DCAU #33: Cat Scratch Fever

IN THIS ONE... Looking for her cat, Catwoman stumbles on a Big Pharma plot to infect Gotham with super-rabies.

CREDITS: Written by Buzz Dixon (G.I. Joe's story editor) and Sean Catherine Derek; directed by Boyd Kirkland.

REVIEW: Was not expecting to see Catwoman's trial, so that's nice. As is the idea that, to people, she would be a folk hero, an animal rights activist who also saved the city from a genetically engineered plague. Her sentence is only probation, but she must agree not to put the costume on ever again. As she looks for her escaped cat Isis and gets embroiled in yet another of Roland Daggett's plague schemes (this time with a just-introduced minor foe from the comics, Prof. Milo), there's a sense that the judge chose the wrong language at the sentencing. Selina Kyle is a badass regardless of whether she wears a cat suit or not, but she eventually does break "curfew" and puts it on. Cats just don't listen.

It's an okay story, perhaps far too reminiscent of Selina's first appearance, but the episode's wintry feel does provide a nice backdrop. In a sense, it helps the story's metaphors along. Isis is "out in the cold", and so is Catwoman. Though Bruce Wayne and Batman both try to help her, there's also an icy chill coming from them/him. He can't quite reconcile his love for a law-breaker. And in another sense, it's a good excuse for ice action, with Batman falling into a frozen lake and taking down criminals up on the surface. Jessy and Paunch aren't a bad double act, with the nastier goon a woman. It's at least interesting. But I don't like to see even cartoon animals suffer, and that's the case with Isis being experimented on.

Regardless, this is one of the worst animated episodes yet (yes, Akom). Characters pull strange faces and even weirder gesticulations. The action is at times juddery, and most times lackluster. The faces are sketchier than usual. And why does everyone have giant hands? There ARE some nice touches, like everyone's breath becoming visible in the cold, and the ice pond stuff is surprisingly effective, but I may being kind.

IN THE COMICS: Prof. Milo is a criminal chemist who first appeared in Detective Comics #247 (1957) who is much more interesting as the main villain of a story, whether he's making Batman lose the will to live, taking control of Arkham with a special gas, or...well, I'll wait for his next appearance to mention his other well-known scheme.

SOUNDS LIKE: Milo is played by Treat Williams, who I will always know as the guy from Hair. The Judge's voice is recognizable because Virginia Capers has been in so many things, even though she was mainly a Broadway star. Jessy is voiced by Denny Dillon (Saturday Night Live, Dream On). Paunch doesn't speak.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - A pretty good Catwoman story, with well pitched emotions, but rather badly animated.


Anonymous said...

This may come as a surprise: I'm pretty sure that, in the theatrical productions of "Hair", there was no thing where Berger took Bukowski's place and died in Vietnam; 'twas Bukowski who went off to Vietnam exactly as he had planned to. The switcheroo was just for the movie.

Now tell me this scene from "Hair" isn't pretty much the same as this scene from "Punisher: War Zone":



Toby'c said...

"Milo is played by Treat Williams, who I will always know as the guy from Hair."
Not The Phantom?

Siskoid said...

Billy Zane denier!

Green Luthor said...

Treat Williams played the villain to Billy Zane's Stripey-Butt.

Unknown said...

One other thing about Jessy and Paunch... building off of Milo's haircut, you've got a fair approximation of Messrs. Howard, Fine, and Howard. (N'yuk, n'yuk.)

LiamKav said...

Regarding AKOM, apparently this was the episode that got them fired.

Bruce Timm: ""We retook that show considerably just to make it watchable. It was a mess, we had AKOM reanimate that one from scratch. That was the show that broke our back with AKOM and we decided we weren't going to use them any longer. After we fired them, they still had a couple of shows in production and those shows were a lot better. I guess they had never been fired from a series before."

LiamKav said...

Oh, and add Milo to the every growing "evil doctors" list. At least this one doesn't seem to have come from a medical field.

Selina's outfit when she's looking for Isis just appears to be the bottom part of her Catwoman outfit with a jumper and coat on top. I don't know if that's intentional (to show that's she's already thinking she might have to break her "curfew") or just slightly lazy design work.

Siskoid said...

I'm going to guess intentional.


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