Batman The Animated Series: P.O.V.

"Oh, poor Batman, but don't feel too bad! One of you is going to burn too!"

In this Rashamon-like episode, a police sting goes disastrously wrong and the three officers involved (Bullock, Montoya, and a rookie named Wilkes) are called before Gordon and Internal Affairs to explain how everything went arse over tit.

The way episodes like this normally play out is by showing us the same event from multiple (less than reliable) perspectives before finally showing us what really happened. This ones does things a little differently. Instead of showing us three different perspectives of the same event we're shown three different perspectives of the same individual: Batman. But despite featuring him heavily, this is actually something of a Batman-lite episode. The Dark Knight takes a backseat so we can focus on the various officers of the GCPD and get their wildly different takes on Gotham's resident vigilante.

To Bullock he's nothing more than a cape wearing weirdo, an unwanted nuisance who just gets in the way of real cops like Bullock, who blunder in without backup, set the entire building on fire, and then pin all their cocks ups on the guy in the mask. To Wilkes, who is so green the Riddler could make a suit out of him, he's this superhuman figure who can shoot lasers from his fingers (really just one of his many wonderful toys). And to Montoya he's just Batman, some guy in a costume helping the cops to make Gotham a safer place.

Once the gimmick is dispensed with the episode settles into being your standard action finale as Batman and Montoya team up to fight the bad guys. At this point it feels like the show is building towards some big twist regarding the mob boss' identity, but it never actually arrives. Instead, the mob boss ends up just being some random crook. Which begs the question of why they kept the character cloaked in shadow in the first place? You don't do that if the character is a complete nobody.

The "It was team effort" ending also feels off since Bullock didn't actually contribute anything to the team. The rookie at least overheard a crucial piece of evidence that revealed where the bad guys were, what did Bullock bring to the table? All he did was cause problems and offer nothing in terms of solutions. He screwed up the sting and lied his arse off to save his own skin. He's the only one who deserved to be suspended, but instead he is let off the hook and given a pat on the back. With cops like this is it any wonder this city needs Batman.


I Know That Voice

Driller was voiced by Ron Perlman, who would go on to voice Clayface. The rookie, Wilkes, was voiced by Robbie Benson, who is probably best known for voicing the Beast in Disney's Beauty and the Beast.

Comic Book Connections 

Detective Harvey Bullock first appeared in Batman #361 (April 1983) and was created by Doug Moench and Don Newton. However, a Lt. Bullock appeared briefly in Detective Comics #441 (1974) by Archie Goodwin and Howard Chaykin. Even though there are differences between the two characters, Goodwin is legally regarded as Bullock's creator.

Renee Montoya was created for the show, but due to how the show aired actually appeared in the comics first, debuting in Batman #475 (March 1992). She later became one of the central characters of Greg Rucka, Ed Brubaker, Michael Lark's acclaimed Gotham Central series, where it was first revealed that she is a lesbian. After quitting the force when her partner was murdered by a corrupt cop, she eventually took up the mantle of The Question following the death of the original Question, Vic Sage.

Notes and Quotes

--As is so often the case, the bad guys capture Batman but never bother to remove his mask.

--Would a forklift going really fast be enough to pierce the hull of a ship? Why am I looking for logic in an animated show about a man dressed as a giant bat?

--Five cops in a room and not one of them considered that it might be "dock" instead of "doc".

--Hackle talks to Gordon like shit. Does he not realise that he's his boss too?

--When the mobster comes at Montoya with the drill, after knocking away her shotgun, she seems to forget that she still has a sidearm.

--One of mobsters literally shoots around Batman and Montoya. Even Imperial Stormtroopers aren't that bad.

Gordon: "My officers aren't liars."
--Not all of them.

Montoya: "I guess Batman must've gotten a second wind after Detective Bullock dragged him out, because he was in rare form."

Three out of four cape wearing weirdos.

Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011 More Mark Greig

2 comments:

sunbunny said...

Don't love this one. Not enough Batman. I like Montoya, but Bullock is hatable in BtAS and Wilkes is a complete non-entity. Do we ever even see him again?

Mark Greig said...

Not that I can recall, maybe as a background character.