Monday, September 20, 2010

Aquaman's Outrageous Adventure!

Episode Number: 30
Season Episode Number: 4
Production Number: 204
Airdate: January 8, 2010

Writer: Steven Melching
Director: Ben Jones

Voices: Diedrich Bader (Batman), John DiMaggio (Aquaman, Enemy Ace), James Arnold Taylor (Green Arrow), Will Friedle (Blue Beetle), Sirena Irwin (Mera), Preston Strother (Arthur, Jr.), Stephen Root (Penguin, Planet Master), Dee Bradley Baker (Clock King, Fisherman), Unknown (Newscaster).

Teaser: Batman must convince Enemy Ace to side with him to take down an alien tank.

Plot: Aquaman and his family travel to the surface world for a vacation, but Aquaman can't escape action and adventure, it's in his bones!

Review (Warning! Spoilers!): We are only a few episodes in to the second season and we've already seen episodes focused on Plastic Man, Blue Beetle, and now Aquaman, all with little involvement from Batman. It's like the producers of the show sold it to Cartoon Network centered around Batman (because Batman can sell anything), and kept it Batman focused for the first season, but have now branched out to a more JLU type format where the main character of the episode is different every time. Of course, Batman still pops in for good measure.

Out of all the supporting cast to have their own spin-off, I would have to choose Aquaman. His boisterous, larger-than-life personality and thirst for adventure would make a great premise, and now that we are introduced to his family, the package is complete!

This episode, like all Aquaman episodes, is hilarious. Breaking the story into little mini action sequences, bridged together by the family vacation subplot, works so well and allows for many team-ups in one episode! All of the main supporting cast gets a cameo in this one episode!

Mera and Arthur Jr have been reduced to typical family archetypes, Mera being the frustrated wife and Arthur Jr being the good-for-nothing teenager. Interesting is that Arthur Jr in this universe is still alive, rather than murdered as an infant by Black Manta. I can understand not wanting to tell that story in a children's cartoon, but to have him grow to adolescence is an interesting choice. (Interesting aside - Arthur Jr is wearing a costume Aquaman used for camouflage in the 80s.)

We are introduced to a few new characters in this episode: Planet Master, a Batman villain from the early 60s who uses planet-themed weapons. This version is sort of a mash-up between the Silver Age Planet Master and the modern one who draws his powers from the characteristics of the planets. The Fisherman, seen in Aquaman's daydream at the beginning of the episode, is one of Aquaman's oldest foes. The Bug-Eyed Bandit, one of the Atom's oldest foes from the 60s, fights the Atom on Aquaman's Winnebago windshield. Enemy Ace, as seen in the teaser, is a German WWI pilot, also created in the 60s. All this and a cameo from the Sportmaster's wife, Tigress!

And, of course, the classic Batman villain, Penguin, makes a full-fledged appearance. We first saw him ever so briefly in the Bat-Mite episode from last season. Penguin has had many incarnations over the years, this one drawing heavily from Silver Age, Adam West tv series and Super Powers versions of the character.

There are plenty of in-jokes for fans to get a hold of. Aquaman is riding two seahorses that resemble Stormy and Imp from the 60s Aquaman cartoon. The Penguin's sub is a nod to the 1966 Batman: the Movie. Aquaman's Indiana Jones style map journey includes more fictional DC cities and towns than you can shake a stick at!

All in all, this was a fantastic episode. Aquaman proves to be able to hold his won as a main character, and his family, however two dimensional they may seem, are a good supporting cast, especially once they come to accept his heroics at the end of the episode. I'm looking forward to more Aquaman!

I love title cards. Well done title cards, such as the ones seen in Batman: the Animated Series or Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, can be a work of art. There are four mock title cards seen throughout this episode, which are a parody of the title cards seen at the beginning of team-up stories in The All-New Super Friends Hour. The picture on the right is a sample from Super Friends while the four below are the parodies.

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1 comment:

Orphen said...

I enjoyed this episode quite a bit for what it was. It was a funny episode that demonstrated the versatility of the show. I wouldn't say that it was one of my favorite episodes but it was a pretty good one. Seeing the batman and a superhero team up format used in a different way with Aquaman is interesting.