Batman the Animated Series Review 81-85

My Batman the Animated Series reviews continue with episodes 81-85! My reviews will use an A(Great), B(Good), C(Ok), and D(Bad) rating system as well as my thoughts on the episode.

81. Harley’s Holiday: Harleen Quinzel has been psychologically rehabilitated and is a free woman. But her first day of freedom does awry quickly after she buys a dress and doesn’t remove the security tag. Chaos ensues as Harley steals Bruce Wayne’s car and kidnaps Veronica Vreeland, refusing to be sent back to Arkham. Harley is persued throughout Gotham by Vreeland’s military father, Boxy the gangster, Det. Bullock, and Batman. Eventually, Batman is able to save the fanatic Quinn and return her to Arkham. Wow! A crazy story that is genuinely funny and showcases how great Harley is without more than a mention of the Joker. The episode is a rollercoaster ride of insanity from the beginning, but the over the topness wasn’t too silly and was all genuinely funny. The episode is essentially one big joke, as all of this chaos and the return of Harley to Arkham comes from a small misunderstanding about security tags. Through all the humor, we also get a deeper look at Harley Quinn. Having been removed from society for so long, she’s pretty naiive about how the world works and she really does want to redeem herself. And her interactions with everyone from Vreeland, to Bruce Wayne, to Boxy, and to Batman were all excellent. Batman is great in this episode because he has faith in Quinn, and genuinely wants her to recover. The animation was pretty much perfect. I think everything in this episode worked. Overall, this is a classic Harley episode and a genuinely funny story. Rating:A

82. Lock-Up: Upon returning the Scarecrow to Arkham, Batman learns that there may be something wrong with the security staff at the asylum. After a review board panel decides Lyle Bolton is out of control, they fire him. On his insane quest for his twisted version of “justice,” Bolton becomes Lock-Up, and kidnaps those he blames for the problems with society. Batman catches on quick and confronts Bolton, taking him down. Eventually, Lock-Up is locked up in Arkham with those he tortured where he is pleased to be able to keep an eye on the lunatics he oppressed. Definitely an interesting episode, with a much more serious tone than the last story. Lock-Up is a great concept, as a parallel to Batman he shows the problems with vigilantism and provides a nice contrast with the Dark Knight. One of my favorite parts was when Harley, Scarecrow, and Scarface all confessed to how brutal Bolton was to them. And when Lock-Up genuinely thinks he and Batman are the same, and that he’s helping Batman it shows that Bolton is deluded and radical and that Batman is a hero. The best line in the episode is when Batman says “I was born to fight your brand of order.” The episode provides such an interesting concept that it’s almost disappointing we don’t get more of it. I think this would’ve been a good two-parter. The episode was totally enjoyable, but I was also disappointed that there wasn’t much of a mystery for the audience. The identity of Lock-Up was obvious to us, since we were following Bolton’s character, but it was pretty obvious to Batman as well. Overall, it’s a great new character that provides great contrast to the Dark Knight, but it left me wanting something more. Rating: B+

83. Make ‘em Laugh: When a spree of new bizarrely themed villains, The Condiment King and the Pack Rat, turn out to be brainwashed comedians, Batman and Robin go straight to the Mad Hatter! Only to discover that Jervis has been sedated by his own mind control tech. Thanks to some direction from Alfred, Batman and Robin identify a disgruntled ex-comedy competitor as the Joker, who must be out for revenge! After confronting the Clown Prince of Crime at the club, Batman and Robin are able to take him down. A hilarious episode from start to finish, this one had me laughing out loud several times! The use of the Condiment King was genius! They the most ridiculous concept for a super villain and made him work outside of the Adam West show. The plot itself was genius, the Joker wanting to be crowned the king of comedy may sound silly, but when he’s monologuing to Batman, we really see that he sees himself as an entertainer and thinks that the people of Gotham enjoy his antics. The mystery was really solid! If they had cut out or rearranged the scene in the middle where the comedienne was kidnapped, we would’ve been guessing until they figured it out. Everyone was genuinely funny, even Batman, who’s dry wit and approach to fighting the rookie villains was classic! An interesting thing to note that I didn’t pick up on right away was the inclusion of other plots in the background. We had Robin reading about Gordon’s rally (Shadow of the Bat) and the Riddler’s toy commercial (Riddler’s Reform) which gives us both a sense of strong mythology but a bit of question when it comes to continuity. I guess I had assumed the episodes were intended to go chronologically, but I guess that’s never really very important in a kids’ cartoon. Technically this episode could take place between parts 1 and 2 of Shadow of the Bat and during Riddler’s Reform. Or they’re just throwbacks to those episodes. The episode was really hilarious, I don’t want to explain the jokes or else they won’t be funny but wow, I didn’t expect to enjoy this one so much. Overall, we see what a Joker/Batman story should be: Dark, complex, psychological, and Funny! Rating: A

84. Deep Freeze: Wow. That title card is just perfect. Anyway…Mr. Freeze is sprung from Arkham against his will by a robot, which leads Batman and Robin to pay a visit to Karl Rossum. Rossum points the Dynamic Duo in the direction of Grant Walker, a theme park mogul, leading them to investigate the billionaire who is indeed behind the kidnapping of Victor Fries. Walker wants Freeze to help him recreate his accident to give him eternal life in exchange for the restoration of Nora Fries, who is catatonic but indeed alive. Mr. Freeze helps them stop Walker’s mad dream of a Utopian society and sinks deep into the sea with his beloved wife Nora where he may live forever. Heart of Ice is a difficult act to follow, but I really enjoyed this episode! Though far from the perfection of the first Freeze episode, this one mixes the tragedy of Mr. Freeze with a very strange but interesting Utopian dream of a mad man. The allusions to Walt Disney are NOT subtle. We have automatons, an obsession with immortality and a perfect world that are all reminiscent of the reality and myths that surrounded the famous animator. The parallels between Freeze and Walker are an interesting dynamic. One is cold but wants to be human and one is human who wants to be cold. I did like the idea of using Mr. Freeze’s immortal curse as the plot device, and I loved the return of Nora. The episode feels odd because there’s this giant city of Oceania right next to Gotham that we’ve never seen or heard of before? And this guy has been building these weapons and Batman doesn’t know about it? That felt too out of place. Walker’s plan is also pretty diabolical for a one-off villain who won’t even be remembered. Still, the elements with Freeze were compelling enough to ground the episode. The easter eggs in the Rossum scene were a lot of fun! I loved the Bat-Mite cameo, very clever! And we got a little glimpse of Krypto, Streaky, and Classic Mxyptlk (interestingly, none of whom appear in Superman TAS). The final scene with Freeze and Nora is very tragic and touching. The animation was great all around too. Overall, the episode is all around very cool as a story and as a sequel to Heart of Ice but the plot was a little too big to stuff into a short episode. Rating: B+

