Batman: The Brave and the Bold S02 E02

Episode Title: “Long Arm of the Law!”

Original Air Date: December 11, 2009

This episode is full of great stuff. We have a bumbling sidekick, a baby superhero, a ridiculous villain, and last but most definitely not least, Plastic Man. All of these elements combine in a celebration of just how much fun the more ridiculous side of comic books and comic book characters can be. So what circumstances lead to this confluence of characters? Read on to find out.

The teaser has Batman teamed up with Plastic Man to rescue a troop of boycotts who are being held captive by a bunch of Shaggymen (the DC equivalent of a sasquatch / bigfoot). Rather than confront the beasts directly, our heroes instead choose to use stealth, quietly rescuing the boys while the shaggy antagonists sleep. The pair narrowly avoid awakening the bad guys repeatedly during the rescue, but as the boys are finally free Plas lets out a celebratory yelp that wakes up the monstrous captors and results in a lot of punching to save the Day.

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The story proper begins with Plastic Man formally initiating the inept Woozy Winks as his side kick. Woozy Winks is an interesting character from the early days of comics, designed to be akin to Lou Costello in his comedic sensibilities. The central conceit to his humor is that he once saved a wizard who granted him the protection of the “Natural Environment”, thus he has a knack for tripping and falling to avoid dangers that more competent heroes would simply dodge or duck. This initiation of Woozy also reveals that the episodes in season 2 were aired out of order, as Woozy was clearly Plastic Man’s established side kick in the previous Death Race episode. We see Plas introduce Woozy to his “Plastic Cave”, which is clearly just his garage, and a few other bits of humor to show just how amateurish this superhero duo really are.

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After our introduction to Plas and Woozy’s environment, Ramona (Plastic Man’s wife) demands that the pair take the dog for a walk and the baby to the museum. When I saw the baby carriage I held my breath. Could they? Would they? Yes they did, Baby Plas is in this episode. If you are not familiar with Baby Plas, he is a character that was introduced in the late 70’s / early 80’s Plastic Man cartoon, and is a round infantile version of Plas, complete with matching costume, sunglasses, goofy hair and perpetual grin. I should not have to elaborate further for you to understand just how simultaneously ludicrous and awesome Baby Plas is.

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At the museum Plas and company encounter oversized villain Rubberneck. Woozy and Plas struggle with the brute, but Batman shows up for an assist. As serendipity protects Woozy, Batman and Plas defeat Rubberneck, but little do they know this whole encounter was merely a setup to allow Plastic Man’s arch nemesis Kite Man to obtain a small fragment of the material from which Plastic Man is made.

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Now we have Kite Man, another great flourish in an already excellent episode. Kite Man strives to be the greatest Kite related criminal in history, and has an unnatural obsession with the most famous kite flyer of all time, Benjamin Franklin. Kite Man’s origin is re-told in this episode, we see him as a young man trying to recreate Benjamin Franklin’s famous experiment by flying a kite in an electrical storm, while wearing extensive metal on his face thanks to some orthodontic head gear, and for no particular reason also standing in a tub of water. When lightening strikes the kite, the electrical charge transforms Kite Man into a pathologic criminal who believes Ben Franklin was a fraud.

Kite Man kidnaps Plas’ family, and in the finally showdown unveils his beta beam designed to turn Plastic Man into stone. With Plastic Man turned into a statue, Woozy and Batman fight the villains. Woozy’s random pounding on the beta beam’s control panel somehow “reverses the polarity” causing it to turn Kite Man and Batman into malleable men, while freeing Plas from his statuesque form. Eventually Kite man is thwarted, Plastic Man saves his family, and Woozy and Plastic Man laugh a little too long at one of their own jokes as Batman shakes his head in disgust and walks away. Like I said, it was great!

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