Episode 12


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Calling "The Demon's Quest" epic doesn't even begin to do this Batman: The Animated Series episode justice, nor does sandwiching it in with four other episodes of the show. That said, James and Mike decided to dedicate an entire episode of World's Finest Podcast to "The Demon's Quest." [ 1:36:37 || 44.2 MB ]

The above is from: http://www.worldsfinestpodcast.com/episodes/wfp_012.mp3

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Whoa, interesting decision to do an entire episode in honor of 'The Demon's Quest'.

I'm not going to start listening just this second, but I am going to point out two flaws that I find with the episode. First, I think that Batman's assumption at the beginning of part two that because he wasn't going to marry Talia, Ras would continue on with his plan of wiping out human life was pretty ill-developed, and I don't recall Ras even implying that the plan would ensue because of Batman's refusal (unless I'm forgetting something of course), and it overall seemed like a convenient way to get Batman to confront Ras during part two.

Second, Talia was poorly developed in that her only purpose is to progress the plot without having any real depth or character. The relationship between her Batman was had little basis.

With that said, I'm quite fond of the rest of the episode, so maybe later tonight I'll check it out.

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James and I fully acknowledge that "The Demon's Quest" is not perfect. Hell, I even question why Batman turns Ra's down the first time. But we felt it deserved it's own episode due to its scope and impact on the BTAS universe.

Okay, gotcha.

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Okay, I agree about 'Superman: Doomsday' being a disappointment, basically because we didn't get to know the characters well enough before Supes' death, so that none of the emotional moments worked. And the clone, though he spawned some of the best scenes, was still a retread of other plots. But the fight scenes were still awesome. And the lines on Superman's face look a lot better than they did in the first season of 'Justice League'; they didn't really bug me. And I really appreciated the new Luthor design.

And I'm SO pumped for 'The New Frontier'. That WAS the BEST part of the DVD, because it looks EXACTLY like the comics and the voice cast is AMAZING.

NOOOO!!!! The thirty-two flavors was at the beginning of 'Grudge Match', not 'Double Date'! Oh well.

Ooh, 'Justice Society' would be awesome. And 'Legends' is easily in my top five favorite 'Justice League' episodes, it's just such a beautiful homage.

Yeah, I prefer 'Gotham Knights' to 'The New Batman Adventures'. I personally call it neither: I simply abbreviate the latter title and say TNBA.

I admittedly find some parts of 'Mad Love' funny, as there are definitely a ton of moments that were played were laughs despite the mature subject matter. But, like you guys are saying, as a whole it should definitely be looked at as being a sad and psychological story concerning abusive relationships.

So, I see you forgot to throw in my Ferris Boyle/'Mudslide' comment, but I don't really mind.

'The Demon's Quest'- I've already thrown out my criticisms, so I'll just observe the podcast. Yeah, I don't think this should have been a movie, because 'Mask of the Phantasm' is so much more universal and delves more into characterization etc., whereas 'The Demon's Quest' is really nothing more than an epic adventure, which holds its weight better as an extended episode than I think an actual movie.

I wouldn't say the score is the best it's been. Personally, I think that 'A Bullet For Bullock' has the greatest score ever (and I think it was mentioned in a commentary that it won an Emmy), because the jazz music is so awesome, and perfectly fits the episode. 'The Demon's Quest' was good, but I remember that at least one or two cues were overused, which slightly detracted from the score's impact.

Oh yeah, David Warner is one of the greatest casting decisions EVER. I think you do have a point about Mark Hamill, honestly. He's actually pretty inconsistent when he plays the Joker, and you can see how is voice changes throughout the different series. David Warner, as you said, never fluctuated with his voice.

And yeah, Batman the Detective is really great character aspect, and I'm glad that it was incorporated as well as it was into the series.

And no way is this the all around best Batman episode. 'Heart of Ice' is the epitome of absolute perfection that cannot be touched in the slightest.

About Bruce Wayne being the mask, I have to refer back to your criminally low-scored 'Perchance to Dream'. As far as the essays I always quote are concerned, the fact that the dream occurred from Bruce Wayne's perspective, i.e. it was Bruce Wayne's fantasy world, made it clear that Bruce Wayne was indeed the true identity. What the reviewer then argues is that in committing suicide and leaving this dream world in which he cannot be Batman, that is the precise moment when Bruce Wayne becomes the mask and Batman becomes the true self.

One of the problems with Talia not recognizing Wayne is that I thought that she actually did, because when they went after Vertigo for the drill, she clearly refers to it as 'your drill', so therefore she knows it's Wayne. That's why I think 'The Demon's Quest' commits a grave continuity error with the 'fit your description' thing.

Ha, you remembered 'Day of the Samurai' before I did (I too thought it was the first out-of-America episode). But I still got you good with CAPTAIN CLOWN.