85. Batgirl Returns: Missing the thrill of being Batgirl, Barbara Gordon dons the cowl again after a mysterious tip leads her to investigate a stolen cat idol. At the scene of the crime, Catwoman convinces Batgirl she’s innocent, but Robin scares her away. After agreeing to meet, Batgirl and Catwoman team up to track down the stolen jade cat, leading them through a shady bar and straight into Roland Daggett’s trap. Robin saves the ladies in time and the three of them take Daggett down. After being breifly captured, Catwoman escapes in the police car. The final episode of the original animated series leaves us surprsingly Batman-less, but we get all three of his partners in crimefighting. As a huge fan of Batgirl, Catwoman, and Robin I really enjoyed the episode! I think it took a long time, but Catwoman is finally the feline fatale she was always meant to be. She’s independent and confident and a total bad ass. Batgirl is naiive and green at crime fighting, but she’s still capable of kicking serious butt and standing for justice. Robin is portrayed as a little oafish, which isn’t uncommon, but he’s still got his heroic moments. I really liked the team up of Batgirl and Catwoman, and I thought their investigation was fun. I loved the throwbacks to old episodes, which demonstrated Batgirl’s extensive knowledge of crime files and Catwoman’s history with Daggett. Though I was a little disappointed we didn’t get any Batman/Catwoman romance in the episode, it was nice to see Selina stand on her own without Batman. We did get Batgirl/Robin and Batgirl/Batman! Seeing this episode when I was young probably explains why I like the coupling of Dick and Babs so much, but have a serious guilty please “ship” for Bruce and Barbara. I think Batgirl having an idolization/crush on Batman makes sense to her character, but her playful romance with Dick/Robin that matures over time is a good character development and a smart romantic direction. The animation was superb, with all the character movements very fluid and exciting. They do struggle with Barbara/Batgirl’s face being so round, but it wasn’t as freakish as it was in Shadow of the Bat. I didn’t love that Catwoman was willing to kill Daggett, but I justify that with her being smart enough to know Batgirl would be able to save him. Though Batman didn’t have a place in the episode, and it was fine without him, I’m just upset the series is over. Overall, it’s a great and fun episode that spotlights Batman’s allies, but leaves me wanting for more Batman. Rating: B+


Batman the Animated Series Review 76-80

My Batman the Animated Series reviews continue with episodes 76-80! My reviews will use an A(Great), B(Good), C(Ok), and D(Bad) rating system as well as my thoughts on the episode.

76. Baby Doll: Former sitcom star with a rare aging disorder, Baby Doll, kidnaps her old television family to recreate her old life and “celebrate” her birthday with explosive candles to exact her revenge on the “Cousin Spunky” that upstaged her on her special day. Batman and Robin uncover her plans and are able to stop her from harming anyone. Batman chases Baby Doll down to an amusement park where after coming face to face with what she has become in the hall of mirrors, Baby Doll breaks down and apologizes. This is a bizarre episode. The concept of Baby Doll is all very odd, but kind of humorous. A child-like villain is actually kind of interesting and it was well executed here. Although Baby Doll is kind of annoying when she’s “baby talking,” the moments when she gets serious are a nice contrast. The episode is pretty slow and there’s no real mystery since we know who’s behind everything from the beginning. The best parts of the episode are: Robin, who adds to the story and is pretty funny, the fight scene in the studio where the henchwoman says “It’s a living,” and the amusement park scene. This episode was a bit of a dud for me until they got to the amusement park. The hall of mirrors scene was really good and psychological, and I actually got really sad when Baby Doll was looking at the woman she is on the inside and when she breaks down and says “I didn’t mean to…” which melted my heart a little bit. I did also like the “Animaniacs” vibe I was getting from the episode, which was nostalgic. I also remember Baby Doll creeped me out as a kid. Overall, a pretty strange addition to the Batman mythos that actually turns out to be pretty psychological but is mostly kind of a flat episode. Rating: C

77. The Lion and the Unicorn: Alfred is urgently called to London by an old agency friend and tumbles right into the trap set for him by the Red Claw! Batman and Robin quickly travel to London to save their friend and help stop the Red Claw’s terrorist plot. The episode was pretty good, we get to learn more about Alfred’s past as a government agent! Alfred is an incredibly underrated character who doesn’t get much time in the spotlight so it was great getting to know him better. The episode had a cool James Bond tone to it which really worked for the story. I think Red Claw worked much better as a villain here than she did in the Catwoman episode. Her role as a terrorist made more sense and she wasn’t stealing anyone’s spot light. The story was rather straight forward, but it had enough of a mystery to make it interesting. The animation was pretty good, it’s gotten pretty consistent episode to episode. I think Robin worked really well in this episode, since we learned about Alfred’s past alongside him (although you’d think he would’ve learned this in the however many years he lived with Bruce and Alfred. Just Sayin). I don’t have any particular complaints about the episode, but it just felt a little “Meh” since it seemed kind of devoid of the heart and mythology the other episodes utilize. When the show was re-titled “The Adventures of Batman and Robin” you can definitely tell the difference in how watered down it’s gotten to appeal to a younger audience. That’s probably why I remember these later episodes from when I was young. Overall, the episode was cool in it’s investigation of Alfred’s past and the James Bond elements they included, but it wasn’t the most exciting episode. Rating: C+

