We at DKN have been compiling lists of our favorites in various categories this year in observance of Batman’s 75th Anniversary. Our last stop brings us to our picks for the Top 3 Episodes of Beware The Batman. Yes, this one is a Top 3 because the show lasted only one season and we haven’t had much time to gain perspective on it. Regardless of those points, we would be remiss not to include it. We feel that even though the show was a brief part of Batman’s long history, it deserves the attention.
Beware The Batman was the darkest, most serious Batman animated series in quite some time. It featured sleek CGI animation and focused very much on the detective aspects of the character. This interpretation of the Dark Knight (wonderfully voiced by Anthony Ruivivar) was decidedly very human. After all, one of the first things we saw him do on the show was pop his shoulder back into place! It added an aspect of realism to the show that I felt put off some viewers. People like Batman because he doesn’t have superpowers, yet they want to see him as Bat-god, if you know what I mean. The character is far from invulnerable, inside and out.
On that note, this show was perhaps the most divisive of any Batman animated series. First of all, I feel that many scoffed at it for the simple fact that it wasn’t Batman: The Animated Series. Let’s be honest: WB simply hasn’t given Batman in animation a breather. In the past 25 years, Batman has had (including this one) five series to call his own, not counting anything to do with the Justice League or other team-ups. The challenge for any creative team tasked with developing a new series is how to differentiate it from previous efforts. Their solution was to forego villains that are overused and have Katana as Batman’s main sidekick. Those two decisions didn’t sit well with everyone.
Allow me to defend that position. While it’s hard to imagine Batman without a Joker, who may have even possibly appeared had the show received a second season, was showcasing lesser known villains like Professor Pyg, Anarky, and Magpie really such a bad thing? Besides, we eventually were treated to appearances by familiar villains such as Killer Croc, Two-Face, Man-Bat, Ra’s al Ghul, and Deathstroke. As for Katana’s inclusion, many were too short-sighted to see that this show was leading up the formation of The Outsiders. That’s a team that you don’t really see explored outside of comics. It doesn’t hurt to be different.
Anyway, this article is meant to be a celebration. Here are our top picks:
In many ways, this episode was the culmination of the League of Assassins storyline. Ra’s al Ghul springs many of the villains Batman has dealt with to this point from prison. If you are a fan of seeing Batman run the gauntlet as it were, there’s a lot to love here. Fringe’s Lance Reddick also did a great job of distinguishing his vocal interpretation of The Demon’s Head from actors who preceded him.
This is not only my personal favorite, but perhaps the darkest and most mature episode of the series. Magpie returns with an unhealthy obsession for Batman. Her “love” for him drives her to some pretty insane ends. Heck, she buries Katana alive! The World’s Greatest Detective must race against the clock to save his partner’s life. This one had action, intrigue, and psychological complexity; a recipe for success.
This was the episode that introduced Magpie. When this sultry villainess shows up in town, Batman must deduce her identity before she erases the memories of a short list of innocent(?) folks. Jim Gordon’s questioning of the Batman’s ethics provided a strong subplot that eventually converged with the main one. Although this was the second episode, it helped set the tone for the rest of the series while featuring several easter eggs for stories yet to come.
Do you agree with our list? Did any of your favorites not make the cut?