Episode Title: “Death Race to Oblivion!”
Original Air Date: November 20, 2009
So this episode gives us an homage to the Roger Corman produced Death Race 2000, seem like an odd choice for a family show, but it was a lot of fun just the same. I can say that I, for one, have always wanted to see a no holds barred vehicular race across a barren wasteland featuring Batman, the Joker, Green Arrow, Guy Gardner and Woozy Winks, so I’ve got that going for me.
The teaser is a back to the basics unrelated story that features Batman throttling a 12 year old boy in public just before said boy turns into an oversized brute. Keeping with the theme, tween Billy Batson transforms into Captain Marvel to help defeat the bad guy before giddily running of to look at dinosaur bones. If anyone is looking for a new profile pic for Twitter or Facebook, you could certainly do worse than a screen cap of Batman manhandling a child.
The main story kicks of with Mongul’s War World passing above Earth and using a laser beam to carve a race track into a piece of desert that would make any Hot Wheels aficionado jealous. Next he assembles a collection of heroes and villains together and informs them that they must race against his champion, Steppenwolf, with the Earth’s fate in the balance. Prior to the start of the race Batman seems to keep his cranky disposition from the teaser in tact as he seriously ignores pleas from Green Arrow to come up with a plan to work together and simply states he plans to win at all costs. As the race begins I am unequivocally rooting for Pastic Man’s ridiculous sidekick, Woozy Winks, to win the race. His race car, after all, is composed entirely of the most malleable hero in the DC universe. I think we all wish we had a friend who could turn into stuff we could ride on occasionally. I clearly run in the wrong social circles.
For some reason the Green Lantern Corps is represented by Guy Gardner and his ridiculous bowl cut, evoking memories of the Three Stooges own Moe Hoeard, and the fairer sex are represented by Huntress and Catwoman (who are perhaps racing for Batman’s heart as much as to save the world). As the cast of characters are run of the road one by one they are transported to and energy beam jail on War World, with the exception of the Huntress who dies horribly when her motorcycle runs off a cliff (and we totally believe she died, right? It could never be something misleading the audience until she triumphantly show up to save the day could it?). The only racers left in the contest are now Bats and Steppenwolf. During the final leg of the race, the heroes trapped on War World devise an escape thanks to some gizmo in Green Arrow’s shoe. As the final two racers near the finish line, it appears Steppenwolf just might win until unexpectedly Huntress shows up and gives Batman the assist to victory (I bet you totally didn’t see that coming).
Mongul congratulates Batman on beating his champion, then casts Steppenwolf aside. Mongul reveals that he is still going to destroy anyway, because that’s just the way he rolls. With the captive Heroes and Villains having escaped War World, Batman reveals that it had been sabotaged and it explodes in the cloudless desert sky as Mongul throws a good villain’s temper tantrum.
This episode was ludicrous, but fun. After the destruction of War World the Batmobile transform into a giant mech suit, because why not, and allows Batman to punch out Mongul. Due to his Jerk like behavior during the race Huntress informs him that she no longer finds him attractive, and there are some incongruous computer generated animation elements that seem to clash with the typical look of the show. I really hope the poor CG animation doesn’t continue to show up in other episodes of the second season, but I think I can get behind the knew cranky Batman. Overall, this episode was a nice tonal shift from the later part of season 1.