78. Showdown: Ra’s al Ghul slips through the fingers of the Dynamic Duo and leaves them a recording that recounts a tale that takes us back to the wild west! We follow the story of bounty hunter, Jonah Hex hunting for Arkady Duvall and stumbles upon a younger Ra’s al Ghul’s plan to be declared Master of America by use of a destructive flying machine with advanced weaponry. Jonah Hex stops their plan and captures Duvall. Back in the present, Batman and Robin confront Ra’s and learn Duvall is his son, and Ra’s had only been trying to reunite his family. A very irregular episode of Batman (since it has almost nothing to do with Batman himself), this tale of Jonah Hex and Ra’s al Ghul is definitely a winner! The story of Hex and the Phoenix flying machine was great itself, but the way they wove it into the Batmythos with the Ra’s al Ghul connection was genius. The dialogue was great and the characters were fun even if we only meet them briefly. I’ve never read any Jonah Hex, but I enjoyed his surprise guest appearance! Ra’s really comes across as very noble and regal, exactly what his character should be. The elements of his other offspring is a fascinating concept, one I know they’ve touched on in the comics and is definitely open to so many future story ideas. It’s got me very interested in Ra’s al Ghul’s history. The animation was great! I thought it was all very well done which made the episode all the better. There is really nothing to complain about in this episode unless you’re really stuck on seeing all Batman all the time. Overall, while it’s not really about Batman at all, we get a great story about the history of Ra’s al Ghul and a fun guest appearance of Jonah Hex! Rating: A-

79. Riddler’s Reform: The Riddler has been released and has begun creating toys, gaining fame and claiming to have reformed. But Batman doesn’t buy it, obsessing over everything the Riddler says looking for Riddles and clues. Eventually the Riddler decides that he won’t be able to stay reformed, and that Batman will be the only one to catch him, so he decides Batman must die and tries to kill him in a final trap. Batman escapes and gets a confession out of the Riddler. Somehow in the last time I went through this series I must’ve missed this episode, cause I don’t remember it at all, which is actually a good thing since it gives me fresh eyes and I didn’t know what to expect. Anyway, we finally get the great Riddler episode we deserve! The riddles are complex and challenging without being silly and over the top. We see great characterization with Batman and the Riddler, who are just so obsessive and it’s fascinating! Robin was great in this episode, he had funny lines and was great to have as a sideline character watching Bruce go a little crazy over the Riddler. Except for when he got crushed by the bookcase, I hate it when they have Robin slow Batman down. I loved the story, they’ve done a few “bad guy goes good, but Batman doesn’t buy it” stories, but this one is so well done you can forgive the trope. The Riddler proves to be the insane egomaniac he’s supposed to be. He’s obsessed with his riddles, and thinks he’s so above everyone else and that only Batman is his equal, the gloating scene in the mirror just adds a nice layer of character. Glover also does a really great job with his voice! The animation was pretty good but not as good as it was in Showdown. The scene where the bomb is about to go off is pretty intense, I really didn’t know how he was going to save himself. The safe thing was clever, but a little far fetched. I’d also like to note just how thick with mythology and continuity this episode is. Though the series is great episode to episode, as a whole it’s quite the anthology! We have Robin referencing when “What is Reality” with the Riddler’s last scheme, we have Summer Gleason on the news and if you listen carefully she mentions DA Van Dorn, and then we’ve got the Commissioner and the Penguin’s on the news. Overall, a great episode with mystery and action and finally does the Riddler justice! Rating: A

80. Second Chance: Harvey Dent is kidnapped right before he’s about to undergo a reconstructive surgery to potentially free him of the Two-Face persona. Batman and Robin individually investigate Rupert Thorne and the Penguin to find Harvey but neither of them are behind it. Batman realizes the kidnapper must be Two-Face, angry that Dent was trying to get rid of him. Using a trick coin to throw Harvey’s psyche off, Batman and Robin are able to take down Two-Face and his thugs and Bruce promises never to give up on his friend. A great return to Two-Face! Two-Face has always been one of my favorites, so I’m glad we got to see more of him before the show ended. I’m also happy to see the show really shine again, since it hit a bit of a rough patch for a little bit when it transitioned into the “Adventures of Batman and Robin.” The episode is great and complex, giving us a lot of story in a short amount of time. The entire mystery keeps us guessing and the conclusion is poetic in it’s execution. I liked the allusions to the Dark Knight Returns, with Two-Face’s surgery and his other side taking over. Using the Penguin and Thorne was a great way to use the mythos of the show and explore the relationships between the villains. I did also enjoy the fact that Penguin is in Blackgate and not Arkham, since he’s not “insane” and just a crook. The dynamic between Batman and Robin was really well done, and works as foreshadowing to Dick’s career as Nightwing, since Bruce is keeping Dick at arm’s length and treating him like a kid. But we do see Batman admit that he needs Robin and their father-son dynamic is very heart-warming. I was pleased with Robin’s portrayal since Dick gets to be witty and a bad ass. Even though we see some “Robin the Boy Captive” it’s only briefly and he’s able to save himself. It was pretty aweseom when he kicked the guys through the car and showed up to save Batman at the end. The animation was excellent as well. Overall, we get a psychological investigation into the two sides of Two-Face and a great who-dunnit mystery that keeps us guessing until the end. An extremely well done story! Rating: A


Batman the Animated Series Review 71-75

My Batman the Animated Series reviews continue with episodes 71-75! My reviews will use an A(Great), B(Good), C(Ok), and D(Bad) rating system as well as my thoughts on the episode.

