DCAU #194: Torch Song

IN THIS ONE... Firefly wants to burn his old flame alive.

CREDITS: Written by Rich Fogel; directed by Curt Geda.

REVIEW: Hey they brought a new, albeit extremely minor, Batman Family rogue to the animated screen! Firefly definitely takes advantage of the production's growing ease with fire, smoke and heat effects. There's so much atmosphere in the scenes where Firefly has set something ablaze, it was worth introducing the character. Certainly, pyromania is a pathology that can work in the Batman universe, but Firefly is more obsessed stalker than firebug, having tied his life up with popular pop star Cassidy, her pyro effects man/rejected boyfriend turned bad.

And while it's kind of fun to see the rock music set in Gotham - and coincidentally, a culturally clueless Bruce Wayne - Cassidy is TERRIBLE. We only hear a bit of a single song, but it's all over the place, and really doesn't honor the real-life singer forced to perform it. It seems that Cassidy (who looks like a young Maggie Sawyer) is all about fire lyrics, puns and stage effects, and doesn't have a whole lot of depth. It's amusing when all the characters get into it, but a little dull over time. There's theme, and then there's homogeneity. And I'm not sure what to think of Cassidy when she tries to seduce Batman. There's no reason for it, and it makes her seem sinister. Suddenly, I'm thinking she really did play mind games with Lynns and that he might have reason to be angry at her (not that it condones his behavior). But this is never really resolved. I don't particularly buy her pyrophobia at the end either.

Fire is rough on the clothes - that white Elvis suit hilariously doesn't make it out alive - so Batman adopts a fireproof costume for the occasion. Though a nifty toy idea, it makes him look like the Black Panther. Or perhaps it's what gave birth to Batman Beyond. Or the more recent Batwing. But not quite Batman enough. I dunno.

IN THE COMICS: Garfield Lynns, Firefly, first appeared in Detective Comics #164 (1952) and was a lighting technician who turned to crime, but his shtick was life-like illusions and bright lights. He's been amalgamated with another Batman villain, Firebug (namechecked by Batgirl), an arsonist equipped with advanced fire tech. Both characters look a bit the same, but both use much brighter color schemes, while the show's Firefly is more sober. There's something of Marvel's Beetle in his armored get-up. The comics that  followed the show reintroduced Firefly to match. Cassidy's next tour namechecks a couple of other fire-based DC characters, including Heat Wave (a Flash villain) and Firestorm (the Nuclear Man).

SOUNDS LIKE: Firefly is played by Mark Rolston (Aliens, Shawshank, The Departed, etc. etc.). Cassidy is voiced by actress and singer Karla DeVito, whose song "We Are Not Alone" was featured in The Breakfast Club. David Paymer (Drag Me to Hell, Howard the Duck, Mr. Saturday Night) plays Cassidy's agent Frank. DJ Howlin' Jake is none other than Biff Tannen himself, Thomas Francis Wilson, Jr. And Bruce Wayne's date Shannon is voiced by Jane Wiedlin, lead guitarist of the Go-Go's.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - A perfectly fine introduction to a limited, but visually explosive, villain. The story isn't very memorable however.

4 comments:

Toby'c said...

"And while it's kind of fun to see the rock music set in Gotham - and coincidentally, a culturally clueless Bruce Wayne"

Does he say anything along the lines of "Punk is nothing but death, and crime, and the rage of a beast" by any chance?

Andrew Gilbertson said...

"Cassidy is TERRIBLE. We only hear a bit of a single song, but it's all over the place, and really doesn't honor the real-life singer forced to perform it."
Ohhhh, yes. So much so. That was painful.

"And I'm not sure what to think of Cassidy when she tries to seduce Batman."
Ugh, and now I'm reminded of the Killing Joke animated film again. Ugh.

"Or perhaps it's what gave birth to Batman Beyond."
That's what my wife said. I indignantly replied that it was missing a large red bat, so clearly wasn't anything LIKE Terry's suit. :-)

I gotta say- and this was probably an issue with established rogues too, and I just never noticed- but just like with Calendar Girl, I am really distracted by 'where did he get the MONEY for all this?!?' Plus, I find the character a little too one-note. (He likes fire. Boom. Got it.) Still, as you say, a visually-striking episodes with all of the fire effects.

LiamKav said...

"DJ Howlin' Jake is none other than Biff Tannen himself, Thomas Francis Wilson, Jr."

Already famous in the DCAU as the voice of the guy who murdered The Flying Graysons.

Andrew Gilbertson said...

And the first guy that failed to use Kryptonite effectively against Superman.

 

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