Cub Reporter ‘Clark Kent’ has a review of the new Kids’ WB! series The Batman.
After many months of anticipation, this weekend we were all introduced to the newest animated incarnation of everyone’s favorite billionaire, butt-kicking superhero in THE BATMAN. Personally, I have been eagerly awaiting the debut of this show ever since I heard it was going to take the place of that rumored “Batman Wired” concept they were pitching last year.
I especially became interested when I learned that one of my personal favorite artists, Jeff Matsuda (Jackie Chan Adventures) would be serving as the art director/producer of the show, just knowing that, I was all ready for them to “bring on The Batman”. I finally got my wish, as soon as the show started I instantly got excited, after all how long has it been since we’ve seen Batman â€œsoloâ€ on TV in his OWN show??
The opening was terrific, in the first 30 sec they managed to set the mood for the show with the newly redesigned Rupert Thorn (who looks more like a pimp now) saying “He’s here”, and Batman taking out 2 thugs completely surrounded by darkness was a cool scene. Topped off by the awesome shot of Batman swooping in to catch Thorn, then dropping him on a roof, then doing a back flip off of the water tower – I was blown away. And once the new Dark Knight uttered those famous words; “I’m the Batman” I was hooked.
Once the show got rolling I was really happy with how everything stayed relatively faithful to the source material. Here’s a rundown of what I thought about each of the characters and voices from the first episode: THE BAT IN THE BELFRY.
Bruce Wayne (Rino Romano) – A bit younger this time around, (the series is set in the first 3 years of Batmanâ€™s career) and thus a bit more “playful” but it doesn’t hurt his life as Batman at all like I thought it would. I do like how Bruce is apprehensive about going out and playing to the crowd as the billionaire playboy… he’d rather be in the Batcave “working”.
The Batman (Rino Romano) – Dark, mysterious and a total badass are the 3 best words to describe The Batman. Even though this Batman is younger than the ones we’re used to, I still think he holds his own as far as style & finesse go. The scenes of him fighting reminded me of watching a dancer, much more fluid than his previous incarnations. His look is spot on, and although I don’t care for the capsule belt and the yellow oval (on his chest) it doesn’t ruin anything for me, and his cape is HUGE this time around, I love how it surrounds him and flows across the floor when he’s standing.
The Bat-Voice – Ok here’s where I really got skeptical in the beginning. You’re going to tell me that the voice of Spider-Man from the PS games and the (short lived) Spider-Man Unlimited cartoon is going to play Batman?? Youâ€™re out of your mind! Oh, how wrong I was. Rino Romano delivers a solid performance as both The Batman & Bruce Wayne. Again, since this is a different show, Batman needed to sound a bit younger and Kevin Conroy just doesn’t fit that bill. Romano manages to completely change up his voice for the different roles he plays. Batman is a bit deeper and more gravely (as he should be), and Bruce Wayne is a bit higher pitched (not too high) and upbeat.
Alfred (Alastair Duncan) – The same old loveable butler that we’re all used to. I do like how in this series they give Alfred the chance to be a bit more youthful than we’re used to seeing. And of course that same old sarcasm is ever present. The best part about Alfred is relationship with Bruce Wayne. As I said before, Bruce would much rather spend all his time as Batman, but thankfully he has Alfred around to remind him “in order for The Batman to stay below the radar, Bruce Wayne has to stay above it”.
The Joker (Kevin Michael Richardson)- I actually really enjoyed this version of The Joker. Sure it’s not the smooth, suit wearing clown prince of crime that we’re all used to, but this is an entirely different show and warrants a change. Much like everyone else, when I first saw the redesign for The Joker I thought “yikes” but the more I thought about it, the more it grew on me. This version of Mr. J sports a brightly colored straightjacket and a wild head of bright green hair that almost looks like dread-locks. I really like that they made The Joker able to hold his own in a fight with Batman….there’s even a scene where he brushes off Batman’s blows with a smile on his face. Kevin Richardson does an excellent job as The Joker. His voice is a bit deeper, but he still sounds like The Joker to me, (with a slight hint of Mark Hamil) and his laugh is spot on. This Joker is a lot more of a loose cannon this time around so his voice needs to fit accordingly, which in my opinion it does. He sounds more menacing to me when he goes from the low tone to that high-pitched laugh.
The supporting cast – The rest of the characters were good also. Chief Rojas (Edward James Olmos) won’t be winning any personality awards, but he gets his point across and serves as the stern figure of criticism when it comes to The Batman. Detective Bennett Steve Harris) and transferring Metropolis detective Yin (Ming-Na) play off of each other nicely. One believes The Batman is nothing more than a vigilante that should be brought to justice, and the other believes he’s only there to help….sort of the “good cop/bad cop” scenario.
Overall the show was great. Sure there are a few areas for improvement, but the first episode, as a whole was solid. The action scenes were amazing to look at, and the feel for the characters was established in a nice way. My favorite parts about this episode have got to be the newly designed bat-gadgets: Batmobile, and Bat boat – simply awesome!
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it againâ€¦ If there was anyone to take over the reigns from Bruce Timm I’m glad it was Jeff Matsuda. He breathes a breath of fresh air into the Batman franchise, and I do believe he just set the new standard for the look of the DCU.
So in closing to all of you who might be skeptical, keep an open mind….give it a few episodes to really pass judgment and if you still don’t like it then oh well, you always have your BTAS DVD’s to go back to. In the meantime I’ll be tuning in every Saturday ready to “bring on The Batman”.
This episode rates a 9/10.
You can find The Batman on the KidsWB.com website. If you missed the premier episode it will re-run on Sept. 17. (check your local listings for showtimes)
Source: Clark kent