Friday, October 31, 2014

Batman:The Brave And The Bold: "Trials Of The Demon!"

Flash:This is the last straw, Scarecrow!
Batman:Your Halloween trail of terror dead-ends here.

Premiered March 20, 2009.

Batman's (Diedrich Bader) old foe the Scarecrow (Dee Bradley Baker) is back with an evil plan that will ruin Halloween and wipe out everyone in Gotham City.  He has genetically modified the city's crop of pumpkins.

Scarecrow poisons a pumpkin.
As soon as the jack o'lanterns are lit, they will emit a gas that will cause Gothamites to hallucinate their greatest fears and act violently towards each other.

Scream Queen screams from the sky.
Thankfully, Batman is assisted by the Flash (Andy Midler) who will try to confiscate every pumpkin in the city with his super-speed.  But Scarecrow has a partner as well named Scream Queen. She screams deadly sound waves at the heroes.

Flash grabs the pumpkins just in time!
Can Batman and Flash thwart Scarecrow and Scream Queen and prevent  mass slaughter in Gotham City?

Scarecrow comes at Batman with a scythe!
But that's not all!

The Seasonal Spookiness continues when Batman time-travels back to Victorian London.  His friend Jason Blood, better known as Etrigan the Demon, has been accused of supernatural crimes.  Several women have been found in a catatonic state.

An angry mob captures Blood and plans to kill him.  But the real culprit is "Gentleman" Jim Craddock (Greg Ellis), who is being assisted behind the scenes by a demon named Asteroth (Tony Todd).
Jim Craddock plots an evil scheme.
In his time, Batman is known as the World's Greatest Detective.  But in order to clear Jason Blood, the Dark Knight will need the help of  the greatest crime solvers of all time:Sherlock Holmes (Ian Buchanan) and Dr. Watson (Jim Piddock)!

I'll be honest, the only "actual" Halloween portion of "Trials Of The Demon" lasts about 4 minutes and takes place during the episode's cold opening.

Scarecrow's hideout isn't much of a hideout!
SPOILER ALERT:Scarecrow's plan to destroy Gotham city is thwarted before the show's opening credits.  But the main story of the episode features demons, stolen souls, an angry mob carrying torches, a giant bat, an old, abandoned windmill and other things associated with horror movies.

Asteroth prepares to take a swing at the Batman.
Plus, Jim Craddock wields a skull-scepter as a weapon and he will eventually turn into the villain known as Gentleman Ghost.  So the entirety of "Trials Of The Demon" constitutes a Halloween episode.

 It's a lot of fun to watch Batman team with Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.  There's a funny scene where they try to deduce each other's name. The Demon Etrigan (and his alter ego Jason Blood) was created by comics legend Jack "King" Kirby.  I think Kirby would've been proud of the way Etrigan is portrayed here.

Two of the greatest (fictional) detectives meet for the first time.
 As I've said in an earlier review, this series represents the lighter side of the Batman.  But only to a certain degree.  The scenes that feature Etrigan battling Asteroth are very intense for a "kids" show.  Same goes for the part where the Londoners enact mob justice on Jason Blood.
Etrigan creates a more "Victorian" costume for Batman.
 Holmes is written here in a way that's consistent with his origins.  At one point, he's forced into a fight with Craddock, but he's never portrayed as an "action hero."

Craddack and Holmes face off!
 The voice actors here are all well cast.  Diedrich Bader was perfect for the tone of this series.  In between punching out bad guys, he often cracks wise and makes bad puns on the villains names.  Holmes is portrayed by Ian Buchanan, Twin Peaks fans will remember him as Dick Tremayne.  The villains are well cast too.

If I have any problems with the episode, it's the portrayal of Dr. Watson.  There's a scene where Watson makes an incorrect deduction.  This prompts Holmes calls him "an imbecile", which is mean, and the viewers are meant to agree with the detective.

He's the fastest man alive, but can Flash outrun the scream of Scream Queen?!
This episode is available on dvd, blu-ray and currently streams on Netflix.

Batman throws a flying kick at Craddock.
"Trials Of The Demon" is a good, action-packed episode of a great series the contains enough Halloween and horror elements (plus a bit of humor) to make for excellent viewing in late October.

J.A. Morris' rating:

3 jack o'lanterns.

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