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Batman Beyond: The Arch-Nemesis That Didn't Quite Work Out (And How They Died)

The Wrap-Up

Design-y

One of the few notable elements from 1970s Batman not adapted in The Animated Series is the villain Doctor Phosphorus. Eventually, they'd find a way. The producers acknowledge his look as the inspiration for Blight.

Continuity Notes

The tie-in comic has Bruce stop Terry, via communicator, before he can tell Blight he killed his father. Terry's already told him this, though, back in the episode "Ascension." His response? "Do you have the slightest idea how little that narrows it down?"

RELATED: Batman Beyond and The Return No One Demanded

Also, "Ascension" has another sequel in the comics canon. Miss Winston, Derek Powers' secretary, is implied to have a crush on him here. She drops out of the cartoon, but reappears in Batman Beyond #8. Winston survives an  assassination attempt and develops the new persona of Vendetta . Her new mission in life is revenge on Batman and Paxton, following her love's death.

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Hey, I Know that Voice

Accomplished film actor Cary Elwes voices Paxton Powers. (In a later episode, he'll be replaced by actor Parker Stevenson.) Sherman Howard, who played Lex Luthor on the live-action Superboy series, voices Derek Powers. Interestingly, the producers were very close to having him voice Luthor in the DCAU Superman series. He narrowly lost the role to Clancy Brown.

Approved By Broadcast Standards & Practices

Well, Batman's pride in ravaging Blight's body with nerve gas, and learning no real lesson from it, is rather unusual for Saturday Morning TV.

I Love the '90s

Laptops fifty years in the future will have CD-Rom drives. At least, that's what the Batman Beyond producers seemed to believe.

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Battle of the Failed Arch-Nemeses 

Truthfully, as the final showdown with the man responsible for his father's murder, neither of these stories do the job. An argument can be made that Terry not obsessing over his father's murder, not allowing this to define him, is very specific character writing. It prevents him from becoming a direct clone of Bruce, and opens up new avenues to explore as motivation. Initially, Terry seems to get a kick out of facing danger as Batman. Later, we discover he's a reformed juvenile delinquent. His life as Batman is penance for the mistakes of his youth. As this was a retcon, it' s possible the producers decided on this motivation after reevaluating the character.  It certainly works better than "out for kicks."

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Still, any confrontation with the man behind his father's murder should feel like an event. "Prey or Hunter, Hunter or Prey" is not that story. Pairing the two disparate villains for one issue isn't a bad idea, but the execution feels superficial. The question at the heart of the story is also nonsensical. Under what circumstances would Terry, the cocky avenger of the night, ever truly think of himself as "prey"?

"Ascension" feels closer to what the final Batman/Blight battle should be. The animation is fantastic, and the action sequences still feel intense today. Watching the episode, you're certain the producers have more planned for the character, so it lacks any sense of finality, though. It'd be interesting to see what the official return of Blight could've been. But, boy, everyone sure loved those zany episodes where the kids in school kept running into trouble...right?

So that’s all for now. If you have any suggestions for the future, just leave a comment or contact me on Twitter.

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