Oh yeah, the fight scenes and animation was SPECTACULAR in this episode. Kevin Altieri, the director, has a great thing for fight sequences, and the animation was one of the few times it was done by TMS. For those who don't know, TMS is considered to be top-of-the-line as far as animation is concerned (I think it's the top Japanese studio), and they also animated 'Two-Face pt 1', 'Feat of Clay pt 2', 'Read My Lips', and 'Fear of Victory', so you can tell how awesome the studio is. The fact that it was used on about a third of 'Superman: the Animated Series' is what makes that show probably the most well-animated DCAU show ever.

As for Batman not accepting the offer, I can easily buy it. I think the refusal of Talia fits pretty much into the duty comes before romance, as explored in 'Mask of the Phantasm'. Second, I don't think Batman would trust the Lazarus pits. If they can drive you to temporary insanity, who knows what other potential effects are possible. 'Out of the Past' showed Bruce only giving in to the Pits when on the verge of being unable to function due to old age, and even then he admitted that it was a cheap way to cheat death, so there's that. And Bruce Wayne already owns a global empire, or at least we know it extends to other countries, and I don't see Bats willing to accept such a grand offer at the drop of a hat with little to no information about it. If Batman were to enlist people to become Batmen, I think, would cheapen the idea of Batman being a special entity meant for only the most devoted human beings, as opposed to a mantle that can be given to anyone willing to enlist in a program.

Scores:

You: 9.5 and 9 / Me: 8

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Two unrelated notes that don't relate to the podcast but which are pretty interesting:

1) On the subject of spreading the awesomeness of DC to others (mostly it's been about passing them on to upcoming generations), there's a girl I know at school who has this kid she's babysitting, and she asked me for some DVDs to lend her, knowing that I have all the DVDs and the kid is really into superheroes. So I lent her BTAS Vol 1, STAS Vol 2, and JL Vol 1, but told her to watch 'Heart of Ice' and 'Two-Face', just to see what she thinks. Now she's genuinely interested in the show after having realized how amazing the writing truly is, and she actually bothered listening to some of the commentaries to understand what the producers were trying to accomplish. So that's pretty cool that I was able to obtain a new convert to the DCAU (not to mention the kid who's no doubt going to fall in love with these shows).

2) I'm taking a psychology class at school, and we got to choose a topic to research and present. I chose Multiple Personality Disorder, to see how the actual disorder compared to the way it is in 'Two-Face'. As it turns out, everything in 'Two-Face' is completely accurate and spot-on, and it just makes it so much cooler how much intelligent writing and through research went into the episode.

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Ok, Mike. I guess I'll take your suggestion and post on the forum. It's Mindy, the Mad Love girl. Well, I still don't quite agree with you Mike, and I'll post the last letter I sent to you here for all to see as to why. (Did you get it? You didn't respond, so I didn't know.) P.S. It was cute how much you gushed over me. It made me laugh. Thanks.

In the early Batman episodes when the mood was much lighter than it would become, yeah, I can buy you saying they played the abuse for laughs. In Mad Love, however, I think the production team does such a good job to point out that Joker is abusive, and horribly abusive. I didn't pick up on the logistics of Harley and Joker's relationship in Harley and Ivy until you pointed it out. In Mad Love, I was horrified by what Joker did to her. It was shoved in everyone's face, and not in a funny way.

Bold generalization, but I think you're confusing, like I said, the instruments Joker uses to spread his terror with the fact that he really is spreading terror with them. You're tying the comedic moments of the episode, Joker's gimmicks like the piranha tank, and the puns, and how Harley tries to get Joker to have sex with her by using a whoopie cushion (Hey, it is a "whoopie" cushion afterall.), with the overall theme of what's going on. If you look at the episode, though, notice the entire episode is focused on physical abuse in some form and how horrible and long lasting the effects of that can be. Why does Harley fall in love with Joker? She feels sorry for him because Puddin's merely a victim of circumstances. All he wanted to do was make his father laugh, and his dad beat the snot out of him for it. The way Joker's abuse is presented is shocking to the point where even Harley is shocked by how bad it is.

I was determined not to be taken unaware, and studied up on all his jokes, tricks, and gimmicks. Then I went in, ready for anything.

'You know, my father used to beat me up pretty bad.'

Anything except that.

When Joker's telling the circus story, the line, "And then he broke my nose," it cuts like a knife. Again, gross generalization, you really start to feel bad for the abuse the Joker went through, and you start to feel Harley's sympathy towards him.

Why does Harley hate Batman? Batman has taken the place of Joker's abusive father. Puddin's just trying to make B-man laugh, after all.

Then the story goes to Harley, and the extreme efforts she's going to to make Joker happy. You see that she's devoting her life towards that task. Then when Harley finally gets the one thing she thinks will make Joker happy and take all his pain away, how does he repay her? First she finds out that all the stories that created her image of who the Joker is were lies to manipulate and brainwash her (which total wipes out the viewer's newly created sympathy for him). Then when he arrives, he punches Harley in the face, and pushes her out a however many high story window onto some wooden fucking crates (It would not be nearly as bad without those crates being there. I feel the crates when she lands. It's just...aah. I can't even write it.) practically killing her. In the comic, it's shown even worse. She's lying half dead in a pool of blood on those crates.

