"Curse of the Kobra" is the tenth and eleventh episodes of the third season of Batman Beyond. It depicts a plan of the organization Kobra to splice humans with dinosaur DNA and thereby create a new era. After Terry fails to stop Kobra from stealing a thermal bomb, Bruce sends him to an old friend, Kairi Tanaga, for martial arts training. While there, Terry meets up with Zander, an advanced student in her class. The two get along well enough, but after they leave the class and go to Cheezy Dan's, Zander shows both a violent nature and a deep interest in Maxine. Things take a turn for the worse when Terry finds out that Zander is really the new leader of Kobra. Zander has plans to splice all members of Kobra with dinosaur DNA, and then increase the temperature of earth so that only his people will be able to survive. Now Batman must face one of his greatest challenges ever.
A truck drives up to the Nova Research Center and the guard tells the driver he has to leave. The driver claims that he has isotopes and the guard allows him inside. The driver goes in and releases several members of Kobra into the building. Working quickly, the Kobra members run inside and steal an R-12 thermal bomb. However, when they try to load it onto their truck Batman makes his presence known and attacks. The goons are easy enough but the truck driver pulls out an electrified sanjiegun and manages to beat Batman into submission. With Batman down, the group escapes.
With address in hand Terry goes to see Kairi: a fish merchant. She tries to sell him fish but when he tells her that Bruce sent him she brings him into the back where he finds a dojo. While Terry waits for Kairi, he's attacked by two men wielding bō staffs. They easily manage to bring Terry down and are only stopped when Kairi tells them to. She assesses Terry's style and determines his weakness is leaving himself open on the left. She explains that she and Bruce used to study under the same sensei and she now owns her own dojo. She agrees to help Terry but only if he promises obedience.
At home while Max observes, Terry prepares a health smoothie that consists of "eel juice", brown rice and tofu according to Kairi's instructions. Max toys with the idea of trying to become a student herself, but quickly changes her mind after seeing Terry shudder down the concoction.
On another day, Terry works on his balance by trying to balance a chair on his head. Kairi causes him to slip by throwing a piece of fish under his foot and tells him that things don't have to be fair. After finishing his workout, Terry goes outside and sees another student, Zander, being escorted out by a couple of bodyguards. When Terry tries to greet him, the guards rudely shove him away and take Zander off in a limo.
Terry leaves the dojo and takes a tram. Bruce contacts him over the phone asking how the lessons are going and Terry claims he doubts he'll ever get it. However, a man soon runs into Terry and when questioned, he claims that there's no time left for anyone. Members of Kobra arrive and start shooting at him. The man runs on but the Kobra members manage to catch, drug, and grab a vial from him.
Terry and Max go to the museum and enjoy an interactive holographic display of a T-rex protecting her nest. After this is over, they head into a closed display. While Max distracts one of the museum staff members, Terry goes to Dr. Banjahari's office and investigates. After checking his files, he discovers that he was recovering dinosaur DNA. Even Bruce can't make the connection of the stolen bomb and the DNA.
Once again Terry goes to the dojo and fails to beat his sparring partners. He's sent out for a dinner break and meets up with Zander. Zander seems friendly enough, even offering Terry a rice cake. Terry makes a mention about how he'd like pizza and Zander tells him that he's never eaten pizza, as he's been groomed to be the leader of his people since he was born. Terry suggests that they sneak out to Cheezy Dan's and get some pizza.
Zander is confused when he comes to the strange place, and doesn't even know what people are doing when they are playing video games. Max shows up and takes Zander to play a VR game while Terry goes to order a pizza. While playing the game, Zander proves to be a good opponent, but because he doesn't understand the rules of the game, he loses to Max. Zander is devastated at the loss, claiming that he's never lost before. Fortunately, Terry arrives with the pizza; they decide to eat, but Zander insists on a rematch.
Before they can eat, however, J-Man's gang of Jokerz arrives and steal the pizza. Zander demands that they give it back and they simply throw a slice into his face. This angers Zander immensely but Terry manages to quell him. The Jokerz aren't done though, and blast Zander with a fire hose. This is the last straw, and Zander almost single-handedly defeats the gang, nearly killing J-Man. His escorts arrive, however, and order him to return with them.
Terry continues his training with Kairi, and learns that because of Zander's escape, his guardians removed him from the dojo. She tells Terry not to worry about it, as she couldn't do anything more for Zander since his path had already been chosen for him, and the training continues.
