DCAU #248: Cult of the Cat

IN THIS ONE... Catwoman goes up against a cult of cat ninjas.

CREDITS: Written by Paul Dini and Stan Berkowitz; directed by Butch Lukic.

REVIEW: Catwoman's last Batman episode is focused on action, that's what this season is about, so she fights motorcycle cat ninjas, and helps Batman defeat a giant sabertooth tiger in the cultists' arena. The show's become about genetically engineered monsters. Meh. Putting Thomas Blake in charge of a cookie-cutter cat cult perhaps only seems wasteful because Catman's made something of himself since then, but in the 90s, this would have seemed a sound move and/or just a winking reference to fans; Catman was a mort.

There are some good bits; the explosive chimney sequence a particular highlight. One might mourn for the death of the Batman/Catwoman relationship, which has devolved into Batman being totally unmoved by her kisses. Both characters in fact lack depth in the new show. He's stern to a fault, while she's a treacherous seductress who feels more two-dimensional than she used to. As if she can't escape her nature and must, perforce, steal from all parties. Ah well. It's not necessarily unpleasant to see her play her cat and mouse game, but I do long for more ambiguous characterization.

Some problems with the animation, I thought. Too much black on black on black, these character designs (really, all of them) seemed to disappear into the backgrounds. And speaking of backgrounds, when they suddenly become animated, the foregrounded objects are too stark and even tend to shake... an old school problem I thought we were done with.

IN THE COMICS: Thomas Blake in the comics is the villain/anti-hero Catman, a very different character (in much paler colors), a big game hunter who turned to crime once he got bored, and who eventually evolved into a member of the Secret Six.

SOUNDS LIKE: Scott Cleverdon (Gonzalo Fernandez de Cordoba on Borgia) plays Thomas Blake.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Some good set pieces, but altogether more simple than the stories the previous series used to tell.


Andrew Gilbertson said...

I think it's safe to say the redesign era- especially this stretch of it- is really leaving us both cold. I enjoyed it, when it was the only BTAS I knew... but having experienced what it came before, what it could've been...

Well, like I said before; the redesign era is good for the DCAU overall, but bad for BTAS. It sacrifices itself so that we can get the later shows.


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