71. The Terrible Trio: Batman and Robin let the Terrible Trio, a new group of thieves, slip through their fingers. The Trio is revealed to be three wealthy frat boys who decide to rob their leader, Fox’s girlfriend’s father, which helps Batman track them down to their ski resort where he takes them down. After a frustrating battle with my dvd, I resorted to other sources to find this episode and am working to remedy the fact that only half of my disc plays. And all that frustration wasn’t worth it. This is by far my least favorite episode in the entire series. It lacks any mystery since it gives away who the villains are immediately, and has no excitement, drama, or intrigue. The Terrible Trio are probably the most awful villains in the series, they aren’t crazy or desperate or fun. They’re just terrible people. Part of what I despise so much about these guys is that they’re actually realistic, and it’s not the realism that bothers me, it’s that there are people who exist that are like them. Selfish, spoiled, holier-than-thou jack asses who think they are entitled to everything. The Joker might be a murderer but he’s more sympathetic than these asshats. I wanted Batman to smash Fox in his stupid face the entire episode, but alas that didn’t even happen. There’s nothing positive to say about this episode beyond that Robin had one funny line about piloting the Bat-wing with a broken arm. Overall, a terrible story with terrible characters that should just leave this episode ignored. Rating: F

72. Harlequinade: The Joker is holding Gotham for ransom with an atomic bomb, so Batman enlists the help of Harley Quinn in order to find him, and with the help of her and Robin, Batman is able to save Gotham! The Harley-centric episode is hilarious and dark with just the right amount of silly. Paul Dini writes the hell out of this girl and Arleen Sorkin is probably the best cast voice in the entire series, she defines Harley Quinn. The episode is all very funny, but there are some laugh out loud funny parts that I really enjoyed! We get to see everything that makes Harley great in this episode. She’s funny and goofy yet dangerous, she’s dim yet clever, and she’s the hopelessly in love basket case obsessed with her Puddin’. We explore more about Harley’s origin in this episode, where they discuss her origin as a doctor who fell for the Joker and we see more of the Harley/Joker dynamic which is just spot on. These are two absolutely insane people who are over the top ridiculous. They go from hot to cold and back again, and the Joker can just manipulate her so easily, it’s actually a little heartbreaking sometimes. Robin was actually a great addition to the episode, as he was both helpful and witty, and while yet again he is tied up, he isn’t in need of rescuing and actually rescues a tied up Batman. The plot with Batman using Harley to help find the Joker was great and clever! The Joker with an atom bomb? Meh, not all that interesting since it’s too dangerous to be taken seriously and a little out of character. Overall, a really fun episode for fans of Batman, the Joker, and especially Harley Quinn! Rating: B

73. Time Out of Joint: The Clock King returns to exact his revenge on Mayor Hill, now equipped with a time control device! Batman and Robin try to protect the Mayor, but the Clock King is able to slip by them. While investigating the inventor of this technology, the Dynamic Duo is trapped in the Batmobile for two days because of the time acceleration device. They eventually are able to prevent the bomb the Clock King set from harming anyone by using the same time accelerating devices against their foe. This episode is yet another that I remember from my childhood, so there’s some nostalgia goggles attached to this one. The original Clock King episode was interesting because the Clock King was such a dangerous opponent, which he was in this episode, but both times his plan and motivations are just a little silly. I did like that they brought time-control into the Clock King’s character, but the physics behind it just seems really off. But then agian, this is a cartoon, and I am not a scientist. The episode definitely has some great moments. Robin was a nice addition, with some funny/cheesy one-liners. Time-boosted Batman and Robin was pretty cool, especially when Batman was running with the exploding bomb. The animation was pretty good with the time warping stuff, but Robin was distinctly miscolored in one scene which was distracting. Overall, the episode is fun but nothing special. Rating:C

74. Catwalk: Selina Kyle recaps her history as Catwoman while at a charity gala hosted by Veronica Vreeland, whom Selina insults. After confessing to Bruce Wayne that she misses her life as Catwoman, Selina accepts an offer from the Ventriloquist and Scarface to rob the museum of priceless jewels while getting revenge on the Vreeland family for their past as animal poachers. But while robbing the museum, Scarface double crosses her, sending Catwoman on a quest for revenge. After tricking Batman, Catwoman confronts Scarface and the Ventriloquist, and Selina eventually resumes her lonely path as the free-spirited Catwoman. Definitely the best Catwoman episode we’ve had so far! The episode is pretty good, full of witty dialogue and one liners and a much more interesting Catwoman. Dini does a good job with all the characterization, and I’m glad we see the return of the Ventriloquist and Scarface, who are always a lot of fun. In this series, I’ve enjoyed Catwoman but disliked Selina Kyle. The animal-activist thing is just not clicking, but the direction they took here with Selina’s burning need to be free and do what she pleases is infinitely more interesting and makes her more likable. I’m guessing there was some issue about having Batman love a bad-guy, which is why she turned out the way she did. Catwoman and Batman’s relationship is so much more fun in this episode too, because they finally have that push and pull. As Catwoman famously says, “I don’t know whether to bite you or kiss you.” And I think that perfectly sums up their dynamic. The plot itself with the double cross and the character building of Catwoman is all very good, but there was just something to be desired with the level of mystery and drama. I did actually laugh out loud when Selina laughs and mocks Scarface when she first meets him. They are a very unlikely team. The animation was really good, I thought the character movements and faces were all well drawn, and they did a great job with Batman’s cape. Women’s faces in particular are sometimes animated funny in this show (Barbara Gordon) but this episode did awesome work with Catwoman! Overall, a pretty good episode that finally gives Catwoman the credit she deserves. Rating: B

75. Bane: Rupert Thorne hires the mysterious masked assassin known only as Bane to kill the Batman. When studying Batman and Robin while they hunt down Killer Croc, Bane destroys the Batmobile and hands them a defeated Croc on a platter. Batman interrogates Killer Croc, investigates the legendary Bane, and traces it all back to Thorne. Bane captures Robin and holds him hostage while he faces off against Batman in combat. Batman is able to defeat Bane, and rat out Thorne’s secretary, Candice’s plan to betray her employer. Enter: Bane! This is another childhood favorite episode, as the chemically-charged Bane is a pretty cool character. I’ve never read Knightfall so I don’t know how closely they adapted it, but I know it’s supposed to be a watered down version of that story. I thought the whole episode was great, it had a strong villain with a motive, and a mystery, and a physical challenge for Batman. I loved that they kept Bane as the calculating foe that he’s supposed to be and didn’t dumb him down. I thought the inclusion of Killer Croc was a great element to the story. I really liked the episode, and while I really like when they use recurring characters like Thorne and Candice, I would’ve preferred the episode to focus solely on Bane. All the stuff with Thorne was boring. What was cool about this episode? The strange masked man with the plan and power to break the Batman! Another complaint that I keep coming back to is Robin. I love Dick Grayson, and I do really enjoy when he’s on the show, but I feel like the writers never know what to do with him. Because, yet again, we have Robin the Boy Hostage. Dick is chained up shirtless and nearly drowned. Poor guy can’t catch a break. Unfortunately, I think this is an episode that didn’t really need much Robin. I thought the animation was pretty good too, I didn’t really notice anything glaringly bad but it wasn’t stand out impressive like Catwalk. Overall, a great inclusion of the character Bane that challenged Batman physically and mentally just as Bane should, but the episode definitely felt a little bit watered down. Rating: B


