DCAU #186: You Scratch My Back

IN THIS ONE... Catwoman teams up with Nightwing, but who's playing who?

CREDITS: Written by Hilary J. Bader; directed by Butch Lukic (just graduated from storyboard artist to director, but has been with the DCAU since the first year).

REVIEW: We've seen Dick Grayson on the New Adventures, but not yet as Nightwing, an acrobatic hero, more "winged" than what we're used to, who having lived a long time in Batman's shadow, is rather territorial about his cases. The culmination of Dick's father/son arc, the Nightwing persona doesn't seem to want any help, rather the opposite of Bruce who has since built a team around himself. But that could change if Catwoman is true to her word and really does want to reform and team up (and romance the new kid on the block?). Eventually, we find out she was manipulating him, and further, that he and Batman were manipulating her. Since when? Unsure. But there are enough scenes where Nightwing proclaims his independence that she DOESN'T have access to that we can safely believe the sentiment is real even if Dick does end up working with his stern old man.

The level of action is very high in this one, each fight different and making use of its location in a clever way. The bit with the forklift, the motorcycle stunts, the bad guy's hook hand, the pool cleaner's net, the giant propeller... all are well used and give the episode a lot of oomph.

As for the Catwoman redesign, all I can say is that a black-haired Selina seems much more natural, but I keep wondering why her face is so pale when she's in costume. Does she have to apply make-up every time? It's an odd choice that doesn't seem to take her civilian identity into account. I like her scaring rats though. The characterization is fun, even if her anti-hero leanings have long been jettisoned.

IN THE COMICS: Catwoman's new look better reflects the comic book version of this era (1997). Nightwing's too (the ponytail). This is the first appearance of Dick Grayson AS Nightwing, but he's essentially the same character he is in the comics, complete with a relationship with Barbara Gordon in his past. Has the comic book Nightwing ever been able to "fly" as well as this one though?

SOUNDS LIKE: Enrique El Gancho is played by Sal Lopez, T.H.E. Rock in Full Metal Jacket.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - An action-packed introduction to Dick's new identity, with some nice twists on the old formulae.

26 comments:

American Hawkman said...

Nightwing certainly flew nicely in the Infinite Crisis Teen Titans issues, claiming his original suit could catch thermals in the right environment. I have no idea if that's an old concept or not.

Andrew Gilbertson said...

"As for the Catwoman redesign, all I can say is that a black-haired Selina seems much more natural, but I keep wondering why her face is so pale when she's in costume. Does she have to apply make-up every time?"

Yes! This! Exactly! I kind of assumed it was a Burton/Batman Returns tribute, but it is kind of... jarring, when it's revealed she still looks normal outside of the costume.

LiamKav said...

Nightwing's 90s comics redesign is one of my favourite costumes ever. It manages to echo the general "Bat" design whilst being its own thing, and all the changes (such as the lack of cape) make sense for the character. Plus, the fact that he gets a haircut at the same time is the icing on the cake.

TNBA version is sooooo close. They don't have the strips coming down the arm onto the fingers (which I love), but it's still very nice. And then... they keep the stupid mullet! I guess it's to differentiate himself from his BTAS look, but still... it's a mullet. It will never, ever not look ridiculous.

LiamKav said...

"I kind of assumed it was a Burton/Batman Returns tribute, but it is kind of... jarring"

The weird thing there is that her original blonde haired design was as a result of Batman Returns. Why would they change her civilian look to move away from that, only to change her costume to go more towards that?

Oh, for Darwyn Cooke to have redesigned her costume a few years earlier...

Brendoon said...