Meanwhile, members of Kobra release gasses from a vial into three chambers holding some of their members. The men breathe the vapors and begin crying out in pain. Zander arrives and watches as the men transform into reptilian forms. He's pleased at the results but decides that there's one more thing that he wants to do before their plans are set in motion. The doctor in charge of the operation wonders about what Zander could want believing that he's anticipated his every need. Zander, however, doesn't think so.
Back at home, Max talks to Terry about Zander and is rudely thrown off the line by Bruce. Her doorbell rings right after that, and she discovers that it's Zander. Zander orders her to go with him. Max refuses him and closes the door. Angered by her defiance, Zander breaks in and tries to force her to go with him. He succeeds, but not before Max manages to call up Batman alerting him to her plight. Batman reaches Max's house just in time to give chase to Zander's car. However, when he reaches it, the truck driver attacks him with a pair of electrified nunchaku. Batman manages to disarm him, but the driver attacks him head on. Exhibiting massive strength, he rips off Batman's wings and sends him falling. Batman is just barely able to save himself, and Max is taken away.
Terry wakes up in the Batcave and Bruce explains that he had a minor concussion and has four cracked ribs. The cracked ribs will cause him pain when he moves and breathes. This will prove to be a major setback in finding Max.
Bruce heads out to speak to Kairi about Zander's whereabouts. She only has a phone number, however. She also talks about her failure to teach Zander moral code through Bushido and feels guilty about it.
Back in the Batcave, Bruce checks the number and discovers that it belongs to a secret base of Kobra. In spite of his injuries, Terry heads off to save Max.
Meanwhile, Max wakes up in a lavish bed and discovers that she's wearing different clothes. Two women come in and claim that they are her servants, her original clothes got badly damaged, and that the master wants to see her. Max refuses and fights her way out of the room. Unfortunately, she cannot find a way out of the base, and her servants come after her. She manages to beat them both, but she's soon confronted by a dinosaur-like mutant. It captures her and takes her to Zander who is happy to see her. Max asks to know more about her situation and Zander decides to agree.
Zander explains that his DNA was synthesized and he was grown in an artificial womb being fed only specialized nutrients. His life was spent being taught military strategies, martial arts, and advanced weaponry. He was raised in this way so that he could become the perfect leader for Kobra, but Max realizes that they forgot to think about his desire for a mate, which is where she comes in. Max still refuses Zander, and Dr. Childes suggests having her eliminated. Zander refuses to allow that, as he's intrigued by Max's own free thinking.
Meanwhile, Batman checks up on the address Bruce gave him and makes his way inside. However, his ribs are still bothering him, and he doesn't notice that he's being followed.
Inside the base, Zander explains to Max that he sees dinosaurs as being the ultimate life forms and intends to combine their DNA with humans so that they will gain the one thing that they lacked: adaptability. By using splicing, he intends to create a new life form that will rule the earth. When Max claims it can't be done, Zander shows her the splicing process, proving it can be done. Max figures out that the thermal bomb will be used to raise Earth's temperature, making it too hot for humans to survive but perfect for the cold-blooded dinosaurs. Max isn't interested in surviving and refuses him. Zander doesn't care, however, and orders Max to be spliced.
Using his stealth mode, Batman manages to listen in on a conversation about Max and saves her from being spliced. Unfortunately, it's too late for her to escape, as the Kobra base is a flying ship and it's taken off. Max tries to tell Batman the plan, but the duo is assaulted by the truck driver and another Kobra goon. Batman manages to beat the driver, and a mysterious individual in a black outfit saves Max.
The ship makes it to their destination: a dormant volcano sitting on top of an extremely deep rift. They prepare to drop and detonate the thermal bomb thereby bringing up magma. Fortunately, before they can drop the bomb, Batman arrives and stops them. Zander splices himself and attacks. Batman fights back, but Zander's new form proves to be too powerful and he manages to try and drop the bomb. However, the control module has been deactivated and the bomb is disarmed. Kairi then jumps in and reveals that she's the one who stopped the plan. She apologizes to Zander for failing him, but he is furious since now he won't be able to survive Earth's normal temperature now that he has been spliced. Kairi is unsympathetic, however, and attacks him. Batman joins in on the fight, and together the duo cause Zander to destroy the ship's controls. The ship goes up in flames, and the Kobra members make for the escape pods. The windshield breaks open and the cold air causes Zander to fall. Batman heads out to find Max and discovers she's in one of the escape pods. Unfortunately, a flaming part of the ceiling collapses and Zander revives. Feeling that she failed Zander and that it's her responsibility to stop him, Kairi says her final words to Batman, forces he and Max to leave, and attacks Zander head on. The ship collides with the volcano, and Batman and Max manage to escape.
