Friday, May 22, 2015

Pitch Me, Mr. B: CAPTAIN PLANET

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Really, guys?

Okay, you're in charge. I just really didn't expect this to be the second most-request thing to see written up. But, okay. Here's how I'd pitch a hypothetical re-invention of CAPTAIN PLANET to a movie studio.

To be fair, this one presents a different challenge from MEGA MAN: Instead of trying to stretch a plot out of a fairly simple (storywise) set of video games, the goal here is not simply to turn a superhero cartoon into a feature film but to "retool" the mythos of the franchise itself from the ground up. To put it charitably, CAPTAIN PLANET was a weird creature - ostensibly an bit of well-intentioned ecological-proselytizing aimed at 90s schoolkids, it was also filtered through the... interesting prism of creator/back Ted Turner's eccentric personal take on the subject and the genre. On top of all that, a lot of it's then-relevant political/social/scientific context has shifted over the decades and likely needs a second look.

Anyway...



Here we go:

OPEN on pre-historic Earth. We witness the animal residents of a small island frantically fleeing what at first appears to be a huge earthquake.

The "quake" is actually the arrival of ZARM, an absolutely massive creature moving across the ocean and soon overtaking and obliterating the island. Zarm is pure Lovecraftian nightmare-fuel: Tall as a mountain and wide as a continent, so big it's almost impossible to comprehend. What of it is visible above the ocean surface (presumably it's "legs" go all the way down to the sea floor) is a mass of heaving, slime-covered bulk, with seemingly thousands of eyes, hundreds of "mouths" and dozens of huge arms, all ranging in shape from resembling the limbs of humans, mammals, reptiles, insects, even tentacles. It's very presence is toxic - the sea boils for miles around it, and "vents" in its body spews clouds noxious smoke into the air... and it is heading for the mainland.

On a cliff overlooking the sea stand four SHAMANS (think wizards, but as cavemen) staring out at the approaching Zarm with grim determination. Each holds a staff topped with CRYSTAL representing (respectively) Earth, Wind, Water and Fire.

The Shamans exchange a look and raises their staffs in unison, creating an energy-storm over the water from which emerges CAPTAIN PLANET...

...but not the one we know (and not called that yet - if the Shamans spoke, they'd call him "The Champion.") This guy looks more like Zeus: Burly, bearded and wearing a toga (the blue skin/green hair look is in effect, but with an "inner glow" - think Doctor Manhattan.)

The Champion engages Zarm, firing energy-blasts, calling down lightning, summoning wind conjuring tidal-waves and even heaving massive chunks of earth; but none of it is effective. The monster cannot be stopped.

At the cliffs, one of the Shamans notices a fifth man (looking similar to the others) crouched amid some rocks away from them, also watching the action. Whoever this is, he's recently lost a fight: covered in bruises, cuts and blood; he watches the battle with a mysterious, dark gaze.

The Champion sees something on one of the island-size mounds of rock he's unsuccessfully tossed into Zarm's path: The revealed fossilized skeleton of a Dinosaur. It gives him an idea.

Using what appears to be an utterly tremendous reserve of his strength, The Champion takes command of gravity itself, willing Zarm almost completely out of the water and manipulating huge energy fields to compress and crush the creature alive. It roars in anger and (maybe?) pain, which thrills the Shamans but seems to concern the mysterious fifth man.

With the last of his power, The Champion forces Zarm (now compressed almost-entirely into a churning mass of viscous liquid) down through the water and into the crust of the Earth itself, using the last of his power to seal the somehow still-living beast there for good. Exhausted to the point of breaking, The Champion sagely intones (in caveman-speak) "The Power is Yours!" before once again becoming energy and scattering to oblivion.

Victorious, the four Shamans walk away from the cliffs. They pass by the fifth man in the distance, deliberately paying him no mind. Lingering, we now see that he, too is a Shaman - or at least was: We see that his Staff is broken in two, and he carries pieces a broken Crystal.

We cut to The Present, HOPE ISLAND - in this version a small privately-owned island in general area of MICRONESIA.

There is no (real) incarnation of Gaia in this version. Hope Island, we soon learn, is owned by movie star BAMBI BLYTHE and serves as a fully-staffed research facility for Bambi's scientist sister DR. BARBARA BLYTHE, who oversees a staff conducting experiments in geo-engineering and environmental science.