Grayson's identity theft of the Kandor city hero left me feeling indignant as a kiddie and the feeling has never left. Man, talk about carrying an unnecessary grudge...
I should become an arch nemesis or something.
Somehow I'm waiting for the real Nightwing to leave his bottle and take this young punk down to size, and I don't think it'll work out the same way as the Kryptonian vs Bat showdown in the recent film. (Extended cut is PERFECT by the way, just needs another hour. I reckon a tour 'round the batcave, a guide to the bat-food dispenser and Bruce spending 30 mins showing off some of the neat tricks built into the batmobile to impress some girl would fill out that extra hour with total bat heaven!). My first ever Superman comic (at the age of five) was a Kandor story which featured a lot of Nightwing and Flamebird... and a de-supered Clark. I guess that chose my allegiance. Didn't get where I am today by holding with modernity, Reggie!

LiamKav said...

Technically, that Nightwing had just stolen the identity off of Superman. Van-Zee didn't become Nightwing until 14 years later. And then Dick named himself Nightwing 7 years after that to intentionally honour both Batman and Superman.

By this point, in terms of how long they held the names:

Kal-El: 14 years (off and on)
Van-Zee: 7 years
Dick Grayson: 32 years

Complaining about Dick stealing the identity at this point is like complaining that one day Bart Hill is gonna come back and show that Matt Murdock who the real Daredevil is.

(I am kidding, BTW. I do however have a bit of an issue with overdone nostalgia for the past, as I think is causes issues raging from the Geoff Johns "let's reset everything to how it was when I was a kid reading comics because that was the best time for me" to countries doing stupid things like voting to leave the EU, but that's a much bigger rant.)

Anonymous said...

These days, the story is that Nightwing and Flamebird are beings from Kryptonian lore, where Flamebird is the force of destruction and Nightwing is the creative / building force that emerges afterwards.

Really, the problem is that "Nightwing" was too good a name to be wasted on a character who lives in a bottle.

Brendoon said...

>Really, the problem is that "Nightwing" was too good a name to be wasted on a character who >lives in a bottle.

That's it in one!
Liamkav, you're probably right about overdone nostalgia.
However I never read more than a couple of issues containing Nightwing so I never got a feel for him. In the more humorous DC shows he's portrayed a bit of a self important brat, which makes me not want to look him up.
However I'd suggest "technically" doesn't hold too much water since I first read the Kandor story in 1975 (the bottle had been enlarged into some sort of Alien zoo, wish I could remember the name of the story!). You know what people think of revisionism.

Nostalgia for the past usually comes not from it being "better and we should go back to it" but from "I stopped listening to the radio when rock got replaced with rap, and I never
got back to it when rock returned... I have NO IDEA what's happened in the last 20 years!"

Brendoon said...

>Bigger Rant
Golly, I HAVE to throw a bit of meat in there, and knowing we all think differently on so many things, this is only my own heart felt opinion:

As a lover of individualism, cultural freedom and being free to make the right decision without being forced to, I think the EU is the biggest suck since Russia absorbed all those countries they "rescued" in WW2. The EU scares me like if Darkseid became my school Principal.
I am a little bit glad the UK (or maybe just England and Wales, in the end?) left "big sister" to pursue their own diminutive destiny. However, living in New Zealand, a little country in the middle of the sea, no wonder I think like that. The UK used to be our Mum and protector, we're still fond of them. "Mmm. Momma!" as Johnny Bravo would say.

Brendoon said...

>issues raging from the Geoff Johns "let's reset everything to how it was when I was a kid reading comics because that was the best time for me"

Heck, you're right. That's a kind of er.. "right wing revisionism" instead of what ever the other kind was I made the snide comment about.
In reality each "child" is legitimate in its own way and there's gonna be a heck of a mess when they contest papa's will!
I guess they each have to exist in their own bubble, each a separate canon which isn't plausibly reconciled with the rest.

LiamKav said...

"As a lover of individualism, cultural freedom and being free to make the right decision without being forced to, I think the EU is the biggest suck since Russia absorbed all those countries they "rescued" in WW2."

