DCAU #200: Demon in the Sky

IN THIS ONE... Ra's al Ghul tries to destroy the world with a stolen UFO.

CREDITS: Written by Ty Templeton; art by Bo Hampton, Rich Burchett and Terry Beatty.

REVIEW: Ra's al Ghul stealing a UFO from Grays wanting to experiment on him? What is this hogwash? Well if you remember Ra's appearances in the original animated series, each one told its story through the prism of a different genre - superspy, Indiana Jones, western... Why not science-fiction/conspiracy? Because it's still an ill fit. The existence of aliens feels unearned - yes we have Superman, but Grays are from another tradition - and like Batman, we may well wait for the truth to be revealed, that it's all one of Ra's deceptions or something. It isn't, and the "oh my, so they do exist" revelations at the end are meant to shock and amuse. And maybe they do.

It's not told without some sense of fun. The Men in Black that show up at Bruce's doorstep, for example, are a classic comedy double act and COULD be Ra's men (he knows Batman' identity, after all), but are apparently the real deal. I like how they have some kinship with Bruce as a "man of secrets". And the UFO is used well, from the WTF moment in the beginning, to the desperate sequence where Batman is thrown out in the lower atmosphere and manages to survive the fall though not without some injuries, to the explosive finale. The premise is a little wonky, but Templeton really goes for it, and that makes a big difference.

This iteration of the tie-in comic ends, and with it, a whole era of the DCAU. When you think about it, the drastic new looks in New Adventures could almost point to two DCAUs, the second starting with the Superman show and expanding beyond to include alllll those characters, while the original show belongs on Earth-2, where we're still in the 1940s tech-wise, and Batman and foes look rather different. The comics will supply a "Lost Years" series to serve as a transition between the aesthetics, so that theory doesn't ultimately hold up, but we can still take a moment of silence for what is essentially the end of an era.
REREADABILITY: Medium-Highish - A UFO story is an odd fit for the Batman universe, but buy the premise, buy the bit. If you do, there's plenty of fun crazy stuff waiting for you on the other side.


American Hawkman said...

One of the greys later turns up as a Green Lantern in the JL tie-in comics.

LiamKav said...

Was this that month when all the DC covers were profile shots? Chris Sims mentions it in his current review of the "Electric Blue Superman" era on ComicsAlliance.

Siskoid said...

Yes, "Faces of DC" or something.


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