Batman the Animated Series Review 66-70

My Batman the Animated Series reviews continue with episodes 66-70! My reviews will use an A(Great), B(Good), C(Ok), and D(Bad) rating system as well as my thoughts on the episode.

66. Sideshow: Killer Croc escapes while being transported via train to an upstate prison, only to be pursued by Batman through the forest. After escaping, Croc is rescued by a friendly gang of Circus people who quickly accept him into their family. When Batman discovers their private hideaway, he finds them unwilling to give up their new friend. Batman struggles to convince the Circus family at that Croc isn’t who he says he is at first but when Croc tries to kill him they ask him to leave. After Killer Croc locks up the circus people, they all work to escape so Batman can challenge Croc in a final battle. Croc is detained and proves that he’s just a rotten person. An underrated and surprisingly dark episode, I always remembered this one from when i was young and now I remember why. First I must gush about the animation. It’s nearly flawless. It’s so beautifully done throughout the entire episode. The easiest way to spot good animation in this series is Batman’s cape, but everything just flowed so beautifully. The action, the faces, the everything. The story itself was more of an emotional character investigation than a mystery. The Circus Family was just so wholesome and sweet, you can’t not fall in love with them. The major theme in the episode is Croc’s heart. A cold-blooded killer by nature, Croc’s frigid and selfish heart is seemingly warmed by the Circus family when he puts back the box of money. Even though in the end, he says being himself means being bad, you have to think that if he had stayed with the family, could he have changed? Batman is clearly out of his element in the wilderness, which is always interesting to watch. Also, I pride myself in noticing the cop that was obviously Bruce in disguised and we get a nice throwback/reference to Almost Got ‘Im, when Croc nearly kills Batman with a big rock, (in my mind this episode takes place before Almost Got ‘Im). The only complaint I have at all is the seal boy’s stupid anime eyes. Ugh, they just look so glaringly out of place with the rest of the animation style. Granted, he is half boy half seal, but still it bothered me. Overall, a beautifully animated episode that packs an emotional punch and some powerful suspense. Rating: A-

67. A Bullet For Bullock: Detective Harvey Bullock is being threatened and targeted, so he goes to Batman for help. The two begrudgingly work together to find who is out for Bullock’s blood. But after they follow a couple leads and bust a few gangsters it turns out the entire conspiracy turns out to be someone completely unexpected. The episode channels a really powerful crime noir vibe which is a lot of fun. It definitely connects to Vendetta, where Bullock took center stage as the semi-crooked cop. Bullock may be a slob and a jerk but he’s a fun character, if not only for his rivalry with Batman but also his ability to carry a cop story. I don’t want to spoil the mystery of the episode but it’s a pretty clever twist. The episode has some funny quips and great dialogue. The music was excellent, and really channeled the 40’s pulp vibe of the story. The animation was pretty decent with excellent use of shadow. Seeing all of Bullock’s relationships with the other characters like Montoya and Gleeson was fun too. The final reveal was just a sliver too silly for me to really get behind, although I thought it was funny and clever. Overall, a quality story about Bullock and Batman with a powerful noir pulp vibe. Rating: B+

68. Trial: Poison Ivy is sentenced to Arkham for rehabilitation because she had been captured by Batman, and Harley promises her a surprise is coming. Meanwhile, District Attorney Janet Van Dorn strongly opposes the Batman and his vigilantism to Gordon and Bruce Wayne, but when she is kidnapped and captured alongside the Dark Knight after a trap is set, she is forced to defend him in a mock trial being held in Arkham Asylum! The rogues of Arkham claim that their existence is Batman’s fault, a notion Janet had formally supported. But after her interrogation of the criminals, she comes around and the court run by Judge Joker finds Batman innocent. Only to change his mind and decide to kill them both anyways. Luckily Janet is able to help Batman escape and they get away, making amends when Janet accepts Batman’s place in Gotham. This is a fantastic episode! It’s a clever and funny plot wrapped around a pretty interesting investigation into the dynamics of Batman and his rogues and their impact on Gotham City. Janet Van Dorn is an interesting character, and one we’ve met before. She’s a tough as nails DA and actually makes a lot of compelling points on both sides of the argument. We get so much in this episode it’s hard to squeeze into one review. There’s a lot of throwbacks to previous episodes and a very clear understanding of who the characters are. No surprise, Dini and Timm are behind this episode! I have nothing bad to say about this episode at all other than I wish it had been longer! We could’ve seen some of Two-Face’s prosecution against Batman. Overall, a really awesome Batman story that encompasses so much of the Bat-Universe! Rating: A