Back at Kairi's dojo, Bruce, Max and Terry drop white lotus flowers into her pond as a tribute to her sacrifice.
- Kairi last appeared as a young woman in Batman: The Animated Series, "Day of the Samurai". Her past connection with Bruce is not made clear in this episode, but in the episode's special feature, the producers confirmed that she is the same character.
- Max and Zander play the Sentries of the Last Cosmos, a game prominently featured in its eponymous episode.
- In the flashback scene, Dr. Cuvier from "Splicers" makes an appearance as one of Zander's tutors. Presumably he instructed him in the ways of splicing, his area of expertise.
Home video releases
- On the episode's special feature, Bruce Timm said frankly that he was disappointed with the way the episode turned out: having set up an interesting human premise in Part I — Zander's sheltered upbringing and his surprising friendship with Terry and Max — Part II abandoned that theme and ended the episode with a conventional action climax.
- The archeologist's last name is spelled on his office door "Banjahri". Bruce also pronounces it with an "a", but the end credits spell it "Bonjahri".
- Part I of this installment is titled "Curse of the Kobra". However, Part II excludes the definite article from the title.
- In Part II, it surprises Bruce and Terry to learn they're fighting Kobra. This is despite Part I ending with Terry being attacked by a henchmen he knows works for Kobra.
- In Part II, Batman hits Dr. Childes with what seems to be one of his all-red discs he shoots from his forearms, but the object that then returns to his hand is a black and red batarang.
- Zander's idea to raise the temperature of the Earth is very similar to Darkseid's plan to create fire pits on Earth used in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Apokolips... Now!".
- Kairi knows Bruce's secret identity, though it is not clear whether she learned it from their sensei, Yoru, or by some other means.
- Dr. Childes says that the dormant volcano stands on top of a rift extending "halfway to the Earth's core". By definition, only the relatively solid layers of the Earth can have rifts, and they don't extend nearly that deep.
- On the bonus features of the "Batman Beyond - Season Three (DVD)", Bruce Timm stated how he was satisfied with Part I, but ultimately found Part II to be a disappointment.
- Zander stands in for the supervillain Kobra, raised from birth to run the eponymous cult. His backstory also seems to be a homage to G.I. Joe villain Serpentor: both are genetically created to be monarchs of Kobra/Cobra.
- The idea that Kobra had to alter the world's climate because dinosaurs were cold-blooded is somewhat inaccurate with modern findings of dinosaur metabolism, which provides far more evidence for them being warm-blooded, especially the theropods (mostly carnivores), which were the main group Kobra was splicing its troops with (Zander himself appears to have been spliced with a tyrannosaurus).
- In the 2015 video game Batman: Arkham Knight, there's a poster advertising Tanaga Dojo in Oracle's study inside the Watch Tower. Kairi is billed as the instructor.
|Will Friedle||Terry McGinnis / Batman|
|Kevin Conroy||Bruce Wayne|
|Cree Summer||Maxine Gibson|
|Takayo Fischer||Kairi Tanaga|
|Brian George||Dr. Padu Banjahri|
|Xander Berkeley||Dr. Childes|
|Gary Sturgis||Driver, Kobra|
|Dan Castellaneta||Kobra Commando, Guard|
|Tasia Valenza||Servant Girl #1|
|Grey DeLisle||Servant Girl #2|
Batman: What was he going to do to you?
Kairi: Bruce was right: You've got the moves, kid, but you lack discipline. And you leave yourself open on the left side.
Terry: What happened to your accent?
Max: Eel juice?
Terry: No fair!
Max: Today you will become a man, my son.
Max: (after beating Zander) Who's rad, who's bad, who's never been had?
Bruce: Max, get off the line! Some of us have work to do!
Kairi: He's in some kind of cult. I don't know which one, but they're grooming him to be their leader. I wanted to make sure he wouldn't abuse the power.
Dr. Childes: I told you it would never work. I'll have her eliminated.
Batman: I double-checked that address you gave me. It's a toxic waste company.
Zander: Dinosaurs once ruled the world. They had strength, size...
Dr. Childes: She's rude, she's sarcastic, and she has absolutely no respect.
Batman: These people tried to raise you without family, or friends, or love. But you couldn't get along without those things, could you?
Kairi: I failed you, Zander. I thought I could put you on the right path.
Kairi: (Last words) Keep your guard up, kid, particularly on your left side!