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New on the Tube: ‘Beware the Batman’

New on the Tube is a series devoted to reviewing relatively new television shows and determining how they may (or may not) appeal to their intended audiences, where the shows are going, and what can be done to make them better.

Show Premise: 

Unable to take on the revised machinations of the Red Skull alone, Iron Man calls upon his former teammates to reassemble the Avengers.  Stymied by his selfish and self-destructive personality, Iron Man’s ability to lead the team into battle has varying results, but the addition of a new Avenger gives him hope that Earth’s Mightiest Heroes can yet win the day.  The show airs on Saturdays at 10:00 a.m. (Eastern) on Cartoon Network.


Previously on Beware the Batman: Covering episodes #1 - #4

In an effort to curtail the growing crime problem, Batman goes up against some eco-terrorists who have been kidnapping some of Gotham City’s wealthiest business leaders.  During the ensuing struggle, Alfred is injured and can no longer discharge his duties to Bruce Wayne; he decides to call in a marker from his old days and brings aboard Katsu Yamashiro, the daughter of a close friend, to cover for him.  During Alfred’s rehabilitation, Bruce decides to test the abilities of Katsu to see if she’s up to the task of becoming his assistant, a feat that Alfred can no longer undertake.

Main Characters

Bruce Wayne (Batman): The orphaned son of wealthy philanthropic socialites, Bruce Wayne became the Batman to ensure that no others suffered as he did.  Fighting a war against crime, he seeks out to improve Gotham City with his combat skills at night and his charity work during the day.

Alfred Pennyworth:  A former MI-6 operative and close friend of Bruce’s parents, Alfred works with the younger Wayne in his fight against crime.  Hard-nosed and introspective, he tries to get Bruce to be more open to the idea of looking to others for help while still trying to protect him as the billionaire’s bodyguard.

Tatsu Yamashiro (Katana): The daughter of Alfred’s former partner, Tatsu doesn’t enjoy waiting on Bruce Wayne but does it to please her godfather.  Suspicious of the activities of the billionaire playboy, she follows him around in hopes of gaining some insight into why Alfred continues to protect him.

Lt. James Gordon: A dedicated police officer with the Gotham City Police Department, James Gordon believes in the rule of law and distrusts the motives of the Batman.  After having encountered the Batman a few times, his stance of vigilantism seems a bit shaken, but not shattered.

What Works

I’m not the biggest fan of CGI animation, but I do believe that this series does it relatively well for the most part.  Most of the characters shown have a somewhat humanoid resemblance, without any grotesque abominations of the physical body like other CGI animation has had in the past, but there are still some characters—most notably Batman—that come off as being completely unrealistic.  Specifically, the opening sequence of the show has a nice feel to it, and I really can’t tell that it’s CGI for the most part.

In addition the animation style, the attitude, and demeanor of Batman are very close to what he’s been like in the comics—a world-class mind who keeps much to himself while relying extensively on the actions of his confident Alfred (despite his better judgment).  He’s not a complete doom-and-gloom caricature of his former self, instead showing some sense of pleasantness and jocularity that do make him a bit more approachable as a person and a character.

What Doesn’t

While Alfred has always been shown as having a multitude of facets about his personality that haven’t been completely explored in his many appearances, I don’t think I can get behind the idea of him being Bruce’s bodyguard.  I believe that the character has the capability of acting in that regard, but he’s always been better shown off as being the unassuming butler who knows more than he’s getting at, a great surprise revelation to those who haven’t dealt with him firsthand.  Being someone who has to deal with Bruce’s late-night activities, it isn’t a surprise that he can field-dress many a wound inflicted upon the Batman, but to actively “protect” Bruce during the daytime is rather something I can’t really believe . . . yet.

Likewise, the appearance of Katana as a character isn’t so much an unwelcome addition than a surprise.  Most incarnations of Batman has had either a “Robin” or a “Batgirl” as the first possible, viable sidekick to the antics of the Dark Knight, so to have someone who has only occasionally been associated with the Bat Family be included kind of puts me off balance.  It is really too early to tell just how well she’ll take up the role that Bruce and Alfred seem to be grooming her for, but it looks to be no less than an exciting addition to her resume.

The Future

So far there hasn’t been a single antagonist within the series, a visible enemy for the Batman to concentrate his energies on, but that hasn’t necessarily been a requirement in previous Batman incarnations.  I can certainly see this going a lot way, so long as the show runners don’t get goofy with it the way some other comic-related shows have been lately, but it’s going to be a long time before I stop doing a double-take every time I hear Bruce Wayne’s voice. I miss Kevin Conroy.

Last modified on Thursday, 27 December 2018 16:28

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