RIDDLE ME THIS!? WHEN IS BATMAN NOT BATMAN?! ANSWER: WHEN HE'S POSSESSED BY BATWOMAN!!
Credits & Solicit Info:
Written by: Marsha Griffin
Directed by: Michael Chang
Diedrich Bader as Batman
Vanessa Marshall as Batwoman
Crawford Wilson as Nightwing
Mae Whitman as Batgirl
John Michael Higgins as the Riddler
Dee Bradley Baker as Felix Faust
Jeremy Shada as Young Robin
James Sie as Atom/Ryan Choi
John DiMaggio as Aquaman
*Interestingly, I've found out The Mask of Matches Malone! Aka the Birds of Prey episode starring Black Canary, Huntress, and Catwoman (with Greg's favorite Bat-villain Two-Face) has been indefinably put on hold and will air at a later time. Is it possible the highly sub textual song the three sirens sing be the reason and the plot point of the episode be the reasons (a highly sought after cloak is said to grant nine lives to it's user. And thus one user dies about nine times during the episode)? In Australia the opening intro to Menace of the Madniks got pulled due the Haunted Tank intro. Plus they also took out the musical number to Emperor Joker! as well. It's weird said censoring and cutting of the cartoon that's occuring suddenly. Yet, given the episodes that have aired with numerous character deaths and adult themes in this very episode. It's just weird that above episode is cut when well see the review below for why I'm surprised this one got set loose instead.
In the introduction for the episode, Batman and the Atom are in quite the predicament. Who can save them from this tight spot? AQUAMAN THAT'S WHO! As for the main episode Batwoman is looking to avenge herself upon a huge setback she had at the hands of the Riddler. To accomplish this, she seeks out the help of Felix Faust to put her mind into Batman's body and his into hers. What follows is a terrifying journey of magic, mystery, and no goblins!
Hearing the interesting role Batwoman was going to play in this episode (a gray even flirting on the side of villainy type), I was curious as a comic book fan just how the creators of this show would play this. After all, they had two Batwomans to play with (Kathy and Kate Kane). Surprisingly, they went with neither, instead going original with Katrina Moldoff though having her use the original's costume and given her an almost 90s style Huntress type of attitude (namely being the black sheep of the Bat Family, her attitude on super-villains, a certain attraction to Nightwing, and not at all on friendly terms). Suffice to say, it was an intriguing result nonetheless. It's interesting to see the creators do something entirely different than usual then the card board cut out she was (even in the modern age until her recent use in Detective Comics FINALLY gave her some added dimension).
The Batwoman in this really did show off how vigilantism that Batman represents could easily go the other way. Even more what would happen if one's identity was exposed to the entire world, thus losing everything (the courts bar her via jail sentence if she dons the tights again). Then finding out she's replaced with a "good" hoodie in Batgirl. So you get quite a good motive on why this Batwoman does what she does.
Likewise it was interesting to see Felix Faust in a different sort of role here. Instead of the center stage super-villain, Felix is murky gray character. He sets up the plot yet appears honorable. Given my only exposure to the character has been the current comics and an appearance in DCAU's Justice League, this new use of him surprised me. Even more so, how his sexual identity was even up for grabs with him actually knowing it was Batman in Batwoman's body he was helping and kinda was hitting on Batsy.
Now on the other side of things we got the first actual all out Bat Family episode (well sans Ace) with all the bats. It was a somewhat interesting family to say the least, with some of the antics that go on when Batman is in Batwoman's body on how he proves he's Batman to the others (Dick's greatest fears). Though I have to admit the biggest downside was just this as well. I mean come on, Dick's known Bats in and out. With the way Batwoman in his body was acting, how can anyone think something was up with that?!
Still, this episode had two big plus's. #1 was Diedrich Bader and Vanessa Marshall 's skills during the whole body switch. Both actors totally captured the perks and attitude of the other's character. Not to mention just seeing Bader go, "Darling I don't have to answer to you, I'm the Batman!" was just epic. Throw in the Batman Forever reference and this episode was a great light twist for the most part. You could tell Bader was just having a ball with doing the un-Batman things with the episode.
The other great thing I loved with this episode was of course, the Riddler. Sure there wasn't enough of him in the episode, but what scenes he's was in boy where they utter gold. From the opening Golden Age heist (green tux! The best kind of Riddler design.) to the present (predictable green tights) was just awesome. I'm glad the show gave us one Riddler episode before it's end was in sight, after the teases earlier this season with the character.
I have to admit I really didn't expect much from the episode, yet the moment we got the GLORIOUS intro my mind began to change about the episode. Even more so, the whole Bat Family dynamic was interesting to finally see displayed on the show, yet do it in a whole different way than usually portrayed on a Batman show (namely the black sheep member).
4.5 out of 5
Review by: Zechs