69. Avatar: The new Egyptian exhibit attracts the attention of Ra’s al Ghul, surprisingly back from the dead which leads Batman to seek out Talia and enlist her help in finding her father. They follow him across the world and end up in Cairo, Egypt where Ra’s finally discovers the lost tomb of Queen Thoth Khepera and attempts to learn her secrets to power and immortality. After Batman saves Ra’s, he plans to turn him into the authorities, and is double crossed by his supposed “Beloved” whose loyalty still remains to her father. It was inevitable that the infamous Ra’s al Ghul would return after his climactic defeat in The Demon’s Quest. This episode had big shoes to fill and I think it did a pretty decent job. Definitely not your run of the mill Bat-tale, this episode radiates a heavy Indiana Jones vibe! But the episode felt short and the thrills were a little anti-climactic. Mostly this episode just left me wanting more. I think if they had skipped the prologue in ancient Egypt and expanded more on other things, the episode would’ve been more solid. I’m not a huge Talia fan, but this episode definitely did her more justice than The Demon’s Quest. She’s actually a capable human here and she proves to be duplicitous which makes her more interesting. I like the Batman/Talia dynamic only in the passionate flirtation/fling sense, but they’re just not destined for each other. One part that I didn’t really like was when Bruce said the only thing that him and Ra’s agreed on was their feelings for Talia. My reaction “I hope not!” I would like to think that Bruce and Ra’s feel a little differently about Talia, seeing as Batman wants to sleep with her and Ra’s is her father. Just saying. Anyway… Overall, a great and thrilling episode that does fall a little bit short on filling in the shoes of it’s predecessor. Rating: B

70. House and Garden: A mysterious string of poisonings of wealthy men in Gotham leads Batman right to Poison Ivy, but it would seem that Pamela Isley has forsaken her life of crime after her rehabilitation in Arkham and settled down into a family with her new husband, Professor Chris Carlyle and his sons. Batman refuses to let his suspicions go, and trails Ivy after Dick Grayson is kidnapped to get to Bruce Wayne, and after Pam seems to have turned over a new leaf, Bruce pays the ransom to the kidnapper. The bizarre plant-beast attacks Wayne but Batman is able to escape with Robin in tow. When Robin reveals that Carlyle has daughters, Batman goes directly to the Carlyle residence and faces Poison Ivy and her mutant plant-children. This is another episode I remember very distinctly from when I was young, so I’m a little biased towards it. I did enjoy the episode, even if the mystery wasn’t very surprising and there weren’t many thrills. I really like Poison Ivy, I think they always do a great job in this series of making her both a dangerous villain and a character you can genuinely empathize with. Her goals here are greed based in her extortion schemes, but also motivated by her desire to have children when she physically cannot. The plant-babies were genuinely creepy with their Invasion of the Body Snatchers feel. I will complain a little about the final form of the Plant-Monster “children” because I just didn’t like the design of them. I thought they were kind of cool but too monstrous and clunky. I thought everything after the dock scene was all really great. The rest of the episode felt a little weak to me. I’m a little torn on my feelings towards Robin in this episode. We see, yet again, Robin the Boy Captive, where Batman has to save his sidekick. But we also get the playboy Dick Grayson and someone else to fight the monsters. I thought the animation was decent, but especially good with the plants and the melting plant-people. Overall, the suprisingly dark and mature Poison Ivy story is interesting but could have been a lot better, espeically since it was written by Dini. Rating: B


Batman the Animated Series Review 61-65

My Batman the Animated Series reviews continue with episodes 61-65! My reviews will use an A(Great), B(Good), C(Ok), and D(Bad) rating system as well as my thoughts on the episode.

61. The Demon’s Quest part 2: Batman saves Talia from Ra’s, allowing her to be able to snap her father out of his madness. After Batman refuses Ra’s al Ghul’s offer to be his heir again, Ra’s decides that if he is not with him, he is against him and attempts to kill Batman, allowing him to escape. Ra’s continues with his plan to destroy humanity in order to create a new world order in preservation of the planet by flooding the world in Lazarus pits. Batman tracks down Ra’s, and defeats him in a duel, allowing him to save the world! The epic conclusion to the Demon’s Quest. The scariest/coolest part of the episode is how in a very twisted way, Ra’s al Ghul’s plan seems noble. He’s fighting for the preservation of the planet. Batman and Ra’s’ duel is exciting and fun and a great translation from the comic. The terrific score and animation do this episode a solid favor in creating one of the most dramatic episodes of the series. The only minor complaints for the Demon’s Quest saga I can come up with would be Talia. She could be a lot more interesting if she was a bit more of a femme fatale and less of a damsel wannabe bride of Batman. No wonder he leaves her in the desert. I like that Helen Slater voices Talia because it’s cool that Supergirl was involved in the show, but Olivia Hussey (when they recast her for Batman Beyond) has a much better suited voice for the character. The Demon’s Quest could honestly be a great adaptation for a feature length movie, especially if they fleshed some bits out a little more. Overall, an epic tale that cannot be missed. Rating: A

62. His Silicon Soul: Batman stops two thugs in a robbery, only to be revealed as a cybernetic imposter. The real Batman investigates his mysterious doppelganger, leading him back to Karl Rossum, who gets a visit from the Batbot seeking answers to his existence. Eventually, Batbot recovers the H.A.R.D.A.C. software, allowing him to continue the twisted replacement of humanity scheme from Heart of Steel. Batman and the Batbot duel, but after the Batbot seemingly kills his human counterpart, he feels terrible guilt, destroying the H.A.R.D.A.C. infected Bat computer and saving humanity, destorying himself in the process. A very underrated episode! This episode was full of heart and mystery and just really cool elements that made it a great story! The Batbot character was really interesting. As he provided a physical challenge to Batman, while questioning his existence and his humanity. The internal struggle between robot and computer was very well done, and very emotional. He proves that even though he was a machine, he may have had a soul. We also got to watch Batman fight Batman! The fight scenes were epic and well animated, the distinction between the Batmen with the red eyes was a clever touch, and the battle in the Batcave was pure awesome. Overall, a really good episode that deserves more attention than it gets. A

63. Fire From Olympus: Shipping mogul, Maximilian “Maxie” Zeus believes himself to be the Greek God of the sky, Zeus, due to his good fortune. The mentally unstable Zeus steals a lightning cannon, planning to burn the world with the Fire of Olympus to make the world remember the Gods of Old. With the help of Maxie’s girlfriend, Clio, Batman is able to sneak into his Olympian stronghold and defeat Maxie Zeus. This is one of the blandest episodes of the series. It’s just not a good story, the villain is too crazy and delluded to be compelling. There was no real mystery or depth to the plot beyond, go fight the bad guy. The only fun part of the episode was when Zeus referred to Batman as Hades, Batman fought the snake and the boar, and when Zeus paralleled the Arkham Villains to other Greek Gods. The animation was pretty good, especially with the lightning. Overall, though the episode is still watchable it’s forgettable and boring and doesn’t stack up against the rest of the series. Rating: D

