Sometimes, JUST sometimes you can be pleasantly surprised by something you had doubts about. Beware the Batman is one of those things. Now don’t get me wrong, Batman is my favorite comic book character. He is most likely the reason I am such a big DC nerd. So I am always welcoming of anything Batman related, especially a TV show. The many incarnations of the Bat on syndicated TV span from mediocre to greatness. How can anyone deny that Batman the Animated Series was a staple of many of our geekly childhoods? So why do I find Beware the Batman “fresh” and “entertaining”? From the opening title screen, that has a very “James Bondish” feel, you know you are in for a ride. Character treatment is spot on with how I expect Batman to act and feel, he succeeds and fails, I always relate well when the character is portrayed this way. The show picks up at an early stage of Bruce Wayne’s journey to be Batman. From the opening sequence, I could see that this show was going to be good. The classic backstreet battle between the Batman and some goons is a great example of action animation. Again, I was wrong about not liking the animation style. Remember how Green Lantern: The Animated Series looked to you a first, like a rehash of Reboot, but then being totally impressed by it. Well I think the animators have taken it up a notch. The fight sequence was smooth and flawless, as would it remain throughout the entire show, when in one scene a building explodes and you are absolutely impressed by the animation!
The world of the Batman is dark and dirty, a perfect representation of Gotham City. So naturally the villains they chose to take center stage in episode one, set the tone for the show right away. How do obscure characters like Professor Pyg and his minion, Mr. Toad, get translated in to this world? They are Eco-Terrorists. From his homicidal origins in Grant Morrison’s Batman #666, and then his spotlight in Morrison’s Batman and Robin series, Prof Pyg is a rather cheeky fellow, who enjoys a bit of the ‘ol ultra-violence when it comes to protecting the environment. Pyg brings along his side-kick, Mr Toad, who unlike the professor himself (who wears a pig mask), appears to be a real toad-creature of some sort. He even has some kinda toad sonic blast. Nonetheless, these Wind in the Willowers are an interesting duo for the show. If the dark tone remains consistent, then I am really looking forward to the introduction of Ra’s Al Ghul, who is supposed to be the big bad of the season and will tie into Prof Pyg’s Eco-Terrorism storyline.
Unlike some Batman interpretations, the Batman portrayed in Beware the Batman is a true detective. Well, he does fail to realize that he would be on Professor Pyg’s list of billionaires to kidnap, the detective aspect of Batman is there. Of course, as usual, Alfred Pennyworth is there to assist. But this time Alfred is no mere butler, he’s ex-MI-6, you know like James Bond. This is the biggest change in the Batman mythos, and I am fine with it. Alfred is a badass who can carry his own, and even ends up captured only to show off his skills of survival. Welcome to the 21st century Mr. Pennyworth. So now you can see where the “spy show” aspect feel originates from. I am still wondering what Alfred’s backstory will be now, I am sure we will see down the road. If you have been following news of this show, you would know that the girl introduced to be Bruce/Batman’s new driver and body guard is none other than Katana, who in this show is related to Alfred’s past.
I am excited to see where this show takes us. I hope that the animation style keeps up to the premiere episode and the tone of the show doesn’t diminish. After my worries that DC Nation was starting to aim their programming at a younger crowd, they step forward and present us with something fresh. I can’t wait until next week.
Beware the Batman airs Saturday mornings on Cartoon Network at 10am, as part of CN’s DC Nation block!