Blythe (Barbara) is brilliant and cares sincerely about saving the planet, but is a figure of controversy, viewed as the walking symbol of the "Silicon Valley-ification" of environmentalism by supporters and enemies alike for her willingness to embrace unorthodox chemical and technological solutions to pollution-reduction. Detractors in both mainstream and radical-but-in-the-other-direction environmentalism have nicknamed her "Doctor Blight."

Most controversial are implications that she supports radical approaches to ecological-restoration, such as forced-relocation of human populations to "re-wild" key areas and reducing aid to both at-risk people and animals in order to encourage eco-beneficial population-reduction in the long-term. Privately, Blight is adherent of the Earth-Echinus Hypothesis or "Gaia Theory," a belief that Earth itself is a sentient organism which she hopes to communicate with. She shares this extent of her philosophy only with MAL, an artificial intelligence program similar to IRON MAN's J.A.R.V.I.S.

This information is conveyed during a charity event on the island, which includes the introduction of four exceptional teenagers from around the world who have been selected as Blythe's top interns (a public-goodwill stunt mostly of Bambi's design that Barbara essentially tolerates). Yup, this is where our re-imagined PLANETEERS will come from:

WHEELER: On the series he was the dumb, boorish, conspicuously-consumptive American who was wrong about everything (so lessons could be learned). This Wheeler is an entirely new guy: A crunchy, dreadlocked, stoner-affecting skateboard enthusiast from Portland. A good guy and smarter than he lets on, but it's clear that his environmentalism (like his vegetarianism and "spirituality") are things he first came to for very surface-level reasons.

SABIYA: A bookish, self-consciously serious woman of Saudi Arab descent and of Muslim heritage, replacing Linka because it's no longer "novel" in 2015 for a Russian to be on the same team as an American and inexcusable for an "international" team to not feature any membership from the Middle East. The "hardcase" of the team.

KWAME: The oldest (but only by a few years) of the team, the son of a wealthy Rwandan businessman who instead wishes to study geology and worked for a time fighting poachers in wildlife preserves. Kind and generous, but also a reflexively skeptic who does not fully trust Blythe.

GI: Effectively the same character as the series, but definitively from China instead of "Asia." Physical and fun-loving, the most outgoing and "social" of the group; but also the most reflexively loyal to Dr. Blythe, whom she idolizes more like a rock star than a scientist (or a boss.)

We witness Gi's devotion firsthand when she (nearly) physically assaults a JOURNALIST who corners Blythe with "gotcha" questions at the event. Specifically, why have geologists traceable to her been seen around an (allegedly) grossly-exploitative mining operation run by the notoriously-unethical minerals-speculator LUTIN PLUNDER in South America?

The reason? Well, as far as the press and her interns known, Blythe is merely trying to conduct a secret survey of pollution caused by Plunder's mining. But in reality, Blythe believes that Plunder has unwittingly unearthed evidence of... "something" tied to an old legend about Shamanic crystals that could summon an Earth Spirit, which she believes to be tied to her Gaia Theory fixation. You see where this is going.

Blythe and the interns travel to the mine, ostensibly so that they (the interns) can collect samples but mainly so that she can try to purchase Plunder's aid in looking for "her" crystals.

A protest group of locals shows up (flanked by a NEWS TEAM) to cause unrest at the mine, inadvertently drawing the interns into a messy brawl. In the chaos, one of the protesters - a young teenaged boy named Ma-Ti - manages to fall into a deep pit, so the interns work together to get him out.

While extracting Ma-Ti, the team serendipitously discovers the hiding place of The Crystals, which Gi discreetly takes away to Blythe (but not so discreetly that Ma-Ti doesn't notice.)

At her "pop-up" camp/lab nearby, Blythe explains to the interns what's what: The Crystals are part of a legend about a Shamanic order on pre-historic Earth that could call on the elements to conjur a Champion who would fight for the Planet. She hopes to awaken their power and use The Champion's power to save Earth.

Wheeler notes that some of the "evidence" (mainly scans of cave drawings and old tablets) shows five Shamans, not four. Apparently, part of the legend involves the excommunication of a "betrayer" Shaman whose fifth crystal was a corrupting force that led him to side with The Destroyer (Zarm.) Final victory came only when he was cast out and his crystal neutralized.

Everything is interupted by an explosion at Plunder's mine that shakes the area, causing Ma-Ti (who'd been on the roof) to fall into the room.

Blythe and the Interns go to the mine (Ma-Ti chases after), where they discover that Plunder's cut-rate techniques have set an underground gas pocket on fire, which has set off multiple fires around the mine and threatens to blow up Ma-Ti's village nearby.

