Mister Cinecal

Mister Cinecal

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Mister Cinecal Reviews Batman 1943, Chapter 12: Embers of Evil!

Welcome to the latest installment of Mister Cinecal Reviews Batman 1943, my unwieldy-titled series which looks back at the very first Batman film and asks the important questions, like ‘Have I been spelling installment with only one l this entire time?’ and 'Would Chuck White make a good under-the-radar pornstar name?' Today is Chapter 12 in the 15 part serial: Embers of Evil!

As usual, Racist Narrator starts us off by recapping last week, telling us how "Jap spy Daka" was up to no good but Batman's aid Robin had other ideas. Usually when people say that they mean that someone effectively stopped a thing from happening, but what we are shown is Robin having the tar beaten out of him and the bad guys getting away. As with last week, their hideout is blown up with Batman and Robin supposedly still inside, but they crawl out of a trapdoor to safety. I'm pretty sure here wasn't a trapdoor last week but shenanigans like that are hardly surprising at this point. Batman must have used the trusty Bat-Make-A-Trapdoor-Appear-Spray he always keeps in his utility belt. "I'm glad we missed that!" Robin says as the hideout explodes, astute as always.

We cut to Daka, who appears to just be having a nice drink with his American traitor mates, until one of his gangsters(I think this one is called Bernie? Just insert your own old-timey name and you won't be too far wrong) shows up with important news. He has found Marshall, the guy Batman pumped for information both in the Batcave and in jail under his Chuck White disguise. Now after an unmasking at the now-exploded hideout in last week's chapter, the bad guys know at least that 'Chuck White' and Batman are theH same person. When Daka is told that Marshall and Chuck were seen being very chummy in prison, he decides that Marshall has to die. He tells Bernie to visit his cell and give him a gift. "Special cigarettes" he says, ie Obviously Poisoned Cigarettes
Know Your Mythology gangsters. Medusa wasn't a fun time
Bernie somehow doesn't pick up on the fact these "special cigarettes" are meant to kill Marshall, even when Daka tells him to be sure not to use them himself. I mean, I suppose if you were asking someone to deliver a batch of cupcakes to a friend for a gift you would tell them not to have any themselves, but come on! Medusa Cigarettes? Where did Daka even get those?

Bruce and Dick are called in to the same police station that Bernie is just leaving to see Captain Arnold, Gotham's Chief Wiggum-like authority who pops up every few chapters to go "gee it's a good thing Batman is around because we just do not have a handle on things at all". He tells them that they've just picked up Marshall, one of the goons who was hassling Bruce and Dick a while back. Just picked up? That was weeks ago Arnold, that was mid-July! Unfortunately when he takes them in to see Marshall, he's dead. And there is no way of telling how, that's for sure. Certainly not via that pack of cigarettes with the monster's face on them lying right by Marshall's corpse, which Bruce pockets. It's his turn with the thinking cap this week.

Bruce takes the cigarettes back to his lab and discovers that, of course, they're poisoned. He calls Captain Arnold, using his Batman Voice (his normal voice saying "this is the Batman")self and that poor old Bernie was responsible. Hey World's Greatest Detective, you don't know that! Bernie just thought he was delivering a thoughtful gift to a friend!

"Marshall has died. Of a heart attack." Daka tells his goons. I'm not sure why he's suddenly so shy about them knowing that he'll kill them for failing him, he was pretty openly tossing them to his crocodiles not so long ago. He...sort of blames Batman for this death, saying that it's the fourth death while Batman has been after them and that Batman needs to be finally taken care of. "But we killed Batman!" one goon pipes up, as they do several times per chapter. It seems that Daka has finally caught on though, as he says that Batman is almost definitely still alive, and that it's still possible that there's more than one. This for me is pretty incredible. More than one character is thinking coherently this week. If there's a fight scene that isn't just awkward punches in a warehouse I'm going to flip my shit.

Daka concocts a plan to kidnap Linda Page by luring her with her brainwashed uncle. She sees him going by in a car and decides to follow. Daka has realised that Batman always shows up whenever Linda is in trouble so he can use her as bait. I don't know what kind of weird situation Daka thinks is going on when he knows Batman digs Linda but he thinks there's more than one Batman. She is always hanging around abandoned warehouses...

...um anyway, Bruce tries to call Linda's place, but is given a message that she went to yet another abandoned place after she saw her uncle. He tells Robin they're going after her because he's a "jealous suitor". You don't need to be coy around Robin dude, I'm pretty sure he knows you're Batman.

Linda is tied up in the old Ajax Metal Works, but she's taking it pretty well. She seems more mildly annoyed than anything. If I'm going to give this serial props for something, and I rarely do, Linda isn't as bad as a 40s damsel-in-distress could be. She's reasonably proactive and doesn't spend much time screaming desperately for help. I bet she's honestly relieved to get away from Bruce and Dick's smug smirking faces from time to time. Bruce shows up at the metal works asking for her, but is turned away by a gangster. "Just some dressed up dude looking for that girl" the gangster tells his comrades. He really does say dude. I looked it up and the old timey meaning of 'dude' was more a dandy, or foppish kind of fellow. Most likely from an old German word meaning 'fool'. Dudes, Batman taught me something other than 'the Japanese should be locked up forever'. I'm scared.

Sneaking back in as Batman and Robin, they lure the gangsters in with a smoke bomb and emerge from the smoke to attack. Unfortunately, they knock one of the goon's cigarette (non-poisoned) out of his mouth and a fire starts. Robin calls the fire brigade while Batman goes searching for Linda. Apparently he needn't worry, because the gangster who was with Linda carefully escorts her to safety. "We need to get out of here!" he says. How considerate. The fire brigade is on their way, but Batman is trapped, frantically searching for his ladyfriend who is actually safe and sound! No you fool! Get out while you still can! Batman is in danger because of actual emotions, Daka is actually learning, Linda has found her uncle but is still under gangster-related threat. The thing they mentioned in the title actually showed up! They haven't even been that racist recently! Is Batman 1943 daring to get good? Malky Mackay Narrator previews next week, telling us:

"There's Daka with a new and larger radium gun and he was the radium to make it work! Can Robin find the secret hideout? Don't fail to see 'Eight Steps Down', Chapter 13 of Batman, at this theatre next week!"

Eight Steps Down sounds like a shitty 90s rock band, but be sure to check out my review of it next weeks, same Hack Time, same Hack Channel!

Check out previous chapters!

  • Chapter 1: The Electrical Brain!
  • Chapter 2: The Bat's Cave!
  • Chapter 3: Mark of the Zombies
  • Chapter 4: Slaves of the Rising Sun!
  • Chapter 5: The Living Corpse!
  • Chapter 6: Poison Peril! Chapter 7: The Phoney Doctor!
  • Chapter 8: Lured by Radium!
  • Chapter 9: The Sign of the Sphinx!
  • Chapter 10: Flying Spies!
  • Chapter 11: A Nipponese Trap!
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