We weren't lacking any of thise things before hand. The EU has flaws, but it's also partly responsible for the longest period of peace modern Europe has seen. The "Leave" campaign wasn't based on any of that. It was based on lies (We give £350 million to the EU that we will instead give to the NHS, a claim they admitted wasn't true the day after the vote), more lies (our country is overflowing with illegal immigrants who are simultaneously stealing all our jobs whilst not doing any work and claiming benifits), more lies (the UK has no veto on Turkey joining the EU, which it does), more lies (everyone will want to trade with us, despite us having destroyed out export industry apart from finance, which will be heavily crippled by us not being in the EU), and even more lies (we will have access to the single European market whilst not having freedom of movement, something that every EU member state has said cannot happen).

Meanwhile, the economy has collapsed, the pound is at its lowest point for decades, there has been a massive rise in racial crime, families have been torn apart as older generations and younger generations are not talking, British universities have had to withdraw from EU research projects, we've lost our Triple-A credit rating, there are 700,000 fewer job adverts than before the referendum, the UK is possibly going to split in half and the places that voted for Brexit are begging that they'll still be able to keep the EU money that they are sibsidised with. There's a massive fear that the peace situation in Northern Ireland could unravel (you can't have an open border between an EU and a non-EU country), and no answers as to how leaving a shared continent wide information network will possibly make us MORE secure against terrorist attacks.

And all this has been orchestrated by people like Boris Johnson who were only interested in furthering their own career, and media moguls like Rupert Murdoch who want as weak a government as possible. They have blustered, scared people, and outright lied for their own personal gain, and have been allowed to get away with it.

Last year, I thought the chance of Donald Trump ever being President was laughable. Now though, I am genuinly terrified. This is post-fact politics, where people are taught to look out for themselves, where they can be fed bull about how things will be fixed, and they will swallow it.

LiamKav said...

"However I'd suggest "technically" doesn't hold too much water since I first read the Kandor story in 1975 (the bottle had been enlarged into some sort of Alien zoo, wish I could remember the name of the story!). You know what people think of revisionism."

Revisionism has been part of comics since the beginning. Unless you insist that Batman should have a gun and that Kal-L works for the Daily Star. Besides, as I said, Superman was originally Nightwing back in 1963. I'd say Dick Grayson has as much right to the name as Van-Zee.

Brendoon said...

>I'd say Dick Grayson has as much right to the name as Van-Zee.

Completely true.
We all have slightly different perspectives because of time and positions, what we enjoyed is different as a result.
I don't actually NOT like Nightwing, but he's one of many heroes I've never had the opportunity to enjoy. I also don't especially get on with Terry McGinnis, but I was never his target audience. I came back to the scene AFTER his tenure on telly.
My opinion is also completely unimportant, but it's nice to be able to share it.

Dang, the Brexit fallout sounds terrifying in the UK. As a kiwi sharing the same sized landmass (as the UK) with a mere four million, my vote still feels almost negligible. the idea of sharing space, voting and rights with 64 mill (UK)... or as one vote amongst 508 mill (EU) is crushing.

Revisionism since the beginning... 'tis truth, again. Within the first few episodes of the Superman Radio show (1940) his origin revises dramatically as you listen! It went from arriving on Earth as an adult and meeting the young Jimmy (age 5-10) who suggests he joins a newspaper and calls himself Clark Kent... to the more familiar origin a few episodes later. Each episode was less than 10 minutes, so it was a rapid change!
Apparently it was YEARS before his parents became solidly fixed as "Jonathan and Martha," but the essential story of Superman hasn't changed since. -Though he DOES change personality to fit the era. He was strong on intimidation and bullying in those early days, but that was how a man seemed to play things in the War years. Funnily, Clark was also a much more canny detective than Batman in those episodes! Bruce was unbelievably thick on the Radio shows. A travesty!

And Nightwing doesn't need my acknowledgement to exist. It's locked in reality that Dick DID grow up and that the boy wonder costume wasn't right on a bloke above the age of 12 (and the ponytail...? His choice I guess.)
It WAS actually cool at the time to hear that long lost name being put to good use.

