DCAU #26: Dreams in Darkness

IN THIS ONE... The Scarecrow's fear gas sends Batman to Arkham after the vigilante starts hallucinating.

CREDITS: Written by Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens (I've read several of their Star Trek novels, but they also worked in TV, most notably on Phantom 2040 and Primeval: New World); directed by Dick Sebast.

REVIEW: If at first you don't succeed..? The Scarecrow has been the main villain of as many episodes as the Joker in the first half of the season, but we won't see him in that role again in BTAS. In Dreams of Darkness, I think they finally made it work. In fact, they used this scheme in Batman Begins. We don't see a whole lot of the Scarecrow, but it's his fear gas and the hallucinations they create that are the real visual meat of his episodes, so we don't need to. They even try to hide his involvement in the first act, letting us wonder just what pushed Batman over the edge. Well, ANOTHER edge, shall we say. Arkham's psychiatrists might be interested in "helping" him regardless for his mask fixation (psychobabble saves his secret identity, delightful!) and somewhat lunatic drive to dress as a bat and fight equally outlandish villains and their cybernetic henchmen (Torchy the Swiss Army Man - ha! - seems out of place in all this).

So the Scarecrow may be endangering Gotham, all we really care about is Batman not going permanently mad. Our interest lies in his escape from Arkham, his confrontation with distorted versions of his friends and foes, and ultimately getting to a treatment in time. The very best of the hallucinations concerns a giant gun, dripping sewage/blood, rising out from the city's underbelly and firing. Because of standards and practices, I'm guessing, the animated show isn't actually ABLE to show the Waynes' murders, but this impressive symbol for it it is more clever and interesting. In general, the animation is more than able to meet the script's requirements, with grotesque images like Two-Face's head busting out of the Penguin's and Poison Ivy growing tendril arms, as well as dynamic car crashes and an expressionistic atmosphere. The episode shows flashlights throwing flares, and Batman bathed in hellish red light as the Scarecrow's plans explode. Quite effective.

IN THE COMICS: The first story arc in Batman: Shadow of the Bat (1992) had Batman check himself into Arkham to investigate some murders there only to be imprisoned as a madman by the head psychiatrist. Dr. Bartholomew may be a reference to Dr. Bartholomew Wolper, who treated the Joker and Two-Face in Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns. Bartholomew mentions the Joker's real name as Jack Napier, an invention of the Tim Burton film, not of the comics.

SOUNDS LIKE: Richard Dysart (L.A. Law, The Thing) plays Dr. Bartholomew. Takayo Fischer (Mistress Ching in the Pirates franchise) is Dr. Wu. And Loren (Robin) Lester actually does the Joker's laugh in this episode, not Mark Hammill!

- The Scarecrow episode we should have gotten right off the bat.


LiamKav said...

The Scarecrow's mask has actually been redesigned again for this episode, although it's a much smaller change. His voice is different too. Same actor, but a much quieter delivery that I think really works.

I love this episode. You have said that you are curious to see the Wayne murders, but a combination of BS&P and the producers desire not to tell the origin again have stopped that (which is impressive, especially compared to the constant retellings of Spider-Man's origin we've had in the cinema over the past decade). The hallucination in this episode though is a great consolation. The giant gun, dripping blood, shows us Batman's fears far more effectively than Scarecrows first episode. And the sequence with all his rogues is great, especially the Clayface animation on Ivy and the way all their musical themes mix together.

The Jack Napier thing gets retconned later. By the time of TNBA his real name is "unknown", as it should be.


Blog Archive


5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zine