Monday, December 9, 2013

Loonatics Unleashed - The Fall of Blanc, Part 1 (Snark)

NOTE: I was touching up the review of the episode before this one, and somehow the system converted it into a brand new review that was moved to the top of the article postings. Since I can't seem to find a way to put it back, and that episode leads straight into this one, you should go here  and read that before reading on. There's a link back for when you're done.

Last time on Premise That Never Stood a Chance, a disgruntled musician blackmailed the Loonatics into making him a guitar that could control the fabric of the universe. After he stole Zadavia’s rainbow powers to juice it up, the Loonatics were more concerned with saving their leader than keeping almighty power out of the hands of a nutso desperate for attention. That is, until they realized the first thing he was probably going to do with his newfound powers was to find and team up with their nemesis, Optimatus.

Before we get underway, it seems I owe Charlie Adler an apology. Back in the last Loonatics review his character showed up in I said he was terrible at portraying serious villains. There’s at least one very notable exception I forgot, but that exception’s Tex Hex. He was intended as a goofy underling on Ghostbusters but they were smart enough to decide "this guy needs to be the head villain in a show of his own." And comparing a skunk-haired cyborg who looks like a low-rent 80’s rocker and tosses rainbows around to a cowboy space zombie who throws black magic around ain’t no comparison at all.

As for our prologue, Daffy’s on monitor duty when he decides to get a snack, only for Taz, who apparently lives in the kitchen, to get designs on Daffy’s hero sandwich himself. Do the other Loonatics have to fight him off anytime they want food? With how how Wile E. had to come up with capture devices to stop him from stealing food as far back as the pilot episode, the answer appears to be yes.

Daffy teleports back into the monitor room to find that in the thirty seconds he was gone, Tweety, ruler of Blanc, the most important planet in the universe, left about ten progressively worse holo-voice mails as some unseen enemy destroys his palace and decimates his (robotic, of course) armies.

Tweety “comedically” says in one of them he hopes Daffy’s listening and not just off making a sandwich. We’re supposed to be mad at him for slacking off, but as I just said, all these messages piled up in thirty seconds. He went to get a snack, not take a nap (He also teleported there and back, thank you very much). And as we saw from “The Heir Up There,” Acmetropolis and Blanc are several hours apart at least. Even if Daffy had been there as Tweety called for help and told the other Loonatics right away, and they’d jumped in their spaceship without delay and flown to Blanc at full burn, there’s still no way they would’ve gotten there in time to make a difference. And that's assuming that these transmissions can instantly reach between planets in this show, which is probably the case, and there's no lag time between when something's sent and when it's received like in real life.

Daffy deletes the message, only to turn around and see the rest of the team was there all along. What are they doing there if they trust Daffy enough to put him on monitor duty in the first place? And when they think a guy with power over the universe is going to be teaming up with their archenemy any time now, yet? A minute later they’ve boarded Optimatus’s ship and are on the way to pick up the pieces on Blanc.

And if we could pause for a second, let's remember who handed the keys to ultimate power to Keyboard Man, hmmm? Did Wile E. have to give him a working cosmic guitar? Is that going to be another  untold legend of the Loonatics? About the time they gave a whacko the key to ultimate power for the sake of one person's life? A person who, really, should be the last one letting them do that?

Daffy’s being forced to wear a big goofy Knight of the Realm costume per Tweety’s request, even though Daffy’s spot-on when he declares “Every time I deal with chicken nugget, I’m the one who ends up needing stitches.” He and Sylvester actually bonded some over that, remember? Yet the say-so of a sadistic little bird’s good enough for the rest of the Loonatics.

Wile E. and Roadrunner have stayed behind to monitor things, and Wile E. reports that he’s getting weird readings from wormholes all over the galaxy and thinks Keyboard Man must be behind it. You mean to say you’re expecting exactly what you already expect?? Wile E. even goes so far as to confirm this, because he put a tracker on the cosmic guitar that lets him see Keyboard Man freeing Optimatus. From that chair he was chained to on the little checkerboard platform floating in the middle of space, which will never be explained.

