Well, it's finally here.
"It", of course, is Beware The Batman, the newest addition to Cartoon Network's DC Nation Saturday morning package. I'll give you guys fair warning now. If you don't catch it on Saturdays, the only way you'll catch up before the next episode is On Demand, if your cabler has it.
It is an open secret that producer-writer Mitch Watson (ex-Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated) has chosen to use lesser known villains such as Professor Pyg & Mr. Toad, the latter not to be confused with, though perhaps inspired by, the version created by author Kenneth Grahame years ago. In the comics, both characters, along with the mid-80's 1-shot, Magpie, were killed off, but they're being introduced to a new audience, which might put them in play in DC's New 52 Universe in due course.
According to the esteemed Tony Isabella on his blog, the producers are "tired" of using the Joker, and need to give him and the major villains a break. Well, I can't blame the logic, really. Mr. Isabella may be looking at revisiting past disputes with DC over the use of one Tobias Whale, whom Mr. Isabella created in the mid-70's as a foe for Black Lightning. In the Free Comic Book Day preview, Whale was used as a sort-of subordinate to Anarky, who was a product of the 1990's. While Anarky was actually a child in the books then, and may be all grown up in this series, there will be fans who will watch his usage very closely as well.
We will not be seeing Robin or Batgirl in this series just yet, either, if at all. Instead, Watson has chosen to use Katana, who was created in the 80's as part of the Batman-led Outsiders team. She doesn't appear in costume in the first issue, but is installed as a bodyguard for Bruce Wayne at the request of Alfred Pennyworth, who in this series is a clean shaven former MI-6 agent, now retired, who is tasked with safeguarding Wayne until an encounter with Pyg & Toad leaves him unable to fulfill that task.
The CGI graphics, much like on Green Lantern, the series it replaces, look more at home on an old school video game. One needs only to look at CGI animated features such as "Toy Story" or "Ice Age" to see that this can be done better. The story is actually interesting, especially if you're not used to Pyg & Toad, and I fall into that category. Given ye scribe's busy schedule, I'm making an appointment to scope this On Demand as often as needed, but after today, preferably after they edit out the commercials!
Casting is a bit different this time, as they opted for lesser known, or even unknown, actors instead of familiar, name talents. Not too shabby, actually.
IGN provides the trailer: