DCAU #38: Tyger, Tyger

IN THIS ONE... Catwoman gets turned into a werecat in an Island of Dr. Moreau tribute.

CREDITS: Written by Cherie Wilkerson (had previously written for the brief 1988 Superman cartoon), Michael Reaves and Randy Rogel; directed by Frank Paur.

REVIEW: I'm game for a Dr. Moreau tribute, but turning Catwoman into a literal cat woman really isn't the best use of the character, even if Adrienne Barbeau does have experience playing against a monstrous lover (Swamp Thing). Nor are the animal designs that great, frankly. Something about Tygrus isn't QUITE feline enough, and both he and Selina look like they're wearing furry bathing suits to stymie the censors. Fights against the animal men are largely the same as well, though the bridge scene adds a bit more excitement. (I do wonder how a tropical island can exist so close to Gotham, but perhaps it's ALL genetically modified - felines do seem to occupy every ecological niche, so why not mutant plants as well?)

But the climax is a thing of beauty. Tygrus turning against his father and throwing his gun out the window. Everything going up in flames. The force of the explosions. And Tygrus' last look back, a creature that doesn't fit in any world, a Gothic portrait of loneliness and alienation. Great stuff. (Oh, and nice to hear some Blake, even if it's a bit of a cliché.)

Obviously, Catwoman was never going to agree to mate with a genetically engineered were-cat. Not without that last injection anyway. Even if she were "into it", she still has obvious feelings for Batman. I do like that Bruce is finding reasons to have dinner with her (animal charities indeed), trying to pull a Clark Kent, I think, in getting Selina to fall for HIM and not the mask. Kirk Langstrom manages a short appearance, just an info-dump, but a good use of continuity. Emile Dorian is a good villain, I think, completely nonplussed by Batman. He's got real style. Too bad the Batman universe has so many mad scientists, because I sure like him better than Professors Milo and Hugo Strange.

IN THE COMICS: Dr. Dorian, Tygrus and Garth are all unique to the animated series.

SOUNDS LIKE: It's amusing that Jim Cummings (Tygrus) is also the voice of Tigger in Winnie the Pooh (and Winnie's too, for that matter). He also plays Garth and the zoo's security guard as well. Dr. Doran is played by  Joseph Maher who had a large body of theater, film and television work; for this audience, I'll mention his bit as the White House decorator in Mars Attacks.

- The strong finale doesn't quite make up for the wasted use of Selina Kyle and the rather dull opening acts.


LiamKav said...

Catwoman isn't averaging very well so far, is she? I'm more familiar with the post Darwin Cooke version, so I dunno if she was very different in the 90s, or they can't quite get her sense of sexy fun right in a kids cartoon.

Oddly enough, she IS in two of the best episodes of the show (Perchance to Dream and Almost Got 'Im), but not as a main character.

Anyway, you're much kinder on this one that I am. I just find it a bit too boring and silly, I think the animal designs are stupid (for the reasons you said... They look like they're wearing swimsuits), I've never been a fan of "kidnap a woman to make BABIES!" story idea, and I dread to think of what this episode "inspired" on DeviantArt.

LiamKav said...

Also, since we later find out that Selena dyes her hair, she really should be a black cat-woman thing.

Siskoid said...

90s Catwoman was mostly marketed with giant breasts. I read the series early on, but it was so ordinary, I couldn't tell you anything about it, really.


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