Thursday, November 22, 2012

"Beware the Batman"? Viewers should be wary.

There is a teaser trailer that lasts less than 30 seconds currently circulating on YouTube for the forthcoming Beware the Batman, the latest CGI offering from Cartoon Network. I'm not posting it because it doesn't address the issues I want to talk about.

My brother was visiting today for the holiday and we shared information on what we knew. Prepare to cringe.

*Alfred is packing a gun. The idea is that Alfred Pennyworth, in this version, is a former secret agent before signing on as a butler to the Wayne family. For years, Batman has been presented as having no use for firearms, even though he actually did wield a gun early on in the Golden Age. So why have Alfred packing heat? Not only that, but instead of remaining confined to the Batcave, Alfred is actually accompanying the Dark Knight, based on what I've been told. Something tells me we won't be seeing much, if at all, of Bruce Wayne on this show, which would be two consecutive Bat-series.

*Batman's sidekick, at least for now, is Katana. The Japanese swordswoman was introduced back in the 80's in the first volume of Batman & The Outsiders, and more recently was a member of the Birds of Prey. Coincidentally, DC announced in their February 2013 solicitations that Katana would star in her own series. Hmmm. Y'don't suppose that Beware will be on the air by then?

*As of now, the classic villains, such as Two-Face, the Riddler, Catwoman, & Joker, the latter front & center in a current DC story arc in the Bat-books, are not scheduled to appear. Given how Joker was horribly handled on The Batman, miscast as a barefoot, dreadlocked sort, maybe it's just as well. Instead, Anarky, who was introduced in the comics in the 90's, is the central villain. That merits a......


Actually, this shouldn't be a surprise, considering that one of the producers on the show is Mitch Watson, the man who has single-handedly ruined Scooby-Doo for a lot of fans the last couple of years with his revisionist retconning. Clearly, Watson is a fanboy whose roots are in the 80's, but by ignoring Robin and Batgirl, he's removing a large chunk of the Bat-mythos, and for no other reason than to put his own stamp on another icon that doesn't need this sort of abuse.

Look, I get that Watson thinks the viewers are tired of the Joker and Catwoman. The truth is, they're also a big part of Bat-history. Catwoman, one would think, would be a hot commodity again after the blockbuster success of "Dark Knight Rises" earlier this year. I've never met the guy, but so far, I've gotten nothing but bad vibes out of his work. Bear in mind, CN screwed viewers by scheduling Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated on weekday afternoons for season 2, as if they're saying they're just washing their hands of the show, but if that were a reason, why give Watson another iconic character to mess with?

The CGI looks nice, but the writing, if it isn't solely Watson (pray there are others involved), needs to be first-rate. The DC Nation block is on hiatus from CN, and they're not exactly forthcoming with the rationale on why, be it ratings or something else, though they're airing reruns of Young Justice on Boomerang lately to appease angry fans. However, the comics version of that series is ending, also in February. Clearly, Beware the Batman is being posited to move into the block, if not to expand it, but to replace Justice, but CN is remaining coy about their plans.

Those of us who've been detractors of Watson have but two words for supporters and fans anticipating Beware:

Caveat emptor. I will paraphrase the translation: Let the viewer beware.


magicdog said...

Personally I'm not a fan of most CGI projects. They often feel cold and uninspiring to me.

Alfred was supposed to be armed but from what I'd read, thanks to the Dark Knight shooting in Aurora, CO, the creators are going to make the weapon more like a laser light gun rather than a traditional gun weapon. I do find it interesting that Alfred will be accompanying Bats in this show, somewhat like making him Watson to Batman's Holmes.

Katana I don't know much about, and my only experience with the character was seeing her on "Batman The Brave &The Bold".

I also don't mind if they go for a different lineup of Bats' rogues gallery as none of those mentioned have been animated before. From what I've been told, Professor Pyg is a pretty nasty foe.

Personally, I think it's time to give Bats a rest and have a series focusing on Batgirl or better still - Nightwing. Dick Grayson totally deserves his own show.

I don't hate Mitch Watson, and I'll admit I didn't agree with all his decisions on SDMI, but I think THAT show is one of the best incarnations of the SD franchise!

hobbyfan said...

I'll give him points for his reboot of Dynomutt (have yet to see it, since it isn't On Demand), but until I do, I can't be sure he has made full restitution for his bastardization of the Funky Phantom last year.

Anyway, Prof. Pyg sounds like a made-for-TV villain, and I'll need to take a look and see if he's inspired by someone pre-existing in the Rogues' Gallery. We've got a major convention in Colonie next fall, and as of now, Watson isn't scheduled (the guests are all more sci-fi related), but if he is, that might be the motivating point for me to actually invest in tickets and attend. I digress.

Given CN's problems with DC & WBA of late, I'm praying this show actually is given a chance to succeed, but given the two headed idiot in charge......