DCAU #393: Bent Out of Shape

IN THIS ONE... Rubberband Man dates Static's sister.

CREDITS: Written by Dwayne McDuffie; directed by Dan Riba.

REVIEW: This is the episode that made me fall in love with Virgil's sister Sharon. She stands by her man even though he turns out to be an escaped supervillain - as the Rubberband Man returns in the guise of a hot new rap star - BUT she won't take any of his crap and gives him an ultimatum: Turn yourself in, do your time, and then she may consider being there for him when he gets out. What we wouldn't do for the love of a good woman... And Rubberband (okay, lets start calling him Stringer), though terrified of going back to jail where the Bang Babies aren't exactly beloved (you'd think they would band together), he accedes to her demands. As a villain, he was never evil anyway. Just a guy who was wrong and tried to get justice for himself, and went about it the wrong way. But all that is a pretty common trope. I think what really does it is the excellent animation on show in each of Sharon's moments (it's a bit ordinary everywhere else, but the "acting" is top notch). She has strength and sass, she means business, but is also scared for him and vulnerable. It's interesting that despite their adversarial relationship, Virgil actually does try to find a solution that won't hurt his sister once it's clear she's actually in love with Stringer.

To make it clear Stringer isn't really the bad guy, the episode introduces two would-be bounty hunters, Puff and Onyx, who cause a lot of damage and clearly would do anything for the reward money so they can stop dumpster diving, though they don't actually turn to crime. Unless they got that spy van from someone without asking, which is likely because it really doesn't make sense for them to have friends with that kind of tech. That's a weak spot in the script no matter HOW they got it. And was it really necessary if Puff can turn into a gas? Her powers are also glossed over quite a bit, and it feels like she can do anything required of the plot at times. Even the dialog seems critical of this plot device. But the two of them have a strong visual, and despite Static dropping a building on their heads without much thought given to their safety, they survive and will turn again several times. I'm fine with that.

The other bit of note is that Rubberband Man tries to find out Static's true identity, but while his shapeshifting tricks almost manage it, he's not quite as stealthy as he would like. Still, in the end, it's only the bounty hunters turning up that fortuitously prevent him from being exposed. Nice that it gives him a certain paranoia about it though. When the supervillains turn up at his house, he shows he's quite good at using his powers secretly; he should do more of that instead of showboating all the time.

The Puff in the comics is a blond woman whose partner, Coil, actually looks more like the cartoon's version of Puff. Onyx, though the name of a DC character, is not from the Dakotaverse books.

SOUNDS LIKE: Puff is played by Kimberly Brooks; her other voices include Ashley Williams in Mass Effect, Luna in Scooby-Doo, and Barbara Gordon in the Akham City game. Onyx is simply voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson, same as Virgil's dad.

REWATCHABILITY: High - Some beautiful cartoon acting turns Sharon into a real person for the first time.



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