Episode 2 of Beware the Batman was, for me, a nice step forward. We meet Jim Gordon for the first time, as well as his daughter Barbra, Tatsu's (AKA Katana) character is flushed out and we get a new TV villain. I'd say that isn't half bad for a days work on a Batman TV series.
I have to admit that Batman's voice (voiced by Anthony Ruivivar) and the shows animation style is growing on me. This series is embracing its sense of style and its not cribbing from what Batman shows have been in the past. (last weeks homage not withstanding) Its providing something fresh, and when it comes to DC's most popular character that isn't easy to do.
Freshness aside, the Batman staples are what makes him so enduring. One of those Bat-staples is of course, Jim Gordon, and they've done an excellent job with him so far. We finally meet him in this episode (I don't count the little news bit from last week) with his daughter Barbra as they eat their breakfast. I really enjoyed this scene and what it accomplished. As a Bat-fan I'm already familiar with Gordon's relationship with his family and Batman, but for people who may not know these intricacies this scene sets it up nicely. We learn right off the bat (excuse the pun) that not only does Jim not yet trust Batman or his methods, but also that his daughter has quite the obsession with Gotham's vigilante. We know that Barbra will one day become Batgirl but she's portrayed very young here (maybe 15 or 16?) so i wouldn't be surprised if they left Batgirl out until much later in the series. As an aside, I also enjoyed the call back to last weeks episode with Pyg and Toad. I appreciate a show that isn't afraid to embrace a running narrative and serialize itself to some degree. (I'm looking at you Jeph Loeb) One-off episodes are fun but longer story arcs lead to better story telling and more interesting character development. But back to Gordon, who is voiced by non-other than Red Forman himself, Kurtwood Smith. I love this voice casting, it just fits the character so well. He's also no DC rookie, having worked on some of their animated movies over the last few years. I'm excited to see how they handle Batman and Gordon's budding relationship as he works his way to becoming commissioner of the GCPD.
We also learn this episode that Tatsu's father worked with Alfred. I'm still on the fence about this take on the typically dower butler but I'm willing to keep an open mind. If nothing else, learning about Alfred's past and how it connects with Tatsu's should be interesting to watch.
This weeks villain is Magpie, and i have to admit, Its fun seeing these C list baddies make it on screen. Her whole lost memories mind control story could have been a little more interesting but I'll let it go because it allowed for some exceptional fight scenes. She was very much Batman's equal when it came to acrobatics and hand to hand combat, so to see her finished off with a little Batarang ingenuity was a nice touch.
I really enjoyed this episode, it provided the classic batman moments that I love (I'll never get tired of seeing Batman disappear when Gordon turns away) but still keeps it fresh and stylish. I've also really liked seeing Batman/Bruce do some actual detective work. Something that Batman in the mainstream has been missing for some time. At this point I'm on-board for what this new Batman series is delivering. And If they continue with strong episodes like this one, some of those cries for the return of Young Justice and Green Lantern might quiet down. Beware the Batman might last long, considering CN's penchant for early cancellations, but lets try to enjoy the shows we do have, while they're here.
A Few Side Notes:
- The mention of curare was perhaps a nod to Deadshot and his favorite poison?
- Magpie only made me want to see their take on Catwoman.
- I still don't see a reason that Robin couldn't work in this series.
- Cant wait to see what tests Batman has in store for Katana.