September 2004


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Review: WB’s The Batman

For those of you cartoon fans out there, I watched the new WB cartoon series The Batman this morning. It has it’s good points and it’s bad points…

The Batarang went this way…

The animation itself is done by the same folks who do the Jackie Chan Adventures, so if you like their drawing style, you’ll like this one too. Being so familiar with the Batman series they did a few years back and the Batman Beyond series, this was a bit of a disappointment for me, as I feel the art is a little unfinished and I’m not real fond of the way they draw faces.

In this character treatment, all of Bats’ gadgets get a style redesign, including the Batmobile, which I like. Costume-wise, it’s all familiar territory. The utility belt is the ‘electronic’ version instead of the military pouches, his ears are shorter and the cape actually drags on the ground. Go here for a nice look at the changes the character has gone through while in the WB’s hands.

The voice is new as well, which is somewhat necessary concerning the timeline. It’s still a good choice. Alfred may or may not be the same actor, I can’t recall the original voice. One actor change and character treatment really bothers me though: Joker is no longer voiced by Mark Hamill, and his new look is far more outwardly psychotic – more reminiscent of Renfield from Dracula when he was in the assylum. Gone is the immaculate purple suit and black hair, replaced by a partially shredded straightjacket and seriously bad hair. Did I mention the all-red eyes? At least the quips sound like the old Joker still.

Speaking of the timeline, this is Bats in year three after he dons the cape and cowl. We get to see Bruce in his 20’s, still trying to reconcile his dual identity – Alfred has to remind him that he can’t simply disappear into being Batman all the time. His personality hasn’t attained the truly ‘dark’ aspect of later-timeline shows, and he’s not as wholly sure of himself. (In the opener, he nearly gets run over by the Batmobile and reminds himself to work on those stops.)

In this series, we’ll get to see Batman’s first meetings with all of his career foes, some voiced by old friends: Clancy “The Kurgen” Brown as Mr. Freeze, Gina Gershon as Catwoman, Robert “Freddie Krueger” Englund as The Riddler and Ron “Hellboy” Perlman as Killer Croc. On the ‘unfortunate’ list, it doesn’t look like they’ll have a role for Henry Rollins in this series. Oh – take a close listen to Mayor Grange when you see him :)

Do I like it? I’ll say ‘yes’ for now. Will I watch it? At least for the first season – it is still Batman, after all.

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