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Recap / Batman Beyond S1 E8 "Heroes"

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Production Credits:
  • Script: Rich Fogel
  • Production Manager: Butch Lukic
One night during a botched attempt to stop a robbery, Batman receives some help from a new group of superheroes calling themselves the Terrific Trio: Magma, Freon, and 2-D Man, who were three former scientists that became mutated in a Freak Lab Accident and gained superpowers. At first, Terry is optimistic about the new heroes' intentions and wonders if Gotham will even need Batman anymore. Bruce, however, remains skeptical that such events can work out so perfectly.


  • Alternate Company Equivalent: The "Terrific Trio", three people who gained superpowers in a scientific accident. The whole thing was a parody/deconstruction of the Fantastic Four.
  • All for Nothing: Hodges' plan to steal Mary only ends with him losing her forever. Of course, he's come to regret causing the accident to begin with.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Batman saves Gotham from being blown up, but in the ensuing fight to stop the Terrific Trio, they all die. Even Dr. Hodges, the very man who set up the accident and started it all, grieves at the loss of his friends.
  • Blessed with Suck: You know how the Thing constantly bemoans how he was turned into an ugly rock-like monster, while the rest of the Fantastic Four still look human? In this version of the story, none of the Terrific Trio can pass as normal humans any more.
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  • Captain Ersatz: The Terrific Trio strongly resemble the Fantastic Four. They all die horribly.
  • Deconstructed Trope: Of the Fantastic Four specifically, and of Freak Lab Accident superhero origin stories in general.
  • Despair Event Horizon: The Terrific Trio reach this after discovering that not only will their mutations eventually kill them but their "friend" Dr. Hodges was the one who set the "accident" up in the first place.
  • Driven to Suicide/Taking You with Me: The Terrific Trio's final plans are to overload the lab's nuclear reactor, killing not only themselves but also Dr. Hodges, along with the rest of Gotham.
  • Expy:
    • The Terrfic Trio to the Fantastic Four, although remixed a bit. Specifically, Magma's living lava form makes him an expy of both the Thing and the Human Torch, Freon's see-through mist form, flight and ice blasts have elements of both the Invisible Woman and an inverse Torch, and 2-D Man is a straight Mr. Fantastic clone. Personality wise, however, Magma has Reed Richard's role both as the leader and as the love interest to the female member.
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    • Also General Norman, who appears to be an evil expy of Nick Fury.
      • With elements of Red Hulk the 1960s and 1970s version of the Hulk's military nemesis "Thunderbolt" Ross and a Spider-Man J. Jonah Jameson mustache, to boot!
    • More subtly, Hodges is an Expy of Reed Richards.
      • Hodges shares some traits of Doctor Doom, both being jealous rivals of Magma/Mr. Fantastic.
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: "Real heroes, they make a choice. I never did."
  • Face of a Thug: Magma is deeply hurt when a little girl that he rescued from criminals remains terrified of him and calls him a monster.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: All three of the Trio, whom Batman is forced to kill to stop them from carrying out their plan to blow up Gotham. Freon and 2-D Man are sucked into a giant fan (the former screams as her body is ripped apart by the intense wind and 2-D Man is implied to be chopped to pieces by the fan blades) while Magma is sprayed with cold water, causing him to solidify completely.
  • Freak Lab Accident/Super Hero Origin: Deconstructed when the recently superpowered heroes discover that their Freak Lab Accident was not exactly an accident and was not supposed to give them superpowers. It is a chilling reminder that the line between hero and villain can be as slim as the choice one is offered. Magma even lampshades how he's not a hero because the accident robbed any choice of being one or not.
  • General Ripper: General Norman.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Hodges was always jealous of Morgan for having it all, including Mary.
  • An Ice Person: Freon.
  • I Am a Monster: Batman pleads with Magma to not destroy the city by continuing the experiment that gave them their powers, because he's a hero. Magma disagrees.
  • I'm Not a Hero, I'm...:
    Batman: I've gotta shut that thing off! Thousands of people will die! Magma! Dr. Morgan, you can't let that happen! You're a hero, remember?
    Magma: No, I'm an accident. Real heroes, they make a choice. I never did.
  • Ironic Echo: The General reminds Hodges that if the Trio found out about their deteriorating condition, then they would've become dangerously psychotic. Later:
    Dr. Hodges: But the whole city will become a hot zone! You're crazy!
    2-D Man: I believe your words were "dangerously psychotic."