64. Read My Lips: A new crime spree from a shadowy new crime boss has Gordon and his men baffled, leading Batman to investigate. After identifying one of the henchmen, Batman is lead back to their hideout in an abandoned mannequin factory where he learns the crime lord in question is Scarface, a wooden puppet! After further investigation, Batman is captured by the Scarface gang and is able to escape and defeat them by turning the two personalities of the Ventriloquist and Scarface against each other! A great episode that introduces Scarface and the Ventriloquist! The whole episode has a 40’s gangster feel to it that really vibes well with the story. The music, plot, dialogue, and sequencing are all very well combined to really push that pulpy noir feeling. The Ventriloquist/Scarface is a really interesting character, because he’s so psychological. I’m terrified of creepy puppets, and I attribute Scarface and his dominant personality to my pupaphobia. The episode also references Batman’s training with Zatara, which gives the episode continuity and a logical explanation for how Batman knows about ventriloquism. It’s also a clever parallel to how Zatanna has pupaphobia in her solo series years later. All the characters had great personality, from Gordon being scared of Batman’s sudden appearance, to Scarface and his gang. The animation was only so-so. I loved the use of shadow but the movements were choppy and stiff. I did feel like the finale seemed a little anti-climactic because it was so rushed. If it had been a longer episode it could’ve been a little more exciting. I did love the final epilogue scene where Scarface is being reborn. Overall, a great psychological gangster story. Rating: B+

65. The Worry Men: The obnoxious Veronica Vreeland returns to Gotham with “Worry Men” for all her friends, little trinkets to keep under your pillows to rid yourself of worries. But when the elite of Gotham are suddenly giving away all their money with no recollection as to why, Batman investigates. Using the devices found in the Worry Men, and the fabric ripped from the mysterious Jungle men stealing the money, Batman tracks down the culprit, The Mad Hatter! Batman battles theatrical dummy versions of his foes and is able to free the Hatter’s henchmen of the mind control and turn the tides on the Hatter. This episode is surprisingly great! The Mad Hatter is a tricky villain, because he’s so gimmicky and can be a little cheesy, but this episode does him a solid justice! The plot has an interesting mystery that ties into the mythology of the series, while adding the jungle elements. The battle scene in the theater with all the theater-prop versions of the Bat rogues was awesome! It was just so clever and fun! And the Joker-in-the-box was a nice homage to the old Batman cover. The Guillotine scene was great and very intense! The animation was decent too. Overall, a fun and enjoyable Batman episode! Rating: B+


Batman the Animated Series Review 56-60

My Batman the Animated Series reviews continue with episodes 56-60! My reviews will use an A(Great), B(Good), C(Ok), and D(Bad) rating system as well as my thoughts on the episode.

56. Harley and Ivy: The Joker kicks Harley Quinn out of the gang after a mistake cost them an attempt on Batman’s life during a car chase. While trying to strike out on her own, Harley teams up with Poison Ivy and they become fast friends, soon gaining infamy for being the new Queens of Crime and attracting the attention of Batman. The Joker seeks out Harley once he realizes he might actually need her around and that she’s become successful. Batman, the Joker, Harley, and Ivy all clash at the girls’ home base which ends explosively, landing the criminals in jail. This is a great episode! It’s a lot of fun to see Harley and Ivy become these dangerous femme fatatles, and their friendship is fun to watch and adds some dimension to their characters. There’s definitely a strong girl-power message, where the two women don’t need men to be successful, and they commit crimes in the name of girl power. Not really “feminism” per se, but they definitely prove themselves to be just as capable as any male villain. I like the way Dini writes female characters. Harley’s relationship with the Joker is dramatic in its realism, they are obviously a very dysfunctional couple, and while they are definitely an extreme case of a tortured romance, we all know that couple or have had that relationship where one person is just so hopelessly enamored with someone who doesn’t seem to love them back. Harley and Ivy’s friendship is definitely the highlight of the episode. It’s definitely important, as their relationship has since crossed into the comics and it’s cool to see them play off each other and see these characters interact with someone other than Batman and the Joker. The infamous lesbian subtext between the two is definitely there as subtext but it’s pretty subtle and it’s bisexual subtext at best. The animation was good too, but not very consistent. The plants, explosions, action, and character movements were all good, but the lips/speaking was a little lazy. Some Easter eggs like the Catwoman drawing on their fridge and the poetic ending where Rene Montoya arrests them after they declare themselves unconquerable by any man is icing on a very sweet cake. Overall, a funny and entertaining episode that gives me nothing to complain about. Rating: A

57. Shadow of the Bat part 1: After Batman and Deputy Commissioner Gil Mason bring Rupert Thorne to justice due to the tips of an mystery informant, Jim Gordon is arrested under the accusations that he’s on the take, leaving his daughter Barbara angry and confused. When Batman tells Barbara to stay out of the investigation and refuses to appear at her father’s rally, she dons a Batman costume and ends up unmasking one of the assailants who fired upon the rally. Barbara and Dick conclude that Gil Mason has something to do with the framing of her father while Bruce, as Matches Malone, discovers that Two-Face is behind everything. The episode ends with Barbara donning her Batgirl costume, determined to clear her father’s name. This is an awesome episode! Splitting it into two parts was also a great decision, as there’s so much happening. The story is layered and exciting with some great cliff hangers that build a lot of suspense. Barbara Gordon’s determination and prowess as a detective and a gymnast are well showcased, with great build up to her donning the cowl as Batgirl! Robin doing a little bit of detective work is a refreshing change, and it’s nice to see the Gotham Justice Department staff expanded upon. The animation is pretty decent with the exception of Barbara Gordon’s face, which they just can’t seem to get right. Overall, a great start to the Batgirl saga! Rating: A

