Thursday, September 23, 2021



PHENOMENALITY: *marvelous*
FRYEAN MYTHOS: *adventure*

The first DTV in the "Batman Unlimited" series was so bad that there was no place the series could go but up-- though I wouldn't have been surprised had the sequel remained at the same level of mediocrity-- especially since both first and second efforts come from the same writer and the same director.

For whatever reason, the decision to give MAYHEM a Halloween theme provides more interesting moments than the "animal theme" of the first opus. True, of the five villains in the story, only one is a true "monster," the hulking Solomon Grundy. But the other four-- Joker, Clayface, Scarecrow and Silver Banshee-- all have some macabre aspects of one sort or another. Heath Corson's script probably derives from other Joker-stories in which the Monarch of Mirth held all Gotham City hostage in some way or other. But it's moderately original that this time the villain hijacks all the digitally-operated tech in the city via a "laughing virus," which makes a fair extrapolation from his more famous "Joker venom." This emphasis on technology allows Corson to incorporate guest-star Cyborg into the story in a logical manner. 

In fact, Joker's tech-plot and the often bumptious activities of his four allies overshadow most of the Bat-teammates in this series. Green Arrow, Nightwing, and Red Robin are almost interchangeable in the story, except for a sequence in which Nightwing has to overcome his artificially induced fears of the Scarecrow. Although all of the toy-related modifications of the heroes' costumes are ugly, Batman comes off a little better than the others. To be sure, the mythic joust between Batman and Joker can sustain many mediocre Bat-tales, and the DTV's best moment takes place in a digital universe where Bats and Joker take each other with MATRIX-stratagems. 

Of all the voicework, Troy Baker's Joker proves the most enjoyable, even with the caveat that he's closely following in the large footprints of Mark Hamill's work in BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES. 

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