DCAU #280: Ascension

IN THIS ONE... Powers-Wayne's control passes from Derek to Paxton Powers.

CREDITS: Written by Robert Goodman; directed by Yukio Suzuki.

REVIEW: While Son of Batman vs. Son of Blight - i.e. a young hero vs. a young villain - makes sense, so switching our attentions from Derek Powers to his son Paxton Powers is a perfectly legitimate move, especially in a season finale. They kind of piss away the drama they'd set up, however. Instead of allowing the Batmen to solve the mystery of Blight's identity, he just cracks under pressure in front of his board and reveals himself. The board notices all too slowly this is happening, so the moment isn't even dramatic; it's ludicrous. I like that Terry doesn't feel guilty about having essentially created Blight, and the metaphor is that he instead helped expose (in fluorescent light) the monster that was already inside, but it needed to be followed with his exposing Powers more directly. Where's the hero's agency?

Paxton (a better name than Derek) Powers is at least played with some ambivalence. Is he a good son protecting his father despite his wrongdoing? Or is he trying to dethrone the old man and take over his secret criminal empire? The latter, of course, which makes him even worse for attempting patricide, but they also tease the idea of another supervillain-making accident with drums of something called Polymold on hand. Nothing comes of it. Perhaps Paxton won't be "super", and that's fine. So long as he keeps making power moves like the fake riot aimed at making his father show his hand and hand him the company, it could be quite fun. Paxton has our attention.

I wish the Batmen did as well. In addition to being robbed of the final deduction, Terry risks his secret identity by telling Blight he killed his father. It doesn't narrow it down enough to give him the answer - so evil - but unless Terry expected to kill Blight (and events show he doesn't because he tries to save him from Paxton), it's incredibly dumb. Terry's best moment is actually when Paxton turns on the old bat signal and nuBatman says "next time, use email". This ain't your dad's analog Batman!

SOUNDS LIKE: Paxton Powers is voiced by Cary Elwes, most famous for The Princess Bride. As the fake activist Mendez, that's Miguel Sandoval (Medium, and lots of small roles in films you've seen, from Jurassic Park to Get Shorty).

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - While Paxton's introduction is important to the mythology, this should have been played as a way slower game.



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