Reviewers are a cowardly, superstitious lot. Just ask Judge David M. Gutierrez.
Our reviews of The Batman: The Complete Third Season (published May 2nd, 2007), The Batman: The Complete Fourth Season (published December 12th, 2007), The Batman: The Complete Fifth Season (published July 9th, 2008), The Batman: Complete First Season (published February 7th, 2006), The Batman: The Man Who Would Be Bat (Season 1, Volume 2) (published October 19th, 2005), and The Batman: Training For Power (Season 1, Volume 1) (published June 2nd, 2005) are also available.
Here we go again—only different!
Few characters can withstand evolving tastes and re-imaginings and still remain faithful to their core concepts. Batman, the comic-book creation of Bill Finger and Bob Kane, has gone through numerous versions in his life—from dark vigilante to campy clown to grim 'n' gritty fascist back to dark vigilante.
In Warner Brothers' latest animated release, The Batman—The Complete Second Season, Batman is still learning the ropes and not quite on his "A" game. We all know the story: Bruce Wayne's parents are gunned down in front of him. He swears to avenge their deaths and becomes the Batman to ensure no one in Gotham City has to share his horror. If you think the Batman's crazy, you should meet his villains. Homicidal clowns, victims of science gone mad, and leather fetishists only scratch the surface of the Batman's array of rogues.
Spread out over two discs, the episodes in this set include:
• "The Cat, the Bat and the Ugly"—The
Batman does a shorter version of Batman Returns. Catwoman and the
Penguin team-up against the Batman—for about five minutes.
I imagine it was difficult for the makers of The Batman to escape the shadow of Bruce Timm's Batman: The Animated Series. Known for its excellence in visual storytelling, the series set the new standard for great animation. Now you have The Batman, a series different in tone and style, but no slouch in the looks department. Visually, this series is a grand effort at a more hip and "extreme" incarnation of the Dark Knight. The kinetic eye-candy is vibrant and fun with obvious nods to Japanese speed lines and character design.
Story-wise, the show is simplistic, occasionally juvenile, but not negatively so; the majority of the set's episodes are solid entertainment. "The Laughing Bat" is the best of the lot employing an imaginative take on the Joker and how he sees the world. Also, it's nice to see a Bruce Wayne who isn't a brooding jerk who alienates the planet yet surrounds himself with children. Instead, you'll see a Bruce Wayne who continues his mission and lets his costume and crimefighting take away some of his obsession. To some, this series' Batman may not be "their" Batman. To me, it's a solid reinterpretation of a character who once did the Batusi and called his ward, "Chum."
Don't expect any frills on this set. Special features include a "Catching Up With…The Batman: Inside Season Two" and trailers. The featurette starts out as a series of clips then transforms into a commercial for the Season One DVD set. It's quite the "Drink more Ovaltine" moment.
Warner Brothers has blessed this series with a beautifully crisp picture and a full sound. An exciting series deserves a great package like this.
The Batman—The Complete Second Season is a nice change of pace for the Dark Knight. Never straying too far from its roots, it's an exciting batch of episodes worth checking out.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
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