Return of the Fearsome Fangs! | Episode 11
Aired: February 20, 2009
Heroes: Jonah Hex, Batman, and Bronze Tiger
Supporting: Master Wong Fei
Villains: The Royal Flush Gang (Ace, King, Queen, and Jack), Shadow Clan, The Terrible Trio (Fox, Shark, and Vulture), and Top
Objects: Utility Belt, Five Deadly Venoms, Batmobile, and Wudang Totem
Places: Earth 23, Wudang Temple, Gotham City, and Hong Kong
Written By: Todd Casey
Directed By: Brandon Vietti
Review By Yojimbo
"Return of the Fearsome Fangs!" is a kung fu epic that oddly starts off in the Wild West. Batman has been reinterpreted countless times over the years but the focal point of this story is the costume along with some kung fu butt licking and redemption.
People of the 19th century such as Jonah Hex and Master Wong Fei disregard Batman's fashion sense but isn't the man who makes the clothes, not the reverse? With Batman's desire to take back what was stolen from him, the suit is an extension of his will and the mantle of the bat.
The opening sequence stars Batman and Jonah Hex in the 1800's. Probably from just another time fissure, Batman saves Hex from a Royal Flush Gang minus a Ten. Aside from some antics with cactus, Hex urges Batman to dress proper to the times.
The main story revolves around contrasting ideologies clashing together. Batman fights for justice and to regain control of his life. Bronze Tiger fights for pride but has found something more valuable to protect. The Terrible Trio is anarchistic and live for the thrill of battle, a different kind of pride. With the passing of their former master, Wong Fei, it becomes a battle over the Wudang Totem, an object that gives its owners power at the cost of being transformed into man beasts.
An interesting point was the growth of Bronze Tiger. He began as a poor man swollen with pride. As a student, Tiger strived for perfection and became the best but he wouldn't show respect for his master, who seemed like a father figure, as well. Unable to come to gripes with Master Wong Fei's teachings, Tiger leaves Wudang. Somewhere along the way, he stays at a village and becomes its protector. Away from the world, Bronze Tiger's pride grows even more until an outside agent, Batman, jilts him to help save the world. He soon realizes the error of his ways when he goes after Fox instead of the Wudang Totem and watches as Batman falls to his imminent death. Of course, we know Batman is always prepared. In any case, in the final showdown, Bronze Tiger sheds his ego and outsmarts his hated enemy, Fox. In the end, Bronze Tiger's story reaches full circle as he decides to continue Master Wong Fei's legacy and protect Wudang from outsiders.
For the long time fans, the episode was with several Kung Fu cult classic movie references. Wudang is often used in the movies, appearing in recent mainstream films such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. When Fox uses a dart to kill Master Wong Fei, it is named the Five Deadly Venoms. This references a cult movie about martial artists that belong to the Poison Clan and each represent a deadly animal like the scorpion. Master Wong Fei is also an adaptation of a historical figure and folk hero in China. His appearance on the show is also a tribute to the classic image of a Chinese martial arts master with the long flowing white beard, obscure lessons, and fantastic fighting techniques.
Different degrees of pride interact in "Return of the Fearsome Fangs!" but in the face of evil, the common good always will triumph.