An explosion causes Blythe to drop the case with the crystals, scattering them. By happenstance, Gi picks up the Water Crystal and accidentally conjures a blast of water that douses a nearby fire.

The other Interns (and Blythe) exchange glances and get to work, haphazardly claiming the Crystals analagous to their powers from the series (Sabiya takes "Wind") and set about using them to contain the chaos... with mixed success. Frantically pulling old translations of the legend out of Mal, Blythe instructs them to do the "Let our powers combine" routine, summoning The Champion.

The Champion appears as before, but only at first - his physical form shifts around based on which power he's using or which Intern is calling out commands. He contains the explosions and secures the area, but while the others are impressed, Ma-Ti takes notice that The Champion appears indifferent to the humans or property amid what he's "saving."

The Champion senses that the gas pocket is still burning, set to cause another explosion "near the lake" and takes off. Ma-Ti tells the others that's where his village is, and they need to go control his (demonstrably) actions so he doesn't destroy it trying to save everything else.

Plunder boards his escape helicopter, ordering his underlings to "destroy the files, remove all traces." His assistant, already on the chopper, informs him that they should head out to sea because "Sludge has made a find."

The Champion wants to prevent the animals in the lake from being hurt by the explosion under the surface, and is blasting an "escape channel" for the water - right through the village, with only a cursory order for the people to get out of the way. The Interns arrive as the makeshift "river" ferries the fish etc into a temporary new pond, but the gas-explosion sends rocks and fire raining down on the village.

Ma-Ti and the Interns secure/evacuate the village (Ma-Ti rescues his pet monkey, SUCHI) while The Champion subdues the explosion and returns the lake to it's place, departing when the work is done. The villagers are confused and upset, and the News Team from before is capturing images that make the ostensible heroes look less than heroic by the time Blythe arrives - explaining to an questioning Mal that the best way to come out on top here is "Publicity."

Ma-Ti catches a fleeting glimpse of a strange figure (the "Betrayer" Shaman?) watching the scene, then vanishing.

At a huge press event on Hope Island, Blythe rolls out "THE PLANETEERS" (the Interns in modern variations on their uniforms from the series) as an initiative of her foundation, also revealing the conversion of the Crystals into RINGS and an intent to "re-brand" The Champion ("a manifestation of both The Elements and The Planeteers' collective will,") as CAPTAIN PLANET ("Superheroes are very big right now.") Furthermore, Ma-Ti has been brought-on as an "honorary" Planeteer for his heroics at the mine (and a face-saving gesture.)

But privately, Blythe has kept fragments of the Crystals left over from the Rings, and has Mal constructing a machine she believes will let her communicate with The Earth itself - not just the "avatar" her interns can now summon.

Plunder meets with his associate, SLY SLUDGE, on an oil-scouting ship in the middle of the ocean. Sludge reveals that he has discovered "seismic evidence" of a massive oil deposit in place under the seabed where "no oil has any business being, geographically speaking." Plunder orders his lackeys to start securing drilling rights to the area and to "Call the pig man."

You see where this is going: The "oil" Sludge has discovered is the spot where the remains of Zarm are still trapped.

On Hope Island, The Planeteers train to understand their new powers and to get "in sync" to better command Captain Planet when summoned. Officially, Ma-Ti's "honorary" job is to help them help Planet act with greater empathy, but Blythe is more interested in them getting Planet to manifest in the form that "tested well" (read: the version from the show.)

During this training, The Planeteers' personalities and relationships develop. Wheeler thinks it's a big game, and bonds with Ma-Ti through shared (relative) immaturity and Ma-Ti's ability to detect his (Wheeler's) growing, akward crush on Sabiya - who has become fixated on doing her own studies of the legends they've now found themselves participating in. Kwame emerges as the presumed team leader, but also bonds with Ma-Ti over similar family backgrounds.

Only Gi is cold to the younger member, owing to her unquestioning loyalty to Blythe; whom she hopes to impress with her creation of a supersonic, solar-fueled transport vehicle (The GEO-CRUISER.)

We also witness broadcasts (from the PLUNDER NEWS CHANNEL - Fox News, basically) of an editorial show hosted by DUKE NEWCOMB, a blustering bully in the Hannity/O'Reilly/Limbaugh mold who wears a Hawaiian shirt and rails against environmentalists in general and Blythe's Planeteer Initiative specifically; even taking exception to their use of "pagan witchcraft" re: the Rings. He also reports (unfavorably) on international political movements attempting (with little success) to stop Plunder Inc. ("Damn right he's my boss - he's a lot of people's bosses, because Looten Plunder is a job creator!") from buying the previously mentioned drilling rights.

