This is 500 words about a Batman episode. This is the BATMAN 500.
I didn’t remember “Prophecy of Doom” when it showed up as the next episode on my DVD. Usually, I have faint inklings of memory in regards to even the most forgettable episodes – some weird clip or moment that my childhood brain decided to capture and store away for later use. But I remembered nothing about “Prophecy Of Doom.” It’s a title that could lend itself to literally any Batman plot. Any time a villain predicts that they will take over Gotham, they’re technically making a “prophecy of doom.” And when I watched it, I totally understood why it didn’t appeal to me as a child: Because my younger self was stupid.
Not really. It’s just that “Prophecy Of Doom” isn’t a very explosive episode, and it features none of Batman’s traditional villains. Also, there are a few themes in it that I can appreciate as an adult that young Daniel wouldn’t have cared for. As I grow up, I watch people my own age attempt to make sense of the world. This yearning for some kind of order can manifest itself in religion or dramatic changes in their lifestyle, or in being terribly annoying. In “Prophecy of Doom,” we meet Nostromos, a man who has convinced a large number of people to join a cult-like following that hangs on his every word. He “predicts” when bad things will happen, and can thus control his followers’ lives. And every time a guy that I met in college messages me on Facebook to tell me that society is crumbling, and that I need to buy his special stones/herbs/self-published guides to save myself…, man. “Prophecy of Doom” is basically telling children “You know why it’s hard to make friends as an adult? Because a lot of them believe in the weirdest shit and won’t shut the hell up about it.”
“Prophecy of Doom” has decent animation, but a great final set piece involving Batman fighting Nostromos’ henchman in a giant orbiting model of the solar system. And no, I didn’t spell that wrong. The entire climax involves Batman fighting one buff guy: Lucas, who beats the crap out of Batman for a little bit. Lucas might be the most competent hand-to-hand fighter on the show so far, as Batman is totally unprepared for how many flying kicks Lucas does. And when Batman decides “Screw it, I’m gonna suplex Lucas over the railing of this catwalk,” Lucas grabs Batman’s cape as he falls, bringing them into BOSS BATTLE PHASE 2 of the fight, which takes place inside one of the planet models. In terms of being a formidable threat, Lucas is in the top 3 Batman villains on the show so far, just trailing behind Two-Face and gravity.
Nostromos is another villain that we’ll never see again, and I don’t have a problem with that. “Prophecy of Doom” could only devote about six minutes to a plot about scamming rich people before it started spinning its wheels, so another episode would’ve been fruitless.