Batman: The Animated Series

Episode 18- Beware the Gray Ghost
harkovast at 7:29AM, May 16, 2011
(online)
posts: 5,198
joined: 10-12-2008
Plot Synopsis

The city is held for ransom by someone calling themselves “The Mad Bomber” and Batman realises that the crimes are modelled after an old TV show called The Gray Ghost.
Batman enlists the help of Simon Trent, the actor who once played the Gray Ghost to help bring the Mad Bomber to justice.

Highlights

Villains


In this episode the villain is not a main focus of events, but The Mad Bomber is never the less a fun character.
This episodes benefits from a really cool mystery. It is genuinely unclear who the mad bomber is until he is finally revealed.
His true identity is actually the toy shop owner to whom a destitute Simon Trent has been selling his old Grey Ghost Merchandise to.
He appears as a very minor part early on, being presented as friendly and helpful to Trent. In fact we get the impression that he is going out of his way to help the aging actor out of a sense of admiration, buying merchandise that he knows he cant really sell. Interestingly, the Mad Bomber is voiced by series creator Bruce Timm, which makes the scene of him smashing a Batman toy in frustration rather delightfully meta.
Before his defeat, The Mad Bomber gives a wonderful speech about “Oh the power of the toy!” and you can tell Bruce Timm is just loving it.

Batcrap Crazy

The Mad Bomber is obsessive in his desire for more toys to add to his collection. He says of his toys “They can eat money… boy can they eat money.”
Earlier we see him buying merchandise from Trent that he himself admits he has no real hope of selling. Though we initially think this is out of a desire to help Trent, in hind sight this was a sign of the Mad Bombers obsessive insanity. His desire to possess more and more toys over rides his business sense or ability to handle money. This is a man who really cant say no to the chance to add to his collections.
He takes this to the extreme of attacking the city with a fleet of toy cars filled with high explosives.
He doesn't show any regret for his actions, in fact he seems pretty proud of what he's been doing.
During his final defeat his base is destroyed, obliterating his entire collection (and his shop, Yestertoys) causing the Mad Bomber to suffer a complete mental break down as all that he has worked toward and poured his heart into comes to nothing.


ADAM WEST! ADAM WEST! ADAM WEST!
Haha, okay I've danced around the point here for the long enough.
Simon Trent is voiced by Adam West, the actor who played Batman throughout the long running 1960's Batman TV series.
Effectively this episode serves as a passing of the torch from the previous iconic incarnation of Batman to the new one.
In the storyline the Grey Ghost inspires Batman as his childhood hero, planting the seeds for his later career as a crime fighter. Batman meets with his idol gets to thank him for the inspiration he gave.
In the same way, the show is effectively thanking an older incarnation of the character for its contribution to the Batman legacy.
A lot of people give the Adam West show a hard time, and to them I say-
“SHARK REPELANT BAT SPRAY!”
The old show was awesome.
It was camp and silly, but that was the point! It was funny, and silly and good natured, with everyone over acting and taking the nonsense far too seriously.
Yes, it was a different take on Batman, but that doesn't make it bad.
Its a really great show and frankly I think its kinda criminal that you cant get the old show on DVD or Bluray or something, because I would rush out and buy it right now!
Also there is perhaps a sad turn to what we see here, as Adam West was type caste as Batman which affected the rest of his career, the same problem that has befallen Trent.
What is really clever here is that the episode works just fine if you don't realise this clever subtext (as I didn't watching it as a child for the first time.)
The story is both moving and exciting, as initially Trent doesn't seem to have any of the spirit of the hero he once portrayed. This leads to an excellent exchange.
Batman-“I used to admire what the Gray Ghost stood for.”
Trent- “I'm not the Gray Ghost”
Batman- “I see that now.”
By his very nature, Batman idealises his childhood and the things that shaped it.
So goes to Trent expecting him to in some way live up the hero he watched all those years ago.
Eventually, Trent comes through and actually becomes the hero for real, swinging in to rescue Bruce from the Mad Bomber and saving the day.

Holy Shitty Moment Batman!
In one places the Batmobile bends as it comes over a hill, due to an error in the animation. But if something like that can spoil such a great episode for you, then get the hell out of here!

Summary
Emotional, exciting, with a real surprise at the end and loads of REALLY cool explosions (seriously, the explosions here look fantastic!) this episode is a must see.
Look, you've got Kevin Conroy and Adam West joining forces to fight Bruce Timm!
A veritable Batgasm!

Final Bat Score
5 out of 5.

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last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
EssayBee at 10:27AM, June 21, 2011
(online)
posts: 154
joined: 11-10-2009
“Look, you've got Kevin Conroy and Adam West joining forces to fight Bruce Timm!”

Really, I don't think you have to say anything else about the episode other than that single line.

And it's good to see someone else who remembers the ol' Shark Repellant Bat Spray. I always thought that a rack of various animal-repellant Bat Sprays was something sorely missing from The Dark Knight; I mean, he would've had a much easier time in the beginning and end of that movie if he had only remembered his Rottweiler Repellant Bat Spray.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
harkovast at 11:33AM, June 21, 2011
(online)
posts: 5,198
joined: 10-12-2008
Christian Bale wouldn't know what hit him if he went up against Adam West!
BIFF!
POW!
KER-SPLAT!
Adam West would definitely be trashing his scene.

For more Harkovast related goings on, go to the Harkovast Forum
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM

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