AND NOW…YOUR OBSCURE BATMAN CHARACTER OF THE WEEK (4/9/11)

…Roland Daggett

Yes. Yessssss.

From the Batman Wikia:

Roland Daggett is an adversary of Batman. He made his debut appearance in Batman: The Animated Series as a corrupt and powerful businessman, voiced by Edward Asner. The president of Daggett Industries,a pharmaceutical company, he is depicted as being a large, physically imposing man with smoothed back reddish-brown hair and blue eyes…

…He is similar in personality and function to Lex Luthor. It should also be noted that his look (and overall demeanor) bears a striking similarity to Norman Osborn as he originally appeared (minus the “Osborn Cornrows”). He was originally intended to be Max ShreckChristopher Walken‘s character from Batman Returns, but it was decided instead to introduce a new character.

Alongside crime boss Rupert Thorne, Daggett is one of the main recurring antagonists of the series who isn’t a member of the Rogue’s Gallery, and is considered to be a possible forerunner to Batman Beyond villain Derek Powers.

Roland Daggett is FASCINATING to me, as a Batman character, for a couple of reasons.

First off,

Character highlights:

  • Infects Catwoman with a near fatal disease, almost unleashes it on the city so his company can make money off of the cure.
  • Inadvertently turns Matt Hagen into Clayface.

The Norman Osborn influence is so pronounced its borderline copyright infringement. Which sounds like a negative but the episodes Daggett appears in (Feat of Clay, Batgirl Returns, etc) are some of the best episodes of the series. He’s a fun bad guy to watch.

And really, having Batman face off against a recurring foe that served as a kind of “evil Bruce Wayne” figure who doesn’t physically engage Batman so much as create problems with his influence is a cool concept. The antagonism here between Daggett and Batman could almost be seen as a prototype take on the later Luthor/Superman stuff by Timm and co.

Anyway, yeah. Good stuff. Surprising that the character hasn’t made it into any other Batman outlets beyond the animated series, sorta like Carl Grissom.

AN OBSCURE BATMAN CHARACTER. EVERY SATURDAY. THAT’S THE HIVE OF SCUM PROMISE.

Max

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Episode By Episode: SUPERMAN: TAS (“The Way Of All Flesh”)

I now own all of SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES on DVD. Each week, I’m going to work my way through the series one episode at a time.  Dig?

Episode: “The Way of All Flesh”

That is one stylish hospital gown.

What Happens: John Corben (previously seen in the pilot episode “The Last Son of Krypton”) escapes from prison after discovering he has a rare virus. Lex Luthor offers him a cure: a new robot body powered by, of course, Kryptonite. This doesn’t work out well for anyone, obviously.

Fashions by Two-Face

Thoughts:

  • Totally forgot about this episode but I think it was one of the first episodes I saw.
  • The detail of Corben living in the lap of luxury in his Stryker’s jail cell is fun.
  • I do like that the last few episodes since Kryptonite was introduced have used it to good effect.
VOOOOOM

YOU TOO CAN BUILD YOUR OWN LEXCORP BRAND CRYSTAL RADIO!

  • The reveal that Corben-as-Metallo can’t feel any kind of sensation is a really brilliant concept, in hindsight. Especially given how much they play up his taste for “the finer things”.
  • Malcolm McDowell really nails Metallo. This is another fairly big departure from the comics but, like say Toyman, it surpasses the original. Very obviously reminiscent of The Terminator.
  • The Kryptonite heart is another unnerving, gross thing about this show.

