Besides the fluid, exquisite animation of "On Leather Wings", I'd found Disc One to be underwhelming. The other episodes struck me as routine mechanical action-oriented animated daytime TV fare ... which I'm sure seems to defy conventional reputation, given the series' reputation for being exceptionable and classy, and having raised the bar, when it first came on the scene. Chalk it up to the production team not having found their footing yet? Given that the Joker of "Christmas with the Joker" and "The Last Laugh" doesn't sizzle the way that he later would, it would indeed seem that the writers and Hamill hadn't quite found their groove yet.
Though on the one hand melodramatic and overwrought with cliches, the first episode on Disc Two, "The Forgotten", was a pleasant change of pace.
Synopses: when Bruce gets wind of a recent wave of impoverished men having gone missing, he pursues the matter undercover. He ends up one of the abductees, he and the other victims being used as slave labor in a crooked mining operation.
Here's Bruce in his disguise:
I contend that this episode may well have been inspired by DC comic book stories from the early `40's with the same mistreated-workers-overcome-co
Two panels from an early scene in "The Blakely Mine Disaster", in which Clark seeks info from one of the victims of the titular incident:
And here's an entire page from All-American #25 on which GL takes on the thugs who have been sabotaging a steel mill, terrorizing the workers.
The "retro" aspect of "The Forgotten" is driven home with the villain, a true-to-form "fat cat" boss heading up the illegal slave-driven mining operation. He's the expected haughty, blustering, gaudy-suit-attired type. (Fox Kids probably objected to seeing him smoking cigars, so instead, we tend to find him tearing his way through a hambuger or a hoagie.)
Though there are obligatory fist fight and brawl scenes, "The Forgotten" at its core is the antithesis of a Supervillain of the Day episode. It's down-to-earth, appealing to "human interest", and melancholy. It certainly has its hamfisted moments ... but who am I kidding, I'm a sucker for almost all of them!
And lastly, the character of Riley quickly earns, and sustains, our admiration and sympathy ... just as the writers had intended. ;)