Ma-Ti has a nightmare-within-a-nightmare wherein he sees a glimpse of Zarm, "wakes" to see The Betrayer standing over his bed, then wakes up for real.

Plunder begins construction on an oil-drilling platform, overseen by his underling HOGGISH GREEDLY, who is indeed pig-like in appearance.

Ma-Ti questions Sabiya about The Betrayer's role in the legends, which all appear to say the same thing: The Betrayer's Crystal held a non-elemental power, and whatever it was was "corrupt" and led him to side with "The Destroyer" (Zarm) over Earth; leading him to be cast out and enabling Earth to be saved. The translations are all rough, but they call this fifth power "HEART" ("What kind of stupid power is 'Heart?'" asks Wheeler) which most scholars have taken to mean that it had emotion or mind-control functions.

The Planeteers and Blythe watch Newcomb report on a protest against an aging nuclear power plant in the American Midwest. The protesters believe that the plant had a near-meltdown days ago, and that repairs are being covered up "in house" to avoid inspection. Blythe decides that investigating this issue could be a perfect opportunity to introduce Captain Planet to the public, and over Ma-Ti's concerns dispatches The Planeteers to the scene.

At the plant protest, Kwame and Sabiya's powers detect irregularities in the air/earth that indicate something has indeed gone wrong at the plant. Inside, we see that the containment systems are failing and the workers are furious that they are being prevented from summoning more substantial help.

Over Ma-Ti's protestations (too soon, not ready, etc) they summon Captain Planet - this time looking like the one you remember from the show but affecting a patronizing "50s Superman" overconfidence - to go investigate/help the situation. Seeing Planet fly into the plant, Duke orders his camera-crew to follow him into the buildings.

Planet begins to secure the core from meltdown, but the Planeteers (prodded by Ma-Ti) entreat him to rescue the workers first. He does, but only after prodding and it's clearly not his first priority: When he attempts to extract Newcomb, the bigmouthed journalist scoffs and feigns resistance... and Planet lets him be and immediately moves on - leaving Duke incredulous.

The workers are safe (but no one can find Newcomb...), but the meltdown begins to occur anyway. The Captain prevents mass-disaster by drawing all radiation and fallout into himself and expelling the energy as a concentrated beam safely into the sun. It works, but he collapses and returns to the Rings; explaining that prolonged contact with pollution/impurities can weaken him.

None the less, Captain Planet & The Planeteers are heroes. We see them hit the talk show circuit, parade and sports-event appearances, multiple vignettes of Captain Planet and his "pals" fighting back against various ecological calamities: Forest-fires, drought-blighted cities, chemical spills, dust-storms, garbage overflow, e-waste dumping, etc. The public loves it - and even Plunder News is getting rich off anti-Planeteer stories and the "mystery" of the still-missing Duke Newcomb.

Amid the world-saving, we also see the Planeteers adjusting to their new roles: Wheeler takes to celebrity like he was born into it, and when the press zeroes in on the obvious chemistry between him and Sabiya she finds herself coming out of her shell, too. Kwame is the "serious" face of the team, appearing on news shows, speaking at graduations, meeting with fundraisers and businessmen, etc; but he's also bonding more strongly with Ma-Ti (who, incidentally, still finds himself glimpsing "The Betrayer" in crowds and shadows.) Gi is also friendly with Ma-Ti, and confides in the boy that she's confused by numbers and data Blythe now has her crunching and testing without any research context...

Meanwhile, the countdown to completion continues at Plunder's oil platform, with a test-probe finding access to the Zarm "oil" - a bit of which leaks into the water, mutating some small sea-bugs into dog-sized insect creatures that climb up onto the platform, only to be driven off by Greedly's mercenaries in a brief action beat. Plunder orders it covered up, and also receives "big news."

Plunder News broadcasts "recently recovered" footage uploaded to their servers automatically by Duke Newcomb's remote cameras, showing Cap leaving Newcomb to die edited to remove Newcomb making a scene just beforehand. The media turns against The Planeteers.

An argument breaks out, wherein Ma-Ti angrily tells his older friends that they ARE partly to blame, because Captain Planet follows their lead and they have not given sufficient care to make him empathetic. He runs away.

