DCAU #39: Moon of the Wolf

IN THIS ONE... Prof. Milo creates a werewolf

CREDITS: Written by Len Wein; directed by Dick Sebast.

REVIEW: We just HAD a manimal episode! (Well, okay, they didn't air back to back, this is just the production order, but same difference.) And animation by AKOM to boot?! Sigh. I'm bracing myself... Starts off pretty rough, as expected, with juddering animation and terribly misspelled words onscreen (can't those shots be done in-house? geez!), but you know what? Not that bad moving forward. Great lighting (and lightning!) effects, and smoother action, including various sports, a chain fight, and a wrecking ball sequence. The music though... I didn't like strident, generic "rock" guitar when they put it under Lobo in the Superman show, and I don't like it here the first time they do it.

I'm not sure super-chemist Prof. Milo is really pulling his own weight on this show. Basically a henchman in his first appearance, here he's in control, but his plans are confused. The bit with the corrupt zookeeper (who looks JUST like the zookeeper in the previous episode, but no relation) and the timber wolves doesn't really connect very well, and Milo's contention that it's easier to cure Tony if he's a full werewolf than if he's only halfway through the transformation is nonsense. Tony Romulus (a name that could be worse, see In the Comics) eventually turns on him anyway, so the wolf is the real villain after all. But really? The old "we'll see him again" shot at the end? I don't think it's necessary, not when we have at least two other "weres" on the show already, both of which are more interesting (yes, even Tygor).

But I do enjoy Bullock's role on this. In one sequence, he roughs up the zookeeper, a real intimidating presence that's even a little shocking for a cop in a family show. In another, he lets Batman handle things, showing an appreciation that speaks to how far their relationship has progressed.

IN THE COMICS: The episode is based on the comics story "Moon of the Wolf" (Batman #255, 1974), also by Len Wein (and Neal Adams). In that story, the werewolf is called Anthony Lupus instead of Romulus (far more on the nose!), but his origin and connection to Prof. Milo is much the same. He and Bruce Wayne also share a gym, Batman also gets gassed while waiting for a check, and the whole thing also ends on a crane during an electrical storm. Wein even reuses a lot of the same dialog.

SOUNDS LIKE: Harry Hamlin, who just appeared as Keiser in Joker's Wild, voices Romulus. John Hamner, the zookeeper, is played by Peter Scolari (Bosom Buddies, Newhart, Girls).

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - Sure, it's got better animation than AKOM's usual, but the story feels completely forgettable, especially when we just had the Island of Dr. Moreau and are about to get a Man-Bat episode.


Andrew Gilbertson said...

Agreed. I'll see your 'forgettable' and raise you a 'downright bizarre.'


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