LiamKav said...

"As a kiwi sharing the same sized landmass (as the UK) with a mere four million, my vote still feels almost negligible. the idea of sharing space, voting and rights with 64 mill (UK)...

It's fine. It's not like The Mark of Gideon over here. We're not even the most crowded country in Europe (despite the Leave campaigners repeatedly telling us we are). Besides, we're a global community now. I work for a German company and go over there twice a year, my wife went to a Forensic Pathology conference in France last month, we went skiing in Austria earlier on in the year, we had some friends get married in Italy last year... that genie is out the bottle, and trying to put it back will get us no-where.

(This is partially based on one guy who was interviewed on why he was voting "leave". He said it was because he was sick of queuing as passport control when he came back from Europe. I was so angry I had to turn the radio off and leave the room. THIS is why referendums are a stupid, stupid idea.)

Brendoon said...

I guess that Genie was out of the bottle centuries ago, the well to do always preferred Europe for sun and snow to the local Beaches, one time even Egypt was a favoured drop in spot.

Referendums are only stupid because nobody agrees on everything. In truth they're the only expression of true democracy we have. Once a politician is voted in they usually forget to ask you what you want, which means they no longer represent you. That means democracy isn't the rule of and by the people anymore, though we're allowed to make a noise if we want to. What an effort though!
In New Zealand we actually had two referendums ignored by the Government (former PM Helen Clarke, who's now trying to bend the UN to her iron will. Scary). The results weren't even 50/50 like yours, but much more decisive. We voted against legalising prostitution and against the necessity of same sex marriage (what's the point of it? Combining a dying tradition with a new right?) The Nation was so PO'd! At least the current government listened when we said we didn't want their new flag, but that whole referendum was a shallow, pointless distraction from real issues so it almost doesn't count.

Brendoon said...

Siskoid,
is it okay that I'm way off topic? My apologies if we're out of line.
If this was a Superman thread, "democracy" might squeak in as something he'd stand for, but hmm... such a cool subject anyhow. Idealism in comics vs practical reality?

Andrew Gilbertson said...

This is very depressing to follow.

LiamKav- keep in mind, that guy may think you're equally stupid; at least the advantage of a referendum is that you both get heard. Try having most of your nation and region's major issues either made or overturned by unelected judges even in the face of majority votes and desires... and you may find the idea of a referendum pretty appealing. ;-)


Then again, this is being said by a guy in a country whose majority appears to have nominated both Trump and Clinton as candidates, so we don't exactly put up the strongest case for 'trust the people to make decisions' at the moment. :-)

Brendoon said...

My apologies for committing those vast swathes of depression your way, Andrew!
In a shallower but more pleasant light, at least the new Wonder Woman trailer makes 2017 look to be a brilliant year...

Siskoid said...

The Right seems to push for candidates that are more and more extreme right, while the Left also pushes right and presents centrists. Rightwingers may scream about Liberal agendas and call people "socialists", but you seldom see true leftists in high office.

Remember when this was about Nightwing and Catwoman? ;)

Brendoon said...

>Remember when this was about Nightwing and Catwoman? ;)

Yes, I guess I confused Nightwing with Rightwing. So easily done with a portable qwerty board.

Siskoid said...

Good one!

LiamKav said...

"The Right seems to push for candidates that are more and more extreme right, while the Left also pushes right and presents centrists. Rightwingers may scream about Liberal agendas and call people "socialists", but you seldom see true leftists in high office."

It's becoming increasingly a problem in a world where whoever shouts loudest wins. I'm not mad on Hilary, but to suggest she's anywhere near Trump's level is insane. And yet I seem to be arguing that with people on a daily basis. (It's the same with Tony Blair. He did bad stuff. He did good stuff. But we're only allowed to acknowledge the bad stuff. Anything else gets shouted out.)

