I’ve spent the past few months since the cancellation of Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series, like many fans of Cartoon Network’s DC Nation, awaiting the debut of their new series Beware the Batman. Unlike Teen Titans Go!, I thought that this series actually had some potential, especially after the well received opening sequence was released last week.
Initially, I was not a fan of the animation used in BTB; the style was too sleek and cartoonish, especially compared to the more realistic and proportional Young Justice animation…sigh. But animation can be overlooked so long as the story is compelling, right? So, Saturday morning I settled into my couch and watched the first installment of Beware the Batman.
The episode starts off very well, as the audience is introduced to our hero and we begin to see just what type of Batman we are about to fight with in this new series. A somewhat gritty character, clearly instilling fear into his enemies; a commendable Dark Knight. Unfortunately, this first scene is the best this episode offers. The story is cliché’ and the enemies are childish (Professor Pig and Mr. Toad…) — I understand this is a cartoon but I think most DC animation fans are used to the darker, adult undertones that are prevalent in the Timmverse, as well as the animated movies DC continues to roll out. It is obvious that this series is targeting a younger age group than its predecessors. This can also be inferred by the depiction of Gotham City. Throughout the episode I never feel like I am in Gotham City: it’s too clean, there’s no homeless people loitering the neighborhoods, and no garbage strewn across the streets. One of the reasons Batman: The Animated Series of the ’90’s is heralded as essentially the best depiction of the Batman is because of their unprecedented portrayal of Gotham City. I realize that I keep comparing this show to those of the past, that’s because Cartoon Network cancelled two very good, and original shows and chose to make another Batman series — I can still watch the’90’s Batman on The Hub, so they are essentially competing with their own show from twenty years ago, hmm…
There are some aspects of this show that did impress me. The animation is actually very well done. The character’s movements are very fluid, making for some great action scenes. The batmobile has a great design that looks new and fresh while maintaining a classic theme. Although the batsuit seems a little too shiny at times, it is definitely a admirable, unique look for the Caped Crusader. The use of gadgetry is prevalent and fun. I won’t give any spoilers, but there are some considerable changes to the classic Batman mythos which may unnerve some traditionalist fans. I feel that they add originality to this series, though, which is something it will benefit from given the vast amount of Batman animated series we’ve seen over the years.
I appreciate the effort that has been made to create a new, unique, and intriguing Batman series, and, although it’s only one episode deep, in order for this show to survive it is going to have to adopt a much better plot as well as more interesting villains. Hopefully we’ll get a better idea of what this show can offer us in the next episode, but as of right now I am not putting Beware the Batman on my watch list.
Side Note– Can we please get superheroes who don’t skip leg day? C’mon, Bats!