Heart-Shaped Blecch

  • Lois Lane showing up and grabbing a weakened Supes once again shows off how capable she is in this show, which is pretty crucial.
  • Corben pretty much admits to jacking off to Lois in prison. Charming.
  • Uhhh this is pretty fantastic:

VEHICULAR SUPER-CIDE

  • Corben tearing off his fake skin is makes the Terminator homage all the more obvious.
  • The sequence with Lois and Clark doing some investigation is a perfect showcase for these characters. Clark uses his x-ray vision to notice the virus sample, Lois finds the parking stub and makes the connection to LexCorp.
  • Lex Luthor, eating caviar with some floozy, in a turtleneck, apparently listening to some Kenny G. All class. That this starts off with a cutaway to Luthor’s yacht and a female voice saying “It’s so BIG, Mr. Luthor!” makes it all the better.

Just trying to get his bone on is all

  • Nice detail with Corben’s voice becoming more metallic after he tears off his skin and clothes.
  • Pretty sure Lex’s date just got left out there.
  • Luthor admitting that he straight-up murdered Dr. Vale took me by surprise but it really shouldn’t have. Lex makes a habit out of murdering loose ends on this show.
  • I am in love with the use of green light here:

Neat

  • Luthor deliberately infecting Corben with the virus from the get-go. Classic Luthor. You’d think he would’ve planned for him finding out with some kind of fail safe or self-destruct switch.
  • Metallo not being able to swim and sinking to the ocean floor is a downright Twilight Zone-esque ending

Overall?

This was a very good episode and the above average number of screenshots I’ve included in this week’s write up says to me that this was one of the more interesting episodes, visually. Good development with Corben/Metallo who gets some fantastic episodes later (The Jimmy Olsen-centric one is a favorite).

Next Episode: Stolen Memories

Episode By Episode: SUPERMAN: TAS (“Feeding Time”)

I now own all of SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES on DVD. Each week, I’m going to work my way through the series one episode at a time.  Dig?

Episode: “Feeding Time”

DANGER DANGER...HIGH VOLTAGE!

What Happens: An accident during a heist of toxic material from STAR Labs turns idiot janitor Rudy Jones into the monstrous PARASITE. He sucks off steals some of Superman’s powers/strength and stuff.

 

Thoughts:

  • Well, first of all, this:

    Hahahaha

  • I like how Superman gets a couple of different “environment” suits in this show. The anti-Kryptonite suit and the space suit are cool ideas.
  • Man, Parasite’s just about the creepiest Superman foe. Even when he isn’t leech-mouthed, the whole “stealing people’s memories and abilities” thing is…unsettling.
  • Definite horror movie vibe when we first see Parasite.
  • Where does one pick up Kirby-esque stripper wear?

Left to the imagination: Nothing

  • I LOVE the whole bit where Parasite knows about Clark Kent being Superman and uses it to ambush him.
  • Parasite’s whole scheme here is “literally live off of Superman, steal his apartment/anything else I want”. It’s appropriately short-sighted.
  • I think this is the first episode where Jimmy Olsen is something more than a background character. Good Superman interaction.
  • Placing the fight in STAR labs was a good choice, especially since it gives us THIS:

Yes. Yes.

  • And, of course, it all comes full circle with the Kryptonite and the Kryptonite suit we saw at the beginning of the episode.
  • Nice little reference to Psycho with the end there.

Overall?

And with that, we finish up the first disc. A good episode, though it felt really short. Nice introduction to Parasite, who gets a couple of pretty interesting episodes later on.

Next Episode: THE WAY OF ALL FLESH

The Spider-Man Challenge Day 12: Amazing Spider-Man #11

The Spider-Man Challenge: Monday through Friday, I read a Stan Lee-written issue of Amazing Spider-Man and write crap about it.

ROGER EBERT OWNS YOUR HAND NOW.

“Turning Point”

Writer: Stan Lee

Artist: Steve Ditko

Synopsis: The issue starts off with Peter, half dressed in his Spider-Man costume, pining for Betty Brant. But then a convenient news report on the radio informs him that Doctor Octopus is due to be released from prison that day. Spider-Man heads over to the prison and tries to convince the warden to stop this, but the warden says there’s nothing he can do and tells him to get lost. Doc Ock, in his cell, gloats about getting time off for good behavior.

