the right notes in my favorite songs, but that doesn't mean I can get my vocal cords to accurately produce them)- but the episode itself is fairly entertaining, I think.

Siskoid said...

It's his special power. I know a few people who legitimately have the power you claim to lack, for example.

I think they took a page from the (original) Calculator here, a character who hard-wired a hero's combat moves to his muscle memory with a computer (I think that's how it worked).

LiamKav said...

Small bit of trivia... The malfunctioning traffic lights in this episode show that weird quirk in Japanese produced animation where the green light is actually closer to blue. Especially the pedestrian signal. This is a weird quirk of language where the Japanese didn't really have a distinct word for blue until very recently, so the lights were always usually described as "aoi", which translates roughly to blue. However, they were actually green. The distinction has gotten better in recent years and digitally coloured stuff doesn't usually have this problem, but it's all over pre-millennia cartoons.

It's actually an international law for traffic lights to be shades of red, yellow and green. To get around this, in 1973 the Japanese government made their lights the bluest shade of green they could, to avoid changing the language whilst keeping things internationally legal.

(I think I got that all right. This has been Siskoid's blog of traffic lights.)

Siskoid said...

Haha! Very interesting!


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