Zadavia, despite being depowered and never joining them in the field even when she still had her rainbows, is on hand as well and finally explains what makes planet Blanc so important. Oh man, this is gonna suck. It’s at the exact center of the universe, “which makes it the center of all wormholes.”

“Kinda like Grand Central Wormhole,” Bugs not-so-wittily adds. “Optimatus could use the wormholes to strike anywhere, at any time,” Zadavia warns. Just saying, but that’s basically what the bad guy from Tattooed Teenage Alien Fighters from Beverly Hills wanted. Are you sure you want to go there?

The caveat to using Blanc as a staging ground for universal conquest is without Tweety’s scepter, “he’d never find his way out.” Why is the royal token of power always something really obvious? Why not make it an ordinary-looking rock that’s a slightly lighter shade of gray in the back of the royal rose bed or something?

Upon their arrival, Bugs actually tells the powerless Zadavia she’d better stay behind. Why is she there to begin with? How many times has she contributed anything that the Loonatics didn’t specifically ask for but warnings of a crime in progress? Daffy sheds everything of his stupid royal costume except for a necklace which is in no way conveniently the real reason Tweety wanted him to wear it. Nope, not at all.

As they fly off Bugs asks why Daffy insisted on ditching his costume, and Daffy says he refuses to go into battle wearing anything that makes him feel he should be saying “trick or treat.” I also notice he had the visor up on his helmet through most of the ride there, presumably because he had trouble seeing out of it. And like knight helmet visors in anything comedic, it’s always slamming shut over the wearer’s eyes. Does that sound like a good idea considering you’re expecting a fight, you’re expecting a fight with your worst enemy, and how the fate of the universe is at stake in that fight, oh Great Leader?

The Loonatics arrive in Tweety’s throne room and find themselves confronted not just by Keyboard Man, but by Optimatus too. Bugs tries valiantly for some witty banter by asking if Optimatus gets cable on his bionic eye. Oh look, our hero’s mocking someone’s deformity. That’s great. He gets told in reply, “You’re an annoying creature.” I’m liking you better already, pal.

The fight begins, with Taz ultimately thrown into the engine of a space train. A space train? Why, that can only mean…


Deuce has been rescued from the far reaches of the universe by the other villains. He shows he hasn’t exactly changed for the better by shooting his buddy Keyboard Man away from his guitar, and then using the instrument with control over the universe to…simply shoot a laser and collapse the roof on the Loonatics and KM’s heads. Which they escape from completely unharmed after the bad guys are gone, of course.

Trotting out those Batmanesque Detective Skills™ of his once again, Bugs figures out Optimatus hasn’t actually captured Tweety and taken control of the wormholes yet, otherwise why would he still be there? Uh, to eliminate the threat of a supposedly dangerous superhero team before beginning his universal conquest so they don’t sneak up and kick him in the butt while his mind’s on a campaign?

Bugs is right, and we see Optimatus and Deuce splitting up, Optimatus to find Tweety and Deuce to run some kind of errand with the cosmic guitar. The Loonatics interrogate Keyboard Man, but all they really learn is he and Deuce were already partners planning universal domination, explaining why after saving Optimatus they saved Deuce from his out-of-control space train. Not that it matters all that much, since Keyboard Man's locked up and gone forever after this. The Loonatics leave to find Tweety, not splitting up even though they have an entire planet in which to find a tiny yellow bird, and are competing with an evil would-be galactic overlord to do so. 

Deuce suddenly shows up to confront Zadavia, but that I buy since it’s Optimatus’s former ship and he could’ve told Deuce some secret way in. Zadavia tries to attack him, but since she has no powers, no weapons and spends all her time sitting around letting the Loonatics do everything, it’s not too surprising when an actual warrior immediately takes her down. Deuce hijacks the ship and flies away, stranding the Loonatics.