Pimp is spelled "O-T-T-O"

Peter, in his lab, constructs a spider-shaped tracking device that he can use to keep tabs on Octavius. A few hours later, Octavius is released and Spider-Man notices a girl is waiting to pick him up. He’s shocked to discover it’s Betty Brant behind the wheel and wonders what her connection to Octavius is. He attaches the spider-tracer to Brant’s car and  notices something fell out of her car: a road map of Philadelphia. He vows to head to Philadelphia and follow through with this until the end. At the same time, In the city of brotherly love, imprisoned crime boss Blackie Gaxton shakes down his lawyer, Bennett Brant. Apparently Bennett is in deep with the mobster for gambling debts. If Betty brings Octavius to Philadelphia, Bennett’s debt will be cleared. Bennett arrives at his home and finds Octavius threatening his sister.

There is something so classy about Doctor Octopus in a suit.

Betty begs Bennett to leave with her, but he says he doesn’t have the courage to leave until his debts are off. Back in New York, Peter lets Aunt May know he’s taking a trip to Philadelphia for the weekend and catches a plane to Philly (it’s unclear whether he bought at a ticket or clung to it as Spider-Man. Spidey heads into the city to find Betty and check on Doc Ock. Following his tracer, Peter finds Betty and she tells him about the trouble she’s in and that Ock was hired to break out Blackie. He tells her that he’s heard Spider-Man’s in the city. Ock breaks out Blackie as planned and Spider-Man narrowly misses them and has to flee from the prison guards. Peter realizes that  Betty might be in danger and swings off to find her. Back at Bennett’s, Blackie’s thugs drag the Brant siblings to Blackie’s ship in the harbor. Spider-Man arrives shortly but lands on his ankle wrong and sprains it (Lee really loves to give Spidey these realistic minor injuries). Blackie’s thugs show up and take him to their boss and Doc Ock savors his chance for revenge. But first. Octavius decides to turn on his employer and exclaims that he’s taking over Blackie’s operation. Spider-Man uses the distraction to take down his captors and fights the room full of thugs. He confronts Blackie, Blackie pulls a gun, and Bennett, shielding his sister, is hit by a stray bullet. Bennett dies, relieved that he’s no longer a burden on his sister and Betty attacks Spider-Man for inadvertently causing her brother’s death.  Spider-Man chases down Blackie and takes him and two of his thugs down single handedly. Octavius returns and the two fight across the ship.

Battle sweatsuit!

The fight goes on until the boat hits a piling and they’re thrown from the boat. Spider-Man makes it out, but notices that Octavius has disappeared. Blackie goes to jail and the police assure Betty that she’s in no trouble. Peter realizes that Betty needs her right now and he fears that he can never tell her his secret identity or Betty will hate him. Peter comforts Betty, who explains that she doesn’t hate Spider-Man, but he will always associate him with her brother’s death. Peter walks off and we get this really gorgeous call back to the last panel of Amazing Fantasy #15:

Observations:

  • So we finally learn Betty’s whole deal after…what, four issues? It’s well done, though Lee could’ve mined more drama from it. Hell, Peter doesn’t even seem to feel any responsibility for Bennett’s death, though he did kind of bring it on himself in the end.
  • Doctor Octopus is great in this issue and he really needs to wear a suit more often. The sweatpants combo he’s wearing at the end looks like a precursor to his “classic” look, which I assume we’ll see next issue.
  • This is the first time we see the now-classic Spider-tracer used. It’s a useful plot device for sure.

Final Thoughts: Not much to say about this issue. It’s a good one and it’s nice to see Spider-Man in new locations (even though Ditko’s Philadelphia looks suspiciously like his Manhattan). The payoff for the Betty Brant story line is decent and I’m curious to see where her relationship with Peter  goes from there. Tomorrow’s issue looks like less of a “part 2” and more of a follow up, if that makes sense. Anyways, Doc Ock’s back tomorrow and he does something big.