Batman: The Animated Series 25th Anniversary #31: The Cape & Cowl Conspiracy

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The Cape & Cowl Conspiracy was first broadcasted on October 14, 1992 with a script by Elliott S. Maggin, based off his original 1975 Detective Comics story, The Cape & Cowl Death Trap, and directed by Frank Paur.

Baron Jozek (voiced by John Rhys-Davies), furious at Batman for humiliating him at a dinner party (over Jozek’s underworld connections), hires Josiah Wormwood (Bud Cort), a master in setting traps for his victims, to hunt down Batman and bring back the hero’s cape and cowl.

I’ll be perfectly honest, when I was getting ready to watch this one for the first time, I wasn’t expecting too much, a criminal wants revenge on Batman for humiliating him so he hires a deathtrap maker to bring him the cape and cowl, that doesn’t really sound like a whole lot to work with.

But then, watching it for the first time, I really felt like, “wow, that was such a fun episode.” I was taken by surprise by this. To fully explain why this episode works as well, I have to reveal the twist of the story because it plays into why I liked this one so much so here’s the ending of the episode:

That’s why I loved this episode more than I thought I would because what Batman basically had to do was to use his wits, intelligence and detective skills to bring down Wormwood and not resort to just punching him to get answers, although there is that final action climax. Besides that, the entire episode is a showcase to essentially show off how Batman can bring bad guys down without physically getting to them but more mentally, something that later would be used in several episodes that we’ll get to over the next few weeks.

And you’ve just gotta love how Batman trolls this bad guy at the end so hard, we’re reaching Dark Knight levels here with Morgan Freeman basically schooling the guy who was trying to blackmail Bruce Wayne:

It gets that crazy and again…maybe Christopher Nolan took notice of this scene and used it for that scene in Dark Knight, would make sense considering how much of an impact this show has had.

Now, you can make the argument that Batman was working too hard to get the information he needed but you know what, you’ve gotta do what you gotta do to get what you need.

The Cape & Cowl Conspiracy is a prime example of Batman using both his detective skills and his wits and intelligence to bring down somebody mentally with simple trickery and while the whole episode itself is not an all-around home run, it’s one of the more fun surprises I’ve seen from this show so far. It’s all worth it at the end when Batman gets the ultimate drop on the bad guy and it leads to a satisfying conclusion to a satisfying episode.

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