58. Shadow of the Bat part 2: The Batgirl Saga continues! Batgirl and Robin end up crossing paths on their investigations, prompting Robin to tell her to stay out of things, which Barbara obviously ignores. They both end up at the Abandoned Subway, where Two-Face and Mason are ID’ing “Matches Malone” and Harvey admits to setting Mason up as Gordon’s Deputy, but Barbara’s greenness gives away her and Robin’s positions, forcing the three Bat heroes to flee. When the subway floods, only Batgirl escapes to the surface while Bruce and Dick are trapped below. Gordon is further incriminated when Two-Face’s men break him out of jail. Batgirl rescues her father, teaming up with the Dynamic Duo to defeat Two-Face and Mason! An epic conclusion to the strong two-parter. It’s fun to see Batman, Robin, and Batgirl all teaming up together at last after they did such a great job of weaving Barbara into the show prior to her time as Batgirl. I really love Batgirl, I always have. I fell in love with her character when I was younger, I don’t know why but ever since Barbara Gordon has been my favorite DC lady so this Shadow of the Bat saga was a lot of fun for me. I thought the story was excellent! It was complex and dramatic, and just dark enough to fit perfectly into this universe! Two-Face is one of my all time favorite bat-villains, but I don’t know if I would have used him in this saga. I loved the way he was portrayed, but i don’t think I would’ve wanted the overlap of this being a “Batgirl story” versus a “Two Face story.” I obviously enjoyed the hell out of it, but I think creating a small time rising crime boss syndicate with an homage to Killer Moth (the original villain Batgirl fought during her debut) would have been cooler. The only other complaint I have is Batgirl’s voice. I think Melissa Gilbert’s voice isn’t a great fit, I much prefer Tara Strong’s interpretation in the New Batman Adventures. I also wanted to note the flirty subtext they began weaving between Batgirl and Robin, obviously that comes into play much heavier later but I thought their little “rivalry” was fun foreshadowing. Overall, a great set of Batman episodes that brings Batgirl into the mythology! Rating: A

59. Blind as a Bat: While hosting an exposition for Wayne Tech’s new Raven, a silent aircraft with digital radar, the Penguin hijacks the craft, causing an explosion that leaves Bruce Wayne blind! Despite Dr. Thompkins’ instructions, Bruce uses a the same radar tech to allow him to see, allowing him to be Batman and take down the Penguin. When their aerial duel goes south, Batman’s radar is broken and he is forced to actually fight the Penguin blind. This is the episode I remember most significantly from when I watched this show as a kid, and although the concept of Batman blinded, forced to rely on technology and his other senses is really cool in theory, I don’t love the execution here. Never a fan of the Penguin, I really didn’t care for the plot very much. The fact that Wayne Tech is building weapons bothers me, because (as Bruce mentioned himself) it makes him uneasy and he would never approve of building guns. The Penguin’s scheme was taken a little lightly, I mean he destroyed a bridge, that should’ve been much more dramatic. I realize it’s a show for kids but what could’ve been a much more intense scenario was a little too watered down. Though the Batwing design is seriously awesome, i didn’t care too much for that aerial battle. I thought when Batman was stumbling around completely blind was really funny, but I don’t think it was supposed to be. The animation was good, and the parts about Bruce’s blindness were interesting but the episode just bored me. Rating:C-

60. The Demon’s Quest part 1: Robin is abducted and after days of searching for his ward, Batman is approached by the mysterious Ra’s al Ghul, who proposes they form an alliance, as his daughter, Talia, has also been kidnapped. Along with Ra’s’ servant Ubu, they travel the world searching for their friends. When Batman finally finds Robin, it is revealed that Ra’s al Ghul has been responsible for everything. Ra’s’ plan was to test Batman’s worthiness as an heir to his empire, but he finally succumbs to the illness that had been plaguing him, forcing Talia and Batman to lower Ra’s into the Lazarus Pit! Ra’s is saved but stricken by madness, attacking Talia and laughing maniacally…An awesome episode! The Demon’s Quest saga is truly epic, and one of the can’t misses of the show. It’s not often we see Batman leave Gotham, and his Globetrotting adventures with the diabolical Ra’s al Ghul is pretty exciting. The episode is cinematic and suspenseful with good drama, detective work, and intrigue. The episode is written by Dennis O’Neil, the original creator of Ra’s al Ghul and the story this episode is based on. The episode is also very well animated, and Ubu’s strikes against Batman are funny and bad ass, and the way Batman explains how he figured everything out is classic! Overall, an awesome beginning to the dramatic Demon’s Quest saga! Rating: A


Batman the Animated Series Review 51-55

My Batman the Animated Series reviews continue with episodes 51-55! My reviews will use an A(Great), B(Good), C(Ok), and D(Bad) rating system as well as my thoughts on the episode.

51. The Man Who Killed Batman: A clever and humorous story that follows the hopeless criminal, Sid the Squid’s accidental defeat of the Batman! Told in flashback by Sid to Rupert Thorne seeking protection, Sid relays the tale of how he unintentionally killed Batman in an explosion, gained temporary glory, and was nearly killed by the Joker. Ultimately, Batman survived as was tailing Sid all along to find out who was behind the original operation. A really fun episode! Though Sid is a criminal, he is a lot of fun and really sympathetic. The storytelling through flashbacks through a minor character’s perspective was really intriguing. But of course, who shines the brightest is the Joker! The Joker’s reaction to Batman’s death is so fun, because although he spends all his time trying to kill Batman, he’s angry that he’s dead because he didn’t get to do it. The Animation was pretty good, no real complaints worth mentioning. Dini and Timm hit another home run! Overall, a really fun story in the world of Gotham City! Rating: A

52. Mudslide: Clayface returns in an attempt to save his own deterioration he has taken to stealing chemicals, causing Batman to get involved. The story line is a little one note, but the episode is really great! It has a mystery for Batman to solve but he ends up mostly just chasing around after Clayface with some digging into his past to the side. It does investigate the psychology of one of his foes, and how he deals with his current state and motivations, fleshing out his character. Clayface is one of my favorