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James Bennet

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Agent Bennet
JamesBennet
Information
Real name: James Bennet, Sr.
Species: Human
Hair: Brown
Eyes: Black
Relatives: unnamed wife
James Bennet, Jr. (son)
Affiliations: NSA
Voiced by: Joe Spano[1]
Kurtwood Smith[2]

NSA Special Agent James Bennett/Bennet headed the team searching for the rogue infiltration unit Zeta, and by extension, Rosalie Rowan. Never more than a step behind, his name soon became synonymous with danger for the two fugitives. Despite his obsession, he doesn't believe Zeta is at fault and that he's simply been reprogrammed: he's twice told Zeta that he's trying to help him by reprogramming him.[3]

He is married with a son.

History

Bennett was a dedicated and relentless agent and will put himself in dangerous situations to bring in his target. While he pursues cases to the expense of his family life, the reason he works so hard is to ensure his beloved son James has a safe world to grow up in.[4] He expected discipline and dedication from his staff, believing that without a functioning team a mission would fall apart; in exchange, the one time he disobeyed orders, he reassured everyone that he'd shoulder all the blame. [5] Aware of the NSA's Infiltration Unit synthoids—which impersonate, interrogate, and kill their targets—he believed they were distasteful but necessary, telling Barbara Gordon "you're not supposed to like it".[6]

Bennet was in pursuit of a rogue infiltration unit named Zeta, who had abandoned his mission while investigating terrorist organization Brother's Day. NSA believes that Zeta was reprogrammed by Brother's Day for an unknown purpose and they must recapture him before it could be carried out. Bennet lead a squad of agents to find Zeta in Gotham City, tracking him through his homing beacon, which he was trying to disable. After a small firefight outside Hamilton Hill High School, Bennet briefed Commissioner Gordon on Zeta. They later tried to capture Zeta at the main train station, with Bennett offering to bring him in alive rather than terminate him. Cornered, the synthoid held him at gunpoint but refused to fire; Bennett responded by having his team gun Zeta down. However, Zeta faked being destroyed and escaped.Bennet and his agents left after that.[7]

Bennet continued to pursue Zeta but later returned to Gotham on a different matter: to stop another terrorist organization called Kobra from unleashing a deadly virus upon Gotham to threaten a ransom of 10 billion credits from the government. Already Kobra had tested the virus on a small tropical island—with devastating results. The NSA turned to Stalker to find Kobra's contact, Falseface, and the virus canister. Coincidentally, Batman showed up, so the two foes had to team up to save the city.[8]

Zeta called Bennett in an attempt to convince him that he was peaceful but the agent continued to pursue him: he believed that Zeta had merely been reprogrammed to believe he had a conscience. [9] He led a dedicated team across the country for months, tracking both Zeta and his new companion Ro. When Zeta began looking for his creator, Dr Eli Selig, Bennett assumed that was part of his 'terrorist mission'. (Ironically, the synthoid was doing it so Selig could prove Zeta was peaceful)

During his search, Bennett had to manage Agent West: an individual that frustrated and annoyed him.

Eventually, Bennet's obsession with capturing Zeta grew so great that he disobeyed orders from Colonel Lema not to investigate Research and Development, for it was above his clearance; believing "every minute it's out there lives are at stake" and that this trumped clearance levels, he told his staff to pretend they hadn't heard Lemak and that he'd take all of the blame when they were caught. When Agent Lee questioned this, he confronted her about her sympathies with Zee and that she might need to "rethink" her assignment. He learned that Zeta was searching for his creator, Dr. Selig, whom he believes that Brother's Day wants to capture to build infiltration units of their own. However, the synthoid escapes his grasp yet again and Colonel Lemak prevents him from even talking to Selig, having been informed by Lee, who then quits his team.[10]

This all left Bennett curious about exactly what Selig was working on and he began tracking the doctor down himself. [11] Agent Rush helped him search for Selig despite the ban from Lemak.[12]

Zeta was briefly captured and interrogated by Bennett, but he didn't believe the synthoid's answers. He was sympathetic to Zeta, believing him to be unable to tell he was being used and that was confusing him. [13] This was not enough to stop him from having Zeta's mind erased, despite the robot's pleas; unfortunately for the NSA, that reset him to a consciousless state and he tore his way through them to freedom before his memories reset. [14]