To top it off, as she's lying in the alleyway dying, she says, "My fault. I didn't get the joke." She says it was her fault for being pushed out a window. She's blaming herself for what Joker did to her. If that's not battered wife syndrome, I don't know what is.

And then, they don't let you forget it in the end. It's not like Night of the Ninja where Bruce

has a black eye, and then the next day he doesn't. The next day, Harley is in a wheelchair. She's in a neck brace, her leg is broken, her arm's in a cast. The event was so traumatic, she nearly leaves the Joker. But then he apologizes, and she forgives him, and the cycle continues.

So, I'm puzzled as to how you think that the production team of Mad Love trivialized domestic abuse. If anything, I thought they opened your eyes to it Clockwork Orange style. If there was nothing to the episode except Joker pushing Harley out the window, that would be enough to show how horrible he treats her. But then they put in the child abuse back story. What does that do? It keeps the idea of how bad physical abuse can be in the viewer's mind the entire episode. They keep reminding you of how horrible abuse can be by making you think it's what created the monster that is the Joker, and then at the end, you see the physical after effects of abuse in how mangled Harley's body is. The entire show, you're saturated, even overwhelmed by the effects of domestic violence. How can you see that as comical? I don't understand!

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  • 2 months later...

First I must say that Ra's Al Ghoul is a character I had no prior knowledge about before this series and I certainly love David Warner's voice acting with this character. He is certainly another of Batman's most threatening adversaries, but in a way I believe that both Batman and Ra's Al Ghoul have a certain respect for one another and that is what is so interesting about these episodes. They start out as a team, than Batman is betrayed, than back to a team again. I also love how Batman gives Ra's bodyguard 3 strikes, it works so well.

I also think that it would be a great idea if you guys, did Whole Podcast episode re-evaluating all episodes, regarding each villains appearance(except for group episodes). Like do a Podcast chronicling all Ra's Al Ghoul episodes, than a Podcast for all Joker episodes, so on.

I must also point out that the Superman: Doomsday, was poorly made, especially since it was Produced by Bruce Timm, he should have known us better than that by now. I was annoyed by the "Old Man" cheekbones, the voice acting was okay, but no story developement, we are just thrust into a set of characters with backgrounds we don't know much about. I did read The Death of Superman comics, as well as The Reign of the Supermen that followed and this was done wrong. It's a new set of Made for DVD's movies, why not make five movies all based on indivisual comics in that series. I did like the Kevin Smith reference. The Toyman looks like Tim Burton, which is also a cool connection between those two, but The Toyman of the DCAU continuity was creepier. I am looking forward to The New Frontier, it seems like that it being taken care of more, considering it'll be a two disc special edition in both standard and Blu-Ray DVD's.

Now for the two part episode The Demon's Quest, top notch episode. Ra's Al Ghoul in this episode, shows that brains can outbest brawn all the time. Even though, Batman is both, this villain is definately Batman's Lex Luthor, with The Joker being his Darkseid. The animation is excellent. I'm not usually the one to look at the animation and critique it, but thanks to you guys, I have been doing that lately. I can agree that David Warner's voice talent as Ra's Al Ghoul is excellent and that when he talks, I don't think about about David Warner, the man, just the character he's voicing. The Joker, in my opinion and everyone whose read my other post know I'm a huge Joker fan IS Mark Hamil, Yes, he made a name for himself as Luke Skywalker in the 70's and 80's, but I think he's so great as this character and as The Trickster(animated and live action). But back to this episode. I completely agree that this should have been a movie, but you have to remember that when The Mask of the Phantasm came out The Joker was the favorite and the producers wanted to bring in the Phantasm character.

In terms of Batman not excepting Ra's proposel, you have to remember that Batman is dark and on the brink of criminal insanity. If he ever excepted something like that, regardless of whether it would be for a greater good, he may allow himself to go over the brink one day. Remember the Justice League episode where they go to an alternate world and we see a more dangerous Batman, he is able to see what he is capable of, grant it that even that Batman wasn't too far off, like the other heroes became. He also knows that the Lazarus Pit causes temporarey insanity and doesn't ever want to lose control of anything.

I'm listening now to your statements about his gernade recklessness, I have a friend who is a huge comic book fan and has the 1st issue of the DC Archives for Batman(which has the first 2 years of Batman stories, including Robin's origin)and noticed that the first years Batman wasn't against allowing criminals to die. I think even in one issue he shoots a criminal.

I have always thought that as much as Talia loves his father and does want to stay loyal to him, she is still in the right state of mind to know that she needs to give her father a shot at changing a bit, by letting Batman defeat him. I will give this one a 10 out of 10.

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