DCAU #331: Payback

IN THIS ONE... A whip-wielding vigilante punishes those who have wronged kids in therapy.

CREDITS: Written by Robert Goodman; directed by Kyung-Won Lim.

REVIEW: Plots where the hero (and audience) must divine the identity of the villain are difficult to pull off in a 20-minute cartoon; you just can't easily introduce or develop enough suspects to make it work. They certainly try hard in this one, giving the vigilante Payback the same voice actor as one of the (wrong) suspects. But Bruce Wayne doth protest too much, methinks. The very fact that Bruce is hard on Terry for jumping to that conclusion (and then another) should alert the viewer that something's up. So alerted, the solution becomes easy - at least *I* guessed it - and would have provided more surprises if it HADN'T called attention to the need to solve the mystery.

Payback's real identity makes it improbably he can show up again, which is too bad because he's got a nice look and a slightly askew motivation, the video whip is a cool effect, and best of all, they respect the physics he brings to bear. When your weapon cuts things monofilament-style, that has consequences, and the episode's animators seem to have calculated just what would happen in each of the action sequences. It's a thing of beauty! The highway chase, the attack on the elevator, even Payback's eventual defeat, all very well done.

Thematically, it's the story of two father figures who don't realize what consequences their rearing style has on their kids. Though Terry is theoretically undercover in those group therapy sessions, he lets fly on the difficulties he's experiencing with his "employer", which has the dual purpose of yes, luring Payback to Bruce Wayne, but also allows Terry to vent his frustrations in a very real way. Payback is ALSO the result of a fatherly misstep, this one too easy on his son to the point of neglect. Left to his own devices, the kid becomes a danger to others and himself, and acts out fantasies that represent the type of affirmative action his father never seems to undertake on his behalf. Two fathers, two ends of the spectrum, neither very good. Perhaps because the writer gave some thought to the characters, "Payback" also has some of the best lines on the show to date.

IN THE COMICS: None of the characters called Payback in the DC Universe (a Milestone hero and a Darkstars villain) are connected to the DCAU Payback.

SOUNDS LIKE: Dr. Stanton is played by Mitch Pileggi, Walter Skinner on The X-Files, while his son Kenny is Adam Wylie, who would go on to voice Brainiac 5 on the Legion of Super-Heroes animated series. As for the voice of both Howard Lewis and Payback, it's provided by Bill Fagerbakke who some will remember as Dauber on Coach.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - Great action and legit themes/character moments; too bad about the way the mystery is handled.

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

Best part of this episode is Bruce Wayne being so completely unimpressed with Payback.

 

Blog Archive

Category

5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Class Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers FW Team-Up Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Shut Up Star Boy Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zine