"We voted ... against the necessity of same sex marriage (what's the point of it? Combining a dying tradition with a new right?)"

Er, because lots of gay people wanted it, and giving it to them harmed no-one? (Sorry, this is more personal, but one of my wife's best friends got married this year to a woman, and one of my best mates is getting married next year to a man. Both couples waited until it was legal because they wanted to "do it properly". It's not a necessessity, but it makes a lot of people happy. This is the worst example of direct democracy... a majority denying a minority a right that the majority already have.)

The problem with referendums is that, frankly, the population is stupid. And I'm including myself in that. Do the public know what's involved in creating trade agreements? Managing immigration? Understanding fishing quotas? Tourism impact? Sharing of military intelligence? No. That's why we elect politicans. We are saying "we want you to learn and study this stuff because we don't have time to do so. Giving the power back to us only makes sense if it's something the public can learn and understand. But (as has been the case over the past few years), what you know doesn't matter. It's what you feel. And a lot of people felt stuff that was later revealed to be complete horseshit. And now we're stuck with it. Tyrany of the majority. Let's not forget that Hitler used several referendums to get himself power (and is part of the reason why there has been no provision in Germany for the holding of referendums at the federal level since World War II.

(Also, we've had two referendums in my lifetime in the UK, and I lost both of them. That probably doesn't help my feelings towards them. *shakes fist*)

Saying that, I can't actually see either of these two referedums you mention, Brendoon. You sure they just weren't opinion poles? We had about a million of them before the EU referendum. Usually 3 a day, and they kept swinging back and forth.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Referendums_in_New_Zealand

Siskoid said...

Referendums should be held when leaders honestly cannot decide on an issue because both sides have advantages and disadvantages. Let the people decide and INVEST in their chosen path.

But for them to work, leaders must be impartial (if they were partial, they would have made the call themselves) and educate the public so it can make an enlightened choice.

Brexit is a good example of a BAD referendum, where leaders took sides and used misinformation, false promises and even coercion to get the result THEY wanted. If leaders had an informed opinion on the subject, they should have made the call themselves and then told the public the whys and wherefores.

Brendoon said...

NZ referendums, wikipedia- egad you must be right!
I had filed those cases in my memory with Referenda.
Again, what I'm about to mention is irrelevant to all of you, but for the blogger dot com archival record I'll proceed....
Both cases were in fact significant petitions with which the government went to the trouble of verifying each name, double checking their validity, checking the number of signees was well above the threshhold, finding it was all good and then going no further. They didn't have to, so in those case they dropped the matter.
It was our PM back in the eighties, David Lange who made petitions no longer legally binding. Before that time NZ could force the govt' to action (usually a citizen initiated referendum). Still a significant change and a blow to the ideal of "Rule by and for the people". Now we have bordellos and casinos (that was ANOTHER petition asking for a vote)... Instead of evolving socially we're creating more broken people.

I need to mention too that the population in New Zealand is far from stupid. I can't speak for other countries. Kiwi's are notable in their (generally) lower self esteem which leads to a cautious approach in a lot of things. It's a good thing.

Brendoon said...

>educate the public so it can make an enlightened choice.

It makes a huge difference, though it has to be done in an impartial way, not pulling on heart strings. If we find we've been manipulated or bullied we get angry.
Here in Christchurch we're going through the difficult process of giving up our wood fires. (not all natural things are good for the environment, it so happens!) With that comes an increased reliance on other methods of heating which give us less personal control over supply and spending. BUT the educators are doing a really good job. We're slowly getting it, and without resentment.

Brendoon said...

And, of course, the title of this post was "You Scratch My Back."
If that ain't an excuse for politics....
(A bit of word stuff: Polis, means "city" in Greek. So both Politics and Police are made necessary because we now live in cities. Metropolis means "Mother city" so a "Metro Man" must be a mother-man? Or is he one of those most blessed of creatures, a mummy's boy?

 

Blog Archive

Category

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