A few days ago, Warner Bros. released a sizzle reel for their new 3D animated cartoon, Beware the Batman, which will debut on Cartoon Network July 13, 2013 at 10am. Paired with the revamped Teen Titans Go!, Beware the Batman fills in the vacant slot in the DC Nation block of programming on Cartoon Network that had been occupied by Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series until they were cancelled back in March.
Here’s the reel:
Okay, so there ya go. As first impressions go, it looks fine. It’s the same 3D animation that was used on Green Lantern, but the technology has obviously improved, almost as if Hal and company’s adventures were viewed as an experiment to see if they could pull off the Caped Crusader in the same format. Then again, Batman has always felt like a character that belonged to traditional animation since his style of fighting requires freedom of movement and a fluidity that even 3D animation can’t always accomplish. But that scene with the new Magpie looked pretty decent, so maybe it’ll be better than what they showed.
As far as the content of the sizzle reel goes, they’re definitely doing their damndest to show how awesome Batman’s gong to be. Cool gadgets, the car, and a slew of new villains…well new to non-comic book readers. We get a fight sequence with Magpie, a brief glimpse of Anarky, and a car chase with Professor Pyg and Toad. It’s an interesting strategy to lead with characters that are mostly unfamiliar to the casual cartoon audience, and children especially, but I’ve got to believe that more well-known villains from Batman’s rogue’s gallery will show up at some point. This is Batman we’re talking about.
Speaking of talking, I find it really interesting that for all the action and explosions they showed in the reel, we never hear Batman or Bruce Wayne speak. This troubles me because, like so many Batman fans, what can make or break the character is his voice. I’m not even kidding. In terms of the cartoons, Kevin Conroy is the gold standard and the only actor who’s managed to live up to him is Bruce Greenwood. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Diedrich Bader in Brave and the Bold, and Rino Romano was okay in The Batman, but there have also been missteps like Billy Baldwin in Crisis on Two Earths and Ben McKenzie in Batman: Year One. The fact that the reel doesn’t bother to even give us a snippet of Anthony Ruivivar as either Bruce Wayne or Batman is a little disconcerting. I know action is important for getting people excited, but I need to hear the voice in order to sell me on Batman.
It’s also interesting that we see the barest glimpse of Alfred and yet Katana doesn’t appear at all in the reel. With all the advertisements showcasing her as basically being Bats’s sidekick instead of Robin or Batgirl, why wouldn’t they give Katana a scene in the reel or at least show her? She’s a female and a minority character, so you’d think they’d want to include her somewhere in the footage to get kids more excited about her.
But those are just my thoughts. I might watch the first few episodes since I’ve seen every animated version of Batman, but I can’t say that the sizzle reel has made me any more excited for the cartoon than I already was…which is very little. Yes, I’m still miffed about the cancellation of Young Justice and Green Lantern, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I won’t give Beware the Batman the benefit of the doubt.
What do you guys think? Are you excited for Beware the Batman? Assuming most of us probably favor Kevin Conroy and Batman: The Animation Series, which is your second favorite Batman cartoon and voice actor?