The older Planeteers go to Doctor Blythe, inadvertently interupting her in the midst of "secret research" - they discover that she has used leftover material from converting the Crystals to Rings to build a device through which she is trying to communicate with Earth itself... and what communicating she's done has driven her a bit mad: She's been purposefully avoiding overly-humanitarian missions for the team, because she now firmly believes that saving The Planet at the expense of human life/safety is the PROPER course of action because drastic population-reduction is the only long-term solution to reverse ecological decline.

The Planeteers (especially an enraged/betrayed Gi) demand to know whether she planned to use Captain Planet AGAINST humankind, but her answer (which was feeling like a "yes") is interupted by Plunder News running "shocking footage" of the aftermath of the mutant-critter attack on the oil platform with the heavy implication that the creatures could have been called forth by The Planeteers. Lutin Plunder himself appears and announces (along with the activation of the oil platform) that armed troops under orders from Interpol are heading to secure Hope Island and "question" the now-hated Planeteers and Blythe.

The troops arrive. The Planeteers decided against summoning Captain Planet, instead using their Ring powers to subdue but not harm the attackers while they try to escape.

Ma-Ti is injured amid the chaos but is saved from capture by... The Betrayer, who "teleports" himself, the boy and Suchi away.

Blythe is too immersed in her Earth-communing machine to even try escaping, but when troops enter to take her she throws a fit - setting off a chain-reaction that overloads the equipment and triggers an electrical explosion.

The Planeteers hide out in the underground launch-platform of the Geo-Cruiser, which they conceal themselves inside by way of the craft's cloaking technology.

Ma-Ti finds himself recupperating in a mysterious cave with The Betrayer, who shows him a strange pool of water that shows images of his thoughts.

Plunder holds a gala press-event for the activation of his platform (with Greedly out of sight), but after the initial burst of proper oil something strange begins to happen: The liquid coming up isn't "normal" oil, and it's moving on it's own! Down below, the familiar tendrils and arms of Zarm - but now "made of" oil - are punching up through the sea bed.

From inside the Cruiser, the Planeteers observe international news reports of a "monster" attacking the drill platform, with Sabiya recognizing Zarm from the legends. They decide they have to go and use Captain Planet to stop it, even with Ma-Ti still missing.

Blythe - not dead, but with a horrible burn-scar now covering one side of her face - is shocked awake within the rubble of her lab by the same reports appearing on Mal's screen. She also recognizes "The Destroyer," but looks perversely glad about it.

The Betrayer shows Ma-Ti the truth of his own story via the pool: His Heart powers led him to understand "something" about Zarm that others didn't...

The Planeteers arrive at the oil platform, hovering over the scene as the writhing mass of oil continues to take Zarm's original form to a greater and greater degree - so massive they can't even begin to imagine how to beat it.

The oil workers and Greedly's mercs scatter and flee in terror. So does Greedly, but a spellbound Plunder holds him back: "Do you realize what that is? Living oil! Endlessly renewable... not that the customers need to know that! And it could be mine - all mine!" He's gone mad.

The Planeteers summon Captain Planet, who immediately glitches back into his earlier "Champion" form upon recognizing Zarm. He engages the monster like a "man" possessed - recognizing no commands from the Planeteers. "I hope he knows what he's doing..."

Scattered fire and energy blasts cause the oil platform to become unstable and catch fire. The Planeteers argue over aiding the escape of the workers or trying to reason with Captain Planet - who Sabiya argues will NOT be convinced to put a rescue over the battle.

Calling "Enough!" to the argument, Kwame grabs the Cruiser controls and steers for the platform - "Because that's what Ma-Ti would want."

Back in the cave, Ma-Ti's visions become clearer as he suddenly finds himself glimpsing the "origin" of Zarm: A seemingly harmless moss-like organism that crashes to prehistoric Earth attached to a meteorite and grows rapidly after exposure to the planet's resources.

On the platform, Wheeler and Sabiya use their powers to mitigate the fires while Kwame and Gi use theirs to create a combination land-bridge/parted-sea for the escaping workers to flee on, with Gi raising several sunken ships to use as lifeboats.

Sabiya is attacked by Greedly, who overpowers her until Wheeler knocks him away using an equipment dolly as a makeshift skateboard. They wrestle, eventually tumbling to a lower part of the platform. Sabiya tries to aim her Ring at them...

...but Plunder sneaks up and whacks her hand with his cane, causing her Ring to fall off!

Planet/"Champion" is thusly robbed of his power to fly - he tumbles down to the ocean and is promply smashed by one of Zarm's increasingly-solid tentacles. He explodes - the energy dissapating back to the Rings.

