DCAU #249: Animal Act

IN THIS ONE... Crimes are being committed by circus animals.

CREDITS: Written by Hilary J. Bader; directed by Curt Geda.

REVIEW: Wait, does this make three episodes in a row where Batman has to fight large animals? It's one thing to concentrate on action, another to provide the same kind of action every time. At the end, the fighting extends to various circus acts, none all that exciting except perhaps the fire eater, as the show turns into Spider-Man vs. the Circus of Crime (shhh, don't tell Marvel).

As an exploration of Dick Grayson and his relationship to Haley's Circus, it has some merit. He brings Tim to the Big Top and shares his past with him - we should see more of these two having a mentor-pupil relationship - and we see how trusting he is compared to Batman, the latter quick to condemn Miranda Kane, the circus' animal trainer, and an old friend of Dick's. This is the kind of thing that split the Dynamic Duo up in the first place.

The true culprit isn't a big surprise however. First, you just know it's going to be that creepy clown, because he's really the only other character worth noticing in the piece (nice try introducing all those others, you just gave the clown too much screen time). Second, it becomes obvious the animals are governed by Mad Hatter technology before the clown is revealed to be Jervis Tetch. Either way, I think you're putting yourself in harm's way by stealing the Joker's shtick.

Perhaps Dick Grayson is doomed to have flirtations with girls named Kane. Miranda Kane, while an original character, seems to be named after the original (Golden Age) Bat-Girl, Betty Kane, or Flamebird in later continuity.

SOUNDS LIKE: Miranda Kane is played by the lead guitarist of the Go-Go's, Jane Wiedlin; she was also Joan of Arc in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.

- I'm glad to see a Nightwing-centric episode, but has the series run out of ideas already? Is there symbolism in Tim Drake shoveling poop in the final "joke"?


LiamKav said...

According to a blog post that's allegedly by Bruce Timm, this is one of the episodes he apologises for, the other's being "Moon of the Wolf", "I've got a Batman in my Basement", "The Terrible Trio", "Superman's Pal", "Cat Scratch Fever", "Animal Act" and "Heavy Metal. The show really doesn't have much luck with animals...

I didn't mind it. Like a few TNBA episodes, it kinda sits there. I did have a couple of thoughts:

1. I've always liked Loren Lester as Dick Greyson, but I sometimes think that the slightly harsher tone he uses for Nightwing limits his range somewhat. He can sometimes lack the passion he had back when he was Robin, and which Nightwing absolutely still should have. It's mildly ironic that his voice gets a harsh edge at the same time as Conroy's Batman voice gets less harsh.

2. Miranda saying "Some of us work for a living" reminded me... does Dick Greyson have a job? Is it mentioned in any other episode? I can't imagine he's letting Bruce pay for that swanky and expensive looking apartment. Trust fund?

3. I sometimes wish the heroes on this show were capable of wearing colours when in civvies. Is it just a style thing, or are there budget aspects too?

4. Nightwing uses the lions' names in front of Miranda. I wondered if that was leading up to her guessing who Nightwing was, but nothing comes of it.

5. Making Tim shovel poop at the end seems a bit out of no-where. It comes across more as mean than funny (although I do like Dick's wistful "I miss it" line.)

6. When is Batman going to investigate the person responsible for stealing the midriffs from every item of women's clothing in town? They can't all have been trying to rescue Anakin from Count Dooku. (At the "you've grown" exchange, all I could think was "not in the waist, she hasn't.)

Siskoid said...

2. A trust fund from the Circus is mentioned in Old Wounds.

3. Probably design.

4. Did seem sloppy.


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