  • Karma Houdini: Dr. Hodges, who gets away scot-free after effectively murdering his three colleagues. He is, however, wracked with extreme guilt at the end. General Norman also receives no comeuppance for his assault on the Trio's headquarters as well.
  • Little "No": When the Terrific Trio recreate the dangerous experiment that gave them their powers which threatens to kill thousands, after their colleague reveals it wasn't an accident:
    Dr. Hodges: Please, just turn it off!
    Magma: No.
  • Living Lava: The appropriately named Magma.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Dr. Hodges confessed of setting up the whole thing to kill Mike so that he could take Mary for himself. He didn't mean for Mary to be affected as well, nor for them to end up in their current conditions.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Dr. Hodges confesses that he had set up the accident in an attempt to murder Magma so that he could have a chance with Freon, but did not expect the other two scientists to be in the lab as well.
  • Loves My Alter Ego: Terry is clearly pleased by Matt's opinion that Batman is a much more impressive hero than the Trio ("Those guys are twips. Batman rips!"). Terry is then suddenly nicer to Matt and offers to buy him some ice-cream, something that makes Matt baffled.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: This was revealed to be the real motive of the science experiment "accident" that made the Terrific Trio what they were: Their supposed ally and colleague Howard Hodges knew beforehand the particle fusion generator was unsafe, but didn't inform them so that he could go out with Mary with Mike out of the picture. Unfortunately for both groups, Mary took part as well. The three aren't happy to find this out.
  • Mythology Gag: While the Terrific Trio look suspiciously like a certain other family of heroes, the team's name originated in the Adam West series, referring to Batman, Robin, and Batgirl after the latter had been established.
  • Palette Swap: The character "Magma" of the Terrific Trio is a simple recoloring of Batman: The Animated Series' Clayface.
  • Paper People: 2-D Man, as his name implies, is almost completely flat.
  • Properly Paranoid: Magma finds it convenient that Hodges went to the budget meeting around the time of the accident.
    Hodges: What are you implying?
    Freon: Calm down, Mike. It's not like he knew this was going to happen.
    • General Norman fears the worst:
    General Norman: How are they?
    Hodges: Angry, frustrated, confused.
    General Norman: You promised you could control them.
    Hodges: Give them time. It's a big adjustment.
    General Norman: I hope you're right, Dr. Hodges. 'Cus heaven help us if you're not.
  • Rubber Man: 2-D Man. His powers are nearly identical to that of Fantastic Four's Mr. Fantastic, although in this version of the story he's just a member while the big rock guy is the real genius and leader. Unfortunately, the Trio is Blessed with Suck, as their powers came at the cost of their decaying genetic structure. Eventually, they go psycho and do a Face–Heel Turn, forcing Batman to kill them. The 2-D Man is sucked into a high-powered fan and chopped into pieces.
  • Shout-Out: Batman becomes trapped beneath machinery (and frees himself by lifting the massive object) in a scene that is a direct reference to an iconic Spider-Man sequence, even down to the shape of the machinery trapping the character.
  • Take That!: Judging by the Terrific Trio's rather horrible deaths, it appears the episode's writer isn't a fan of the Fantastic Four.
    • Hodges seems to be based on the old fan theory that Reed Richards knew exactly what would happen to the four on their spaceflight, making him a Take That! on top of the one 2D man already represents.
    • It's also a takedown of the sorts of Saturday morning and syndicated cartoon heroes that were around before Bruce Timm's influence was widely felt. The sudden appearance of lots of toys based on the Trio and the name "2D Man" suggest the merchandise driven nature of such shows and the, er, flat characterizations found on them.
  • True Companions: For all intents and purposes, the Terrific Trio still stick by each other even as they gradually lost their sanity after discovering what's really happened to them. Freon in particular is disgusted that Hodges wanted to steal her away from Magma, and she continues to stay with him even though they can't touch anymore.
  • Was It Really Worth It?: Batman says this to Dr. Hodges, after being forced to kill the Terrific Trio.
    Batman: Satisfied?
    Dr. Hodges: (distraught) No. You don't understand, I was their friend.
    Batman: Right.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Dr. Hodges concludes that the Trio are becoming "dangerously psychotic." Their actions toward the end of the episode would seem to bear that out, although their learning that a) Hodges caused the accident in the first place in order to kill Morgan and b) their transformation is killing them, doesn't exactly help matters.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The Terrific Trio.
  • Wreathed in Flames: Or Wreathed in Lava in this case — Magma.


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