Featured Screen Shot
Robin: I thought vulchers only ate dead meat.
Kid Flash: Yeah, these are some very proactive scavengers.
Synopsis "Alpha Male"
September 10th – Hamilton Hill, the Mayor of Gotham City, is on vacation in Northern India. Hill, an avid big game hunter, has dismissed his local guides who were telling tales of “devil beasts” and is tracking an endangered Indian tiger with his two companions. They eventually find the magnificent specimen beneath an isolated tree. Just as Hill has the tiger in his scope three mechanical probes extend from the ground and stuns it unconscious. Hill’s surprised party turns to face a noise from behind them and come face-to-face with a gorilla carrying a mini-gun. Hill escapes into the undergrowth, but his fellow hunters are cut down by the mini-gun’s fire.
September 23rd – It is the morning following the Red Torpedo and Inferno’s trespass into the Cave and the abduction and reprogramming of the Red Tornado (“Homefront”). The other members of the Justice League repair and upgrade the Cave’s systems, while Batman, Green Arrow, and Black Canary debrief the Team. The teen heroes are angry that they were overwhelmed by a supervisor who was meant to be looking out for them. However, they quickly turn on their own leader, Aqualad, when Superboy overhears him telling Batman that Sportsmaster had boasted about having a mole on the Team (“Targets”). Batman cuts through their heated argument with one word (“Enough!”) and tells the Team that in the Tornado’s absence Captain Marvel has volunteered to be the first in a rotating batch of supervisors. Superboy wants to hunt down the Tornado, but Batman over rules him and tells them that, as Tornado was a member of League, his disappearance will remain the League’s business.
Instead of hunting the Tornado the Batman dispatches the team to hunt for the mysterious gorilla who shot at Mayor’s Hamilton Hill party. Even Robin is incredulous about the mission, but Batman says its just one of other very credible reports and pointedly tells Aqualad to lead “his team” to Northern India. The jovial Captain Marvel accompanies them, but his desire to help is mistaken by Robin and Kid Flash as distrust in their abilities. They prepare to reconnoitre, but Robin and Kid Flash refuse to review the mission parameters. Robin reminds Aqualad that they started their own team specifically because the Justice League had kept secrets from them before he leaves to scout the area with Kid Flash. Superboy’s own anger is driven by a heavy-handed desire to protect Miss Martian, but she chafes against his protectionism and heads out with Artemis. Superboy then bounces off on his own. Aqualad if left with Captain Marvel to ponder if they even are a Team any more.
Eyes watch the dispersing teen heroes from the jungle undergrowth. Aqualad and Captain Marvel find gorilla footprints and confirm part of Hill’s story, but their investigation is cut short by a rumble from the jungle. Two massive elephants step into the clearing. They are unnaturally large and aggressive, their skin is ripped showing bulging muscles beneath, and bony spikes pierce their skins. The first mutant elephant is easily strong enough to withstand Marvel’s superstrong punches and throws him aside. He picks himself up, but find himself staring at the face of the tiger, also augmented, that Hill had been hunting. Both the mutant tiger and elephants have high-tech collars around their necks. Elsewhere Superboy is attacked by a pack of augmented wolves led by a giant white specimen, Robin and Kid Flash are attacked by super-sized vultures, and Miss Martian and Artemis are attacked by mutant crocodiles. Robin’s recognises that the animals have been injected with Kobra Venom (“Drop-Zone”).
The mutant animals attack the heroes, but are a match to their strength and stamina. It’s Aqualad who recognises that the collars around their necks are agitating them, making them unnaturally aggressive. He destroys the collar around the nearest elephant causing it to become docile and wander back into the forest. Aqualad realises that the collars denote an intelligence behind these attacks. The comms are jammed and Aqualad is annoyed that Miss Martian failed to link them up telepathically. However, the Captain points out that it was actually Aqualad’s failure for not making her link them up. He cites Batman’s example from the Cave – the leader should had taken command. Miss Martian then makes contact herself and tells Aqualad about their own encounter. She adds the final piece of the puzzle by noting the similarity of the collar design with that used in Belle Reve (“Homefront”).
Captain Marvel spots the mutant tiger again (“Cool. The Tiger!”) and rushes off after it before Aqualad can stop him. The tiger leads him into a clearing, but its a trap and Marvel is floored by an inhibitor field. The mysterious gorilla emerges to stand over him. The Captain later awakes to find himself strapped down to a surgical table in a laboratory. He is wearing an inhibitor collar that allows him to speak, but otherwise stops him from moving. He is addressed by a disembodies voice with a French accent. It talks about a surgical procedure to study the effect of his powers on his brain by removing it from his body. The voice them tells Mallah, the gorilla who is now dressed in surgical scrubs and a red beret, to prepare for surgery.
