The DC Animated films have long been praised among geeks as some of the best representations of the DCU ever brought from page to screen, and their latest release, Batman: Bad Blood, is another example of the craft and care put into these high-quality adaptations and original adventures. Batman: Bad Blood is also one more rock-solid chapter in DC Animated’s episodic film installments set in a New 52-esque universe. Bringing the conflicted Nightwing front and center and expanding the Bat Family in new and exciting ways, Batman: Bad Blood is sure to please Batman fans with no only its action-packed plot, but the future potential it builds and bestows upon future releases.
MINOR SPOILERS BELOW
When Batman goes missing, the Bat Family (Alfred, Damian/Robin, and Nightwing) must leap into action before the villains of Gotham realize the city is ripe for the taking. Former Boy Wonder Dick Grayson is forced to don the iconic cape and cowl, work together with his rebellious “step brother” Damian Wayne, and add some additional members to the team, all in order to uncover a twisted and malicious plot behind Bruce Wayne’s disappearance. In Batman: Bad Blood, our heroes are up against a powerful, mysterious, and yet somewhat familiar adversary who calls himself The Heretic. With a plan of attack and general look that seems very similar to Tom Hardy’s Bane (but, thankfully, not a similar voice), The Heretic and an enemy from the past put the Bat Family to the test in this tense and exciting feature.
Nightwing fans will be especially pleased with Batman: Bad Blood. While Batman may get the title, this is, without a doubt, very much Nightwing’s movie. Featuring another fantastic performance by Sean Maher (Arrow, Firefly) as the adult Dick Grayson, not only is Nightwing essential to the progression of the plot of the film, but Batman: Bad Blood takes time to further explore Grayson’s intriguing and strained relationship with Batman. Who Batman is to each character, the way he inspires them, and the way he may hold them back seem to be consistent themes throughout the film. Even Batwoman and Batwing, the newer characters introduced in this film who have little connection to Batman’s inner circle, in the end, find themselves part of a unique team that allows each hero their independence while avoiding complete isolationism.
While both Batwoman and Batwing are welcome additions to the animated DCU, Batman: Bad Blood gives Batwoman the more nuanced and purposeful introduction. Intriguing given her penchant for fire arms, separation from the Bat Family, but similar origin, Batwoman is a character that has already connected with comic readers and is, clearly, about to gain new fans in this additional medium. While I applaud Yvonne Strahovski’s (Chuck, Dexter) strong performance, the decision to embrace – not ignore – the fact that the character is a lesbian as well as Batwoman’s charismatic refusal to become a victim, I do have to mention that perhaps we could have done without the scene where she’s forced to fight her brainwashed father in nothing but her undies and a revealing robe. There was plenty of additional (and far more appropriate) superhero and supervillain “eye candy” throughout the film.
In the end, Batman: Bad Blood is another winner for DC Animated and also features a stunning reveal in its final moments that will have DC fans screaming for the next Bat Family-focused release!
If you want to learn even more about Batman: Bad Blood, be sure to check out Fanboy Comics’ interviews with the cast and crew from the film’s West Coast premiere at the Paley Center for Media. Links are provided below:
That’s all for now, comic book sniffers!
‘Till the end of the world,
-Bryant the Comic Book Slayer