DCAU #73: Avatar

IN THIS ONE... Batman and Talia try to prevent Ra's al Ghul from learning an immortal Egyptian queen's secrets.

CREDITS: Written by Michael Reaves; directed by Kevin Altieri.

REVIEW: Ra's al Ghul returns and with him an international flavor that turns the show less into a James Bond flick this time than an Indiana Jones adventure. And perhaps that's why the lighting in the mummy's tomb gives Batman's costume sepia tones (I like it), though otherwise, I'm left wondering if this was the best use of Ra's. His grand plans about regenerating the Earth and finding an heir are reduced to him looking for a death ray or something, and... the secret of immortality? I thought he already had that. And given that the nasty Egyptian queen he finds comes out of a Lazarus Pit, well... She does have other magics, and almost sucks him dry, but he's still playing an Indy villain, and a stupid one at that, destroying ancient artifacts he believes he needs by flailing about sarcophagi and such.

And it had started so well too. The opening sequence, set in 1898, sells the flashback as a musical interlude with no sound effects. Beautifully clear action. Once we get to the present day, there are still some cool moments, like Batman surviving a snake bite by the skin of his teeth, but the story teeters on the edge of being the "bad matinée serial" Bruce Wayne mentions (oops, don't!). Ra's magical recovery doesn't even make use of cool animation, and it's just one trap after another. Still, there's a good bit with Batman saving Ubu's life and getting his saved in return. Well, sort of. I'm sure he'll make it out of the desert safely with that one waterskin.

IN THE COMICS: I'm sure those ectoplasmic manifestations looking like Glop the Mop from the '60s "Mod" Teen Titans series is just a coincidence.

SOUNDS LIKE: Thoth Khepera is voiced by Nichelle Nichols, Lt. Uhura herself.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - There are some very good moments (like the opener), but Ra's is essentially wasted and lobotomized in this dumb matinée serial.


American Hawkman said...

This has "Hawkman story" written all over it.

LiamKav said...

Considering your name, are you saying that that's a good or a bad thing? :)

American Hawkman said...

Yes. :) Seriously, it would have worked better for a hero with a connection to the era. (And let us never forget Hawkman killed what had to be Ras Al Ghul in Flash Comics #4 in the 40s.)

LiamKav said...

You'd think Talia would at least have dumped Batman the supplies off of the mule. Also, I spent this entire episode convinced Talia was in on the plan. I guess I'm not a very trusting person.


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