Aqualad orders Miss Martian to link the Team telepathically, but they all start grumbling again. He lets them bicker for a time before cutting them off with “Enough! Captain Marvel has been captured and we must act as a Team to save him”. Aqualad shuts Robin up before he can argue again and tells him the matter is finished until the mission is over – they can replace him as leader then if they so choose, but until that time he remains in command and demands their obedience. The Team (minus Superboy who is still wrestling with his white wolf) finds the laboratory and cooperate under Aqualad’s direction to deactivate the force field surrounding it. That brings them into conflict with the laboratory’s second line of defence – a troop of mutant macaques. Aqualad orders them to target the monkey’s control collars so they can remove them from the conflict without harming them further.
Mallah leaves the surgery to bolster the defences and smells the invisible Miss Martian trying to sneak pass him. He knocks her down and the rebuffs Kid Flash’s counter attack. Meanwhile, Captain Marvel is trying to reason with his captor that extracting his brain isn’t so smart, but it’s a line of reasoning lost on the Brain (literally a brain in a jar). The Brain is about to activate the cutting lasers when the mutant tiger leaps cross the surgical table and sends the Brain and his instruments clattering across the floor. The Brain shocks the tiger for defending Marvel and is gloating over him when Mallah comes flying through the laboratory’s concrete outer wall, a victim of Miss Martian’s telekinesis.
Kid Flash recognises the Brain, but the Team have run into a trap. Stun probes extend from the ground and paralyse the Team. Miss Martian’s telekinesis is still working and she uses it to snatch the controls from Mallah, deactivating the field. Superboy then bursts into the room with the white wolf (now collarless and his friend). They circle Mallah and the Brain while Aqualad frees Captain Marvel. However, the Brain refuses to be captured. The laboratory lights cut out for a few seconds, but when the illumination returns the Brain and Mallah have vanished. The Captain has removed the tiger’s collar in gratitude for saving him. He then asks the tiger, who he names Mister Tawny, to look after the other animals and promises to visit. The white wolf and Superboy have bonded and he jokingly asks if can keep him.
Robin asks Aqualad why he kept the mole existence a secret. Aqualad then admits to them that the source of the tip was the Sportsmaster. Artemis exclaims that he can’t be trusted and Aqualad agrees, but says he still had to consider the possibility that either it was true or that the Sportsmaster was trying to sow discord in their ranks – either way he needed to keep the information secret until he could ascertain which was true. Robin concedes his point and the Team unanimously vote to keep Aqualad as their leader.
Captain Marvel leaves them to return to the Cave while he flies back to Fawcett City and to the apartment he shares with his Uncle Dudley. The Captain excitedly tells him about hanging out with the Team and how they were so much more fun than the League. Dudley tells him to get some sleep, but has to remind him to transform. Captain Marvel shouts his magic word “Shazam” and is transformed back young Billy Batson, a boy who is actually young than the Team he was supervising as Captain Marvel.
- Hamilton Hill is attacked on September 10th prior to the events of “Terrors”. The Team’s investigation takes place on September 23rd, the morning after the events of “Homefront”.
- In the Red Tornado’s absence the Team will be supervised by a rotating panel of Justice League supervisors. The first of these is Captain Marvel.
- Captain Marvel flying back to Fawcett City. It was a nice coda which I hope will be followed up in a future episode.
- Tigers are an endangered species and it is illegal to hunt them in India is illegal as far as I know. The oddity here isn’t actually the legality, its that an American would have to go to India to find a tiger as it’s widely believed that there are more tigers in captivity in the USA than there remaining in the wild in India! Then again Hill could always have gone to Ohio.
- Why was the Brain testing Kobra Venom on Northern Indian wildlife?
The set up with the mutant animals seemed like a red herring, but Batman “never jokes about the mission.” It was a great and inventive change of pace over last episode’ s Die Hard pastiche. What the episode really did was to allow Aqualad to step up as the team’s leader. He’s likeable and experienced, but he doesn’t have the intensity or charisma that some other leaders do. That can make the character seem slightly bland or passive at times so it was nice to see him take the team to task for their lack of professionalism. The animation on the animals was brilliant and showed real observation of wildlife and its actions.
Wow, Captain Marvel sure has a thick neck. It’s like he isn’t even trying to fit in with the laws of physics and is instead following Billy Batson’s idea of what a superhero would look like. Nevertheless, the Captain’s appearance was great fun and was a useful balance against the bicking Team. There is always a danger with these episodes that they’ll introduce something annoying that will run too long. Superboy’s aggression, the traitor arc, Wally’s flirting with Megan, and quite a few other beats could be really get old fast, but the writers seem careful to keep a lid on them. Concepts or ideas run for a few episodes, but are shelved or addressed before they become formulaic.
|Character Site||The Captain's Justice League Homepage||Jason Kirk||3.5/5|