Speaking of, they happen to fly past Sylvester’s cell while cruising through the endless, random passages of Blanc. He asks them to let him out, claiming to be a “good ol’ putty tat now” and saying he knows Blanc like the back of his hand. The whole planet, huh? Maybe if we’re talking about Phleebhut, which has nothing but sand, a single tourist trap and a giant snake. A place with random snaking passages right out of Escher’s nightmares? Pull the other one, putty tat.

Daffy doubts his sincerity but they agree to needing the help. Even though Bugs confides, “I gotta go with Duckster on this one. I don’t trust puss in boots any farther than I can throw him.” Is that saying applicable to someone like him? Bugs is a superhero and I know Taz is the strong one, but Bugs is supposed to be a black belt in six kinds of space judo or something. He probably could throw Sylvester pretty far if he got him from the right angle. I know that's an extremely nitpicky thing to fixate on, even for me, but they just didn't think about that at all. And that's something I can say about Bugs' one-liners, jokes, catchphrases...anything and everything that comes out of this character's mouth.

Taz busts Sylvester out, and is able to steal and eat Sylvester’s sandwich even though his suit has a bubble helmet.

Deuce flies his sip to the Acmetropolis railyard, because evidently the Loonatics just left the space train with his robo-soldiers there after Bugs crashed the space train before. And nobody had any problems with them just leaving a bunch of evil robo-soldiers there. After what they did to Dr. Dare, though, I can honestly say nothing these morons do surprises me. Enrage me, but not surprise me. And Roadrunner takes off to get to the scene before Wile E. even knows he’s gone. In fact Roadrunner apparently got there so fast he went back in time, because we see the ship arriving in the same spot for a second time while he’s waving to Wile E. on the TV.

The two lingering Loonatics confront Deuce, and confirm what he’s there for as well as that Bugs’s magic sword is the only thing that can activate the robots. Surely something that can give its wielder control over the universe couldn’t manage that as well, something that Deuce obviously has strapped to his back! Something that was built by one of the Loonatics present!

Also, Deuce is only coming to get his army now, meaning he didn’t have it when Tweety called Daffy for help. Meaning the three bad guys brought Blanc to its knees by themselves. I know Optimatus is supposed to be super-duper powerful as the show’s biggest bad guy and all, and Keyboard Man has control over the universe with his guitar, but he sure is unimaginative with its offensive capabilities. You’d think a planet as important as Blanc would be defended well enough to last more than a minute against three guys.

Roadrunner distracts Deuce, who still only uses a universal control implement to shoot lasers, until Wile E. manages to trap him in a net. Roadrunner congratulates him on inventing something that works, and again I wonder what the hell the writers were paying attention to. Whenever they need somethingto get out of a corner, it’s something Wile E. invented, and it always works. The closest they come to not working is when one of his pea-brained teammates tries to use one without knowing how or what it does. In this case it does fail because a net can’t stand up to one of Deuce’s universal hard-rock laser blasts, and another flattens the heroes.
The episode proceeds to then sit on my last nerve, as the Loonatics find Tweety, but he’s so freaked by Sylvester being with them that he explodes, turning out to be a…robot decoy. I hate robot decoys. I don’t think there’s ever been a cheaper plot device to get a character out of a tight spot. And then Optimatus finds Tweety, but he turns out to be a robot decoy. One with a large-ish bomb that goes off in his face. We don’t see him covered in soot, but that’s not doing this villain’s intimidation factor any favors

One of them shows a message from the real Tweety, who recorded it in the bath. Oh great, his planet’s being invaded, his people are being attacked, and the whole universe is hanging in the balance, but heaven forfend he get a speck of dirt on him through any of it. I might not even mind so much if this show was halfway decent at balancing its action and humor.

By the way, notice the one thing Blanc doesn’t seem to have is people living there? No wonder it was so easy to conquer.

Back on Acmetropolis, Deuce activates his robots and herds them into the ship, giving vent to a good old-fashioned evil laugh before we pan into a to be continued message in his mouth.

Next time, it’s the last time! The Loonatics’ final stand!

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