Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Animation
The Batman may not be the most well known animated series that features The Dark Knight, but it can say that it was very successful. The show began in 2004 and it definitely put its own stamp of creativity on the Batman universe. The series can be defined as sleek, bright, and different with flashes of what a fan would expect from the Batman mythology. In this post, I’m going to discuss the episode that began it all for the series and established itself way different from other Batman cartoons.
The show features a theme written by U2 guitarist, The Edge. It’s not as epic as Danny Elfman’s score for Batman: The Animated Series, but it’s satisfying. The Edge’s score sounds like something that would be fitting for a crime/mystery show, which The Batman does feature a forensic element to its show.
Bruce Wayne is young in this show and he’s early in his career as Batman. This version of Bruce Wayne/Batman is voiced by Rino Romano, who gives Wayne a youthful seriousness. The show also introduces Alfred (Alastair Duncan), Detective Ellen Yin (Ming-Na Wen), Detective Ethan Bennett (Steve Jones), and Joker (Kevin Michael Richardson) in this debut episode. Richardson’s take on Joker is similar and different from what can be expected from a Joker portrayal. Richardson has the crazy laughter and the absurd jokes down, adding a deeper tone than what’s expected.
The plot focuses on a young Batman who has only been taking on petty criminals and hasn’t had any real competition yet. The Gotham City Police Department has formed a task force to take down Batman consisting of Detectives Ellen Yin and Ethan Bennett. Meanwhile in Arkham Asylum, Joker has placed himself there and begins a riot at the facility. Batman shows up at the asylum and has a showdown with his first true foe. He manages to handle Joker and escapes the clutches of the GCPD.
The episode is a solid beginning with plenty of its own variations of the Batman universe. That’s what makes it really stand out. The architecture of Gotham is Victorian while Batman, his tech, and his villains happen to be futuristic. The night sky is usually a bright color in the show and this episode has a bright red night sky. As the pic above shows, the characters have been overhauled. Joker has long green hair and noticeable red eyes. His prison outfit definitely is colorful and definitely deviating from the Joker norm. I know that some fans hate this look, but I enjoy it. Give props to artistic freedom.