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Recap / The New Batman Adventures E23 "Beware the Creeper"

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Batman: Who are you?
The Creeper: They call me... "Yellow-Skinned Wacky Man!" But I prefer The Creeper!
Robin: Call Arkham, quick.

Reporter Jack Ryder presents an account of the Joker's origin story, broadcast live from the very spot where he fell into a vat of chemicals seven years earlier. However, the Clown Prince of Crime himself drops in and decides to present his own version of the events, dosing Ryder and his crew with laughing gas and then tossing Ryder into a chemical vat in a macabre re-enactment.

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Batman and Robin arrive, having seen the Joker's intrusion on live TV. The resulting battle ends with the chemical plant in flames as the Joker and his henchmen flee. The heroes attempt to save Ryder, but find only his burning and dissolving coat.

However, Ryder is alive, if not precisely well. The combination of laughing gas and strange chemicals has transformed him into a powerful, nimble, yellow-skinned wacky man who will soon be known as... (dramatic pause) the Creeper! He barges into a thrift shop looking for a suitable outfit for his new persona, and then goes looking for the Joker.

Alfred calls Batman with the news of the thrift shop incident, noting that the odd intruder paid for his purchases with Ryder's credit card. This puts Batman and Robin on the Creeper's trail. They catch up to him as he interrogates the Joker's henchmen and hits on Harley Quinn. However, the Creeper's strength, speed, and unpredictability prove to be too much for the heroes, and he escapes.

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The story ends in a crescendo of chaos, with the Creeper chasing the Joker and Harley and Batman and Robin chasing everybody else. Finally, Batman captures the Joker (who begs him to save him from the "lunatic" Creeper) and sedates the Creeper.

In the final scene, Batman has restored Jack Ryder to his normal self with an antidote skin patch. He tells Ryder that the incident will blow over, since nobody else knows the Creeper's identity, and cautions him to keep the patch in place until he returns with a fresh antidote supply. After Batman leaves, Ryder ponders the situation...and the sound of tearing tape is followed by the Creeper's maniacal laugh.


