Episode Title: “Game Over for Owlman!”
Original Airdate: March 6, 2009
Comic books have a long tradition of crossover events, where various characters from several titles come together for an epic adventure that has repercussions on the entire company wide continuity. Continuing the tradition of trying to bring the experience of comic books to the television viewer this second part of a 2 episode story arc brings many of the elements of the B n’ B universe together.
The teaser for this episode is simply a recap of the events of the previous episode. Nothing new or interesting in this teaser, but it does give adequate information so the viewer that missed the previous episode will be able to follow and enjoy what happens here.
The story proper opens with police surrounding Batman as he returns from the parallel Earth of the Injustice Syndicate. Due to his many skills and gadgets, Batman manages to escape, but does have to quickly hide in order to avoid being captured once again. Thanks to a newspaper, Batman deduces that about 3 weeks have passed in Gotham while he only spent a day on the parallel world. The Dark Knight notices Owlman, wearing Batman’s golden age costume, robbing a bank. Batman goes after his villainous counterpart, but the two are too evenly matched for either one to emerge triumphant. As Oilman escapes and Batman tries to pursue, the situation gets complicated when Green Arrow appears with several other heroes intent on capturing the wrongfully villainised Batman. Batman appears cornered when he is “rescued” by an unlikely ally, The Joker. The Joker explains that he is well aware that a criminal has taken the place of the Caped Crusader, and the Joker doesn’t want the competition. Batman uses a remote to summon a back-up Bat-mobile that looks like it would be at home in the Detective Comics of the 1940’s, and the unlikely team mates pursue Owlman who has commandeered the current Bat car. Batman realizes that Owlman has accessed the contingency files that he has to neutralize his fellow heroes should any of them go rogue. Sure enough, Owlman picks off the heroes one by one using special devices tailored to their weaknesses. Batman and the Joker arrive and attack, but are quickly overwhelmed by superior numbers, and Oilman convinces Joker to switch his allegiance. A wormhole opens behind the villains and Batman emerges, revealing he used the phase oscillator to teleport away. Bats also reveals new allies from the wormhole: his counterparts from several parallel Earths. The Batman legion frees the heroes and defeat Oilman and his assembled villains. Owlman is sent back to his home world and As the Joker is taken away, he notes that he and Batman might have been friends, but he’ll have the final laugh.
Rarely does a series put together two part episodes as well as this one has done. Each episode does an excellent job of telling an independent tale with themes that tie the two together to form a greater, more satisfying story. Far too often episode that end with “to be continued” seem to have been arbitrarily ended at the 30 minute mark, but I feel both of these episode could be satisfying if viewed apart from its companion episode. Also, the Joker made somewhat of a fool of me, because in last week’s episode review I stated that it was highly unlikely that the Bat and the smiling man would ever team up in the primary continuity. I guess that shows what I know. It is nice the way that the justification for the Joker’s willingness to work with his arch nemesis/ unrequited love, Batman, seems to be the Joker’s own ego being threatened by the criminal success of Owlman. There is also a nice reference to the Justice Leaugue comic book story “The Tower of Babel” wherein Batman’s secret files on how to bring down the various DC heroes are discovered by a villains and used to nefarious effect. This same story line was adapted into the animated movie Justice League: Doom just a couple of years ago, but the weakness of each hero was simplified significantly for B n’ B to better fit the time constraints and tone of the series. Overall, I really liked both this episode as well as the overall story arc because I think it works really well as a non-intimidating primer for the world of comic books. I did feel a little disappointed that we weren’t really treated to a typical teaser, but I can understand how the creators may have felt that it would be difficult to incorporate mid story arc. I honestly wish the series would aim for more episode to episode continuity with stand alone stories bleeding into the next chapter much like we get in the print incarnation of these heroes. I must say that I am more eager than ever to see what the next trick this show has up its sleeve will be.
Featured Character: The Joker (Robinson & Finger, 1940)