Monday, July 15, 2013

On The Air: Beware The Batman (2013)

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:

Rating: B+.


magicdog said...

I caught the first episode this past weekend and it was ok - but I felt meh on it overall - mostly due to the CGI. I've never been much of a fan of it.

I couldn't help but think of Zoltar from "Battle of the Planets" when I saw Batman in his cowel - he had the same shell pink lips and pointed mask that didn't sit right with me.

I don't mind the producers going with a new bunch of villians because truth be told, we've seen plenty of great incarnations of the Joker, Riddler, et al for 20 years (over 40 if you count the 1966 live action series), and I think it would be a great change to see other villians Batman has fought. However, I do wish they'd give Bats a rest and give Nightwing or some other character a series for DC Nation. Young Justice was far better than what I've seen so far.

BTW - speaking of the '66 series, I read an article this morning on reporting it may finally get a DVD release soon! I really hope it will have some great extras and hopefully commentary from Adam West & Burt Ward, and perhaps even Yvonne Craig too!

hobbyfan said...

That might be something I can have put under my Christmas tree.

The CGI, as I said, looked more suited to a video game than a cartoon, but WB hasn't figured it out yet.

Geed said...

To be short and sweet...this "cartoon" made me sick. I was ok with CGI on Green Lantern but this...I really wanted to hurl. Alfred's a bruiser? Attacking Bruce Wayne like he's frickin' Kato from the Pink Panther movies? Simon Stagg appearing means Metamorpho will show up at some point. I saw a preview of the Wonder Woman short and thought that had more promise.

Yay for '66 Batman is true and if they put it all out at once. Then the second season of Superman and all of Superboy are all that's left of Filmation DC Heroes...maybe they can even give us the fabled Metamorpho pilot episodes!

Also, I don't know how much into old 70's anime you guys are into but Sentai Works made a deal with Tatsunoko for 11 old series like all three iterations of Gatchaman and unseen in the USA far as I know, Shinzou Ningen Casshan. Great stuff.

hobbyfan said...

The 1966 live-action Batman going to DVD would be great. That would leave seasons 2 & 3 of New Advs. of Superman, plus 3 years of Superboy shorts, and the '68 Batman toons. Maybe if WB is nice enough, yeah, they can produce the "lost pilots". Give them time, though, as they've got a zillion other things on the pipeline......

I was introduced to anime in the 70's with Battle of the Planets (Gatchaman). Shinzou Ningen Casshan sounds like something I could snag for my bro for his Christmas gift......