CREDITS: Written by Rich Fogel; directed by Butch Lukic.
REVIEW: Is it me or is the DC Universe's future just the Marvel Universe? But seriously, folks, it may have been inevitable for a teen hero to feel a little like Spider-Man, that's mostly a matter of having a Flash Thompson stand-in on the show. But when you essentially do the Fantastic Four as a trio, with the Thing and the Human Torch mashed together, you're really calling attention to it. Like, lawsuit level attention. And it doesn't stop there, because Terry lifts a heavy piece of machinery off his back as fire (instead of water) rains down, a clear homage to Amazing Spider-Man #33!
But let's let that go. How was the story? The Terrific Trio "scoop" Batman a number of times and become popular heroes, but of course there's something not right. A hidden agenda? As it turns out, no. It's the fourth guy in their ensemble, the one not irradiated, who betrayed them and is working with a Hitler-moustached general to... well I'm not sure what the conflict is here. Ok, the guy Hodges was jealous of Magma's relationship with Freon, and the military wants to use them to do stuff, but General Norman prefers to have a dog fight in the middle of the city to destroy them once he learns their DNA is unraveling and they're dying... It's all a bit confused, but action-wise, it's good practice for Justice League - lots of different power sets used in sequences. I'm not sure the Trio deserve their fates, as all of them apparently die on screen. 2-D Man is perhaps most disturbing, since he just gets sucked into the air ducts and is never seen again. This i definitely a harsher world.
And it revels in it, going by the kids who, warned that the Trio's accident could be too intense for younger viewers, turn it up. Good to see kid brother Matt a little more, of course. The show shouldn't be ignoring Terry's family which is one of the more interesting wrinkles in the Batman Beyond set-up, and though it's the kind of thing that could irritate in the long run, I even liked Matt's futuristic lingo, "they're twips, Batman rips".
IN THE COMICS: The Superman books also created a tragic version of the FF, the only surviving member later becoming the Cyborg-Superman.
SOUNDS LIKE: Magma is played by Robert Davi (Profiler, Goonies, License to Kill). For Freon, they got Laura San Giacomo, who some might recognize as Maya on Just Shoot Me. 2-D Man is Jeff Bennett, the voice of Johnny Bravo and HARDAC. And old faithful Corey Burton (Brainiac and lots of other DCAU characters) plays General Norman.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium - A fun episode to watch, but the plot needed another draft.