The search continued, meaning Bennett had less and less time to spend with his son. Guilty about missing a sailing trip with James, he took him on a research trip to Burnette Marine Research Center—which turned out to be where Zeta and Ro were! When an accident stranded James and Ro at the bottom of the sea, Bennett reluctantly agreed to cooperate with a captured Zeta to rescue them. Not only did he let him free to help, he (for once) allowed Zeta and Ro to flee out of gratitude.[15]

He was willing to drop all charges against Ro and let her brother Casey take her home if he helped bring in Zeta. Casey intentionally botched the capture but Bennett, while angry, let him go.[16] In contrast, Bennett assumed that the young hacker Bucky Buenaventura, one of Zeta's allies, must be working for a terrorist organisation; he arrested and tried interrogating him. When a fleeing Ro and Bucky seemed to be dead at his hands, Bennett was distraught and wishing there was something they could do. (Luckily, Zeta saved the pair - at which point the agent immediately snapped back to the chase)[17]

Bennet would finally have Zeta's innocence confirmed over a year after his run-in with Lemak. During his search he arrived at the Gnosis, the government's highest synthoid production lab, which Brother's Day attacked. He managed to pin down Titus Sweete but learned that Brother's Day didn't know, let alone use Zeta. Bennet then ran off to find out why. He overheard Dr. Selig telling Zeta and Ro about the purpose of the mysterious module in his head, which acted as a conscience, so that he could rethink his programming. Suddenly, Sweete managed to detonate the bombs placed around the Gnosis and then shot down Selig's escape pod. Bennet tried to stop him but failed, though he apprehended the dangerous terrorist and took him into custody before the base is destroyed.[18]

Because Selig is presumed dead, no one but Bennet could clear Zeta's name.

Appearances

Batman Beyond

The Zeta Project

Trivia

  • His name is alternately spelt "Bennet" (in the early Batman Beyond credits and the original WB Zeta website[19]) or "Bennett" (the Zeta Project and "Countdown" credits). Robert Goodman has written it as "Bennet".[20]
  • As well as changing from Bennet to Bennett, he had a redesign and a new voice actor for the spinoff series. When he returned to "Batman Beyond" looking and sounding completely different, Batman made no comment!
  • In "Zeta", Bennett and his team are willing to destroy the synthoid (and are tricked into believing they have) and to open fire even in public areas because of the perceived danger. In "The Zeta Project" itself, Bennett is attempting to bring Zeta in 'alive' and undamaged so he can be reprogrammed, only willing to destroy Zeta is necessary for national security, and his team limit their actions in public areas; Agent West is firmly rebuked after opening fire in a public area in "The Accomplice". This is due to the show have a lighter town than "Batman Beyond", by network request. (Once he returns to "Batman Beyond" for "Countdown", he's having rocket-propelled devices fired even when Ro could be hit and ignores a serious bomb threat!)
  • The flashback in "Plague" implies that Bennett is present on the island and saw firsthand what the supervirus did to its victims.
  • Lemak calls him "Jim" in their first episode together, both times when patronising or berating him.
  • The Season One DVD says that as Bennett gets more and more obsessive, raising questions about who is the real menace. The show itself never let Bennett get that dark.

Footnotes

  1. On Batman Beyond
  2. On The Zeta Project
  3. "Zeta" and "Wired": "Be happy, Zeta. We're going to take all that confusion away now. We're going to give you a fresh start on life."
  4. "Quality Time"
  5. "Absolute Zero"
  6. "Zeta"
  7. "Zeta"
  8. "Plague"
  9. "The Accomplice"
  10. "Absolute Zero"
  11. Asking Zeta in "Wired", retracing his steps in "Quality Time", and monitoring for any movement he made in "The Hologram Man"
  12. "The Hologram Man"
  13. "Wired": "It must be very confusing to be you, Zeta. Am I weapon, am I not a weapon? Am I in control or am I controlling myself? ... Be happy, Zeta. We're going to take all that confusion away now. We're going to give you a fresh start on life.")
  14. "Wired"
  15. "Quality Time"
  16. "On the Wire"
  17. "Cabin Pressure"
  18. "The Hologram Man"
  19. Transcript of a website bio at World's Finest Online: "get assigned to Agent Bennet's personal detail"
  20. Interviews - The World's Finest talks to Series Creator, Robert Goodman

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