DCAU #328: Plague

IN THIS ONE... Terry must team up with Stalker to stop a Kobra plot.

CREDITS: Written by Rich Fogel; directed by Butch Lukic.

REVIEW: Bringing Kobra into the Beyond universe is a great idea. As an organization, it can provide a lot of nasty terrorism plots (case in point, a plague spread through money) and employ a variety of opponents for Batman to fight. It's a part of the contemporary DC Universe we haven't seen in animation yet, linking to DC history and yet open to stories in the future. They have a strong look as well. I'm not as enamoured with their agent Falseface, whose name is quite frankly ludicrous outside of a Dick Tracy strip, but he's well used and I like that Kobra had a backup plan in case their original didn't work, one well-suited to his unique nature. His taser is a bit too powerful, and his Nelson face not pimply enough (he he), but seeing him have to bounce back from a punch in his doughy face was worth it.

Now, I do have an issue with Stalker returning from the dead without an explanation. The last time we saw him, he was hit, horrifically from Terry's expression, by a train. Suddenly, he's in jail and being given a reprieve so he can work for the government. Worse, Terry doesn't bat an eye. I could have used a single line to wave this away, but will accept a comic book story down the line. That said, I'm willing to overlook it because he is SUCH a badass in this. Whether hoisting Nelson on his baton, using his bionic eye, or fighting Kobra's goons, the animation is such that everything he does is cool and percussive. In watching DCAU shows on their first run, I remember a point where Justice League's action sequences went up a notch (the Unlimited episode starring Black Canary and Huntress). Shades of that here. Hard hits, fast action, and original moves. He's a bit out of control even if you'd think a character like Stalker would have a higher stealth rating, but you can't argue with results. Terry should be wary of Stalker coming back to hunt him as the only reason the Kraven wannabe is saving his life this time around is to literally "save him" for later.

The episode also features great atmosphere, present in both music and visuals. The haze over the factory fire scene looks great, for example, though despite a valiant effort, I don't think the smashed pile of credits works in animation. Similarly, the finale involving the heroes looking over a contagious Falseface as he dies, uncontained, is abrupt and questionable. Small flaws in what is otherwise an action triumph.

IN THE COMICS: Kobra is both the name of a villain and his cult in the DCU, dressed just like the guys here, and with a very similar logo (the snake wrapped around the globe). The Kobra leader has different facial hair than "our" era's Kobra.

SOUNDS LIKE: Falseface is played by Townsend Coleman whose voice he also lent to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Michaelangelo and the Tick.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - While Stalker's unexplained appearance bugs the heck out of me, Kobra's a great villain to introduce to the series, and the action is top notch.

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