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Tropes:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: The Creeper, to Harley Quinn.
  • Amazon Chaser: Being attacked by Harley only increases The Creeper's attraction to her:
    Creeper: I like a girl who plays rough!
    Robin: But... she just tried to kill you!
    Creeper: You're young. You'll learn.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: The Creeper, so much so that when he initially tries to calm down and think rationally about what happened after his transformation, his eyes bug out, a broken-spring sound is heard, and he lets out a yelp about how much that hurt. Apparently his transformation has made him incapable of rational thought. QED he trashes a convenience store to make a costume, then pays for everything with his credit card, leading Batman right to him.
  • Breather Episode: Zigzagged. The Joker, as usual tries to murder an Innocent Bystander and use their impending death to fend off Batman. Then we see what happens after when the Creeper manages to catch up to him and Harley, with a lot of property damage and slapstick comedy.
  • Cartesian Karma: Defied. Batman gives an antidote to Jack Ryder and reassures him no one knows he is the Creeper. Thus his behavior as a Cloud Cuckoolander won't be held against him.
  • The Comically Serious: The clerk at the store Ryder goes to, who keeps a straight face through her customer's wacky antics and beyond.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Create Your Own Hero: The Joker does this completely by accident. He pushes Ryder into a vat of acid while the man is incapacitated with laughing gas, which ends up turning Ryder into a Made of Iron Cloud Cuckoolander out for revenge against his maker. By the end, the Joker is regretting it.
  • Crush Filter: When the Creeper spots Harley, he sees her winking at him against a heart-shaped tropical-paradise background.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Ryder is given an antidote to suppress his Creeper persona, with Batman reassuring him that no one knows who his alter ego really was thanks to the hair and skin change. He now has a choice to become a hero, albeit a Cloud Cuckoolander. Ryder decides to embrace it when he's not doing journalism work. Given his cameos in Justice League, Batman approves.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • When Harley begs Joker to protect her from the Creeper and explains she didn't encourage his behavior, Joker roughly shoves her behind him before he unleashes an explosion. Aww, he does care.
    • After dealing with the Creeper, the Joker actually throws himself at Batman and screams "He's a lunatic!" That's right, The Joker thinks the Creeper is too crazy!
    • The Creeper isn't actually evil, just crazy — however, when he visited a thrift store for his costume he actually paid for the goods just like a normal customer (using Jack Ryder's credit card) instead of just running off with them.
  • Explosive Cigar: The Joker gives Ryder one the second time he attempts to escape from the vat of acid.
  • Follow the Chaos: Batman figures out where the Creeper is PDQ;
    Robin: Which way did he go?
    Stuff Blowing Up
    Batman: That way.
  • Friend or Idol Decision: The Joker escapes from the first confrontation with Batman and Robin by pointing out that Ryder has just been washed out to sea and is in need of rescue.
    The Joker: How about that, Bats? You broke my face and got seven years of bad luck. Are you going to try for fourteen or are you going to try to raise that anchorman out of the ocean?
  • Good Counterpart: Actually an Invoked Trope; upon deciding to introduce Creeper to the DCAU, they had trouble designing him as he kept looking like the Joker, and decided to just run with it; Ryder is doing a reenactment of the Joker's origin when the Clown Prince decides to crash it with Smylex gas to present his own version of events, with Ryder taking his role. Result; a bizarre-looking lunatic, but as Ryder was a decent, compassionate man before his transformation, he became a Cloud Cuckoolander Idiot Hero as opposed to Joker's deranged sociopathy.
    Joker: Let's show the folks at home what really happened 7 years ago. I'll be Batman, you be me! (chucks Ryder over the railing into vat of chemicals)
  • Hold Up Your Score: When the Joker throws talk host Jack Ryder into a vat of chemicals (leading to the creation of the Creeper), he gets score signs from Harley Quinn and his henchmen. One holds his sideways - then turns it over so it's still sideways, just pointed the other way.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal/I Just Want to Be Special: In the final scene, Jack Ryder worries that his old life is gone. After Batman leaves him with an antidote skin patch to suppress the Creeper, he thinks about it and removes the patch. Judging from the Creeper's occasional cameo appearances in Justice League, he apparently decided to embrace the new persona.
  • Illogical Safe: A variation — after Harley drops a crate containing a big statue on him, the statue turns out to be hollow. Creeper pops the head first and poses for a second before busting his way out.
  • Jumping Out of a Cake: Harley slinkily emerges from an oversized lemon custard pie. And then offers Joker some.
  • Large Ham: The Creeper is even a Larger Ham to the already hammy Joker. Yeah, you heard good, he's someone whose insanity beat Joker's.
  • Mêlée à Trois: Batman and Robin vs. The Joker and Harley Quinn vs. The Creeper. It's as hilarious as it sounds.
  • Mythology Gag: The reenactment of the Joker's origin is similar to the scene in Tim Burton's Batman.
  • Offhand Backhand: Everyone in the pool hall takes a swing at The Creeper's back while he flirts with Harley Quinn. Offhand Backhands ensue. Even Batman gets knocked across the room without a second thought.
  • Outside Ride: During the hectic final chase, Batman does the usual version (hanging onto the Joker's car, which is being driven by the Creeper), while Robin follows on a wheeled platfom attached to the car with a grapple line. This gets particularly hair-raising when the Creeper tries random controls and fires the rear missiles.
  • Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: The Creeper interrogating the Joker's henchmen:
    Creeper: Last time we met, you were working for — dramatic pause — the Joker!
  • Self-Serving Memory: Implied by the Joker when he "re-enacts" what really happened between him and Batman seven years ago, by grabbing Ryder by the collar and hurling him into a chemical vat.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Stylistic Suck: The dramatization of the Joker's origin leaves a lot to be desired. The Batman costume used resembles a low-budget version of the original 1939-40 Batman outfit, complete with long ears.
  • Super-Stoic Shopkeeper: When The Creeper bursts into a thrift store, the clerk recommended green-striped underwear to complement his yellow skin tone and approved his choice of boa without the slightest twitch.
  • This Just In!/Film at 11: The Creeper's stream-of-consciousness ramblings occasionally parody standard newscaster lines. Batman and Robin hear one of these comments, confirming that he's Jack Ryder. Surprisingly justified in this case, since Jack is a TV journalist, and those lines are exactly how he talks when on the job.
    Breaking news! And if you broke it, you have to pay for it. And now the weather; Partly gaga with a 50% chance of schizophrenia.
  • Wiper Start: A variation — the Creeper is trying to turn on the wipers (to get rid of the debris from the giant globe the Joker rolled at him) when he launches the rear missiles.


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