The new Batman television show Beware the Batman brings an animated Bruce Wayne and Batman back to the television screen. Historically, the Bruce Timm Batman: The Animated Series has been revered in the comic fan’s eyes, and the 2008 Batman: Brave and The Bold had a lighter, Adam-West feel to the caped crusader. The most recent incarnation is a huge paradigm shift from either of the previous series, moving from cell to computer animation, major character reinterpretations and a b-side rogue gallery. Quite possibly, this is the Man Of Steel for animated shows, driving classic fans away but perhaps appealing to a more general audience for The Dark Knight.
Comic fans fear change! From creative teams to character reboots to even the change of the paper being used on a book will spark endless debate online and at the very least fidgets and sighs. We had just gotten used to the campy and sometimes musical Batman: Brave and The Bold and even beaten the button mashing video game, all the while falling in love with that version of the swashbuckling and bearded Aquaman. In Beware The Batman there is a familiarity to the dark tones in both Batman: The Animated Series and The Dark Knight Trilogy.
There are stepping stones into another territory for longtime fans of The Bat in the new series that may endear you to it or have you check yourself into Arkham, driven mad by the seemingly infinite versions of Bruce Wayne and Batman.
The series is rendered in the same computer animation style as the cancelled Green Lantern Animated Series and Tron Uprising. If you can let the slick glass look of Gotham and complex architecture of Wayne Manor, The Batcave and the streets of the city wash over you (I watch on a retina MacBook) it leans toward an immersive experience. The fight scenes are well choreographed and fun to watch as the Batman clobbers the bad guys. The Batsuit owes a lot to the Nolan movies, all black, including the bat symbol, save his yellow or brass utility belt. It is a good but not great design of the Batsuit, which saddens me because I like to get excited when Bruce suits up.
Overall, the design and the computer rendering as a choice work for me withBeware The Batman, as I learn to let go of my nostalgia for cell animation and expect more of this from my heroes in the future.
The enemies in episode one are Professor Pyg and Mr. Toad, introduced by Grant Morrison in Batman and Robin. The masked freak and animal (respectively) are of the 99% and also environmental activists, seeking revenge a land deal signed by Simon Stagg and Bruce Wayne that forced many animals from their native wetlands. The Hitchcock-sounding Pyg uses kidnap and murder instead of words to resolve his issues. Toad has a sonic croak, used to break glass and knock his enemies to the ground. Batman gets involved when Alfred is kidnapped by accident (Toad mistakes him for Wayne).
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