The workers arrive at the mainland. Kwame and Gi turn the Cruiser back to the battle, unsure what comes next.

Wheeler breaks free of Greedly, but the pig-man deftly avoids his fire blasts: "Are you insane? You should be helping us fight that monster!"

Back at the cave, Ma-Ti's visions crystalize as he begins to see the original battle, but from Zarm's perspective - complete with The Champion calling it "monster." Ma-Ti wakes up in a fit, shouting "I AM NOT A MONSTER!!!" Then, to The Betrayer: "You saw. You understood it... and they didn't want to listen."

The Betrayer nods, hands Ma-Ti the broken Crystals... which magically transform into a Planeteer HEART Ring in his hand. The Betrayer turns into a spinning column of smoke, which engulfs Ma-Ti...

On the platform, Plunder pulls a SWORD from his cane and swings it at a diving Sabiya, keeping her from her Ring and ranting about his "right" and "destiny" to control Zarm.

Greedly nearly crushes Wheeler by throwing a heavy iron box at him, but the timely re-arrival of the Geo-Cruiser knocks him off the platform and into the ocean below. Kwame, Wheeler and Gi assemble to help Sabiya... but are stopped when Ma-Ti materializes in from of them! "Geez! You almost gave me a heart attack!" "Funny you should say that..."

Plunder prepares a killing blow for Sabiya, who rolls out of the way, grabs the other half of his cane and engages him to a near standstill... until the others arrive.

Ma-Ti (having arrived with the others) shouts Plunder's name, subsequently blasting him with energy from the Heart Ring: Plunder is struck by a vision of himself as a child living in poverty in rural Australia. As he longingly eyes the shiny, stuff-packed car of a wealthy family driving past, he asks his (saintly-looking) mother why must they have so little; with her cautioning that "Some folks need to have much because no matter what they get, they'll always want more. Think how sad that must be." Shell-shocked, as if in a teary-eyed daze, the adult Plunder drops his sword and staggers away, mumbling "What have I done?" to himself.

The Planeteers - at last including Ma-Ti - assemble, with Ma-Ti explaining to the others what he's learned: "Heart" power grants him (among other things) the ability to feel the emotions of all things... including Zarm!

"It's not a monster or a destroyer... or at least it doesn't mean to be! It's an animal - meant to live in deep space, but it fell here! It's frightened, confused, just trying to survive - and it just keeps growing because nothing on Earth can kill it. The fifth Shaman tried to tell the others... but they didn't understand. They thought he betrayed them..."

The other Planeteers exchange looks, understanding that they cannot make this mistake again. They summon Captain Planet again (with Kwame finally saying "Let our powers combine!" for the first time) ...and this time (at last!) it's fully the Captain you remember from the show - with the sunny personality and the punny wisecracks.

Planet engages Zarm, but this time fighting to control instead of harm. Unloading all his various powers in well-timed combinations to weaken the creature and ultimately calm it down. Summoning the power of gravity, he returns Zarm to outer space where it belongs, with Ma-Ti informing the others "I think it is... happy."

As a final touch, Planet rounds up Greedly and Plunder, depositing them in front of The Planeteers before returning to the Rings with "The Power is Yours!"

News reports worldwide herald the vindication of The Planeteers and the heroism of Captain Planet. Hoggish Greedly and Sly Sludge are sentenced to prison, but legal manuvering keeps the (evil again) Looten Plunder free to continue aquiring wealth (and obsessing about Captain Planet...)

Bambi Blythe apologizes to the team for the behavior of her sister (who is still "missing") and announces that she intends to continue funding Hope Island; but as a base of operations for The Planeteers and their missions - in fact, a lot of other famous donors have stepped up to help as well (read: cameo-time for Ted Turner, Jane Fonda and whichever of the original "all-star" vocal cast wants to show up.)

EPILOGUE: The site of the power-planet meltdown, night, months later. Someone in a biohazard suit is examining the wreckage with a geiger-counter hooked up to an iPad. There's a rumbling, and up from the crumbled concrete emerges... Duke Newcomb - alive, but transformed into the familiar rock-skinned glowing DUKE NUKEM from the cartoon!

"Who are you?"

There's laughing: "Who indeed?" It's MAL's voice - he's on the iPad. The mask comes off the biohazard suit, revealing Dr. Blythe now wearing her hair to cover her facial-scar.

"...Barbara Blythe?"

"Blight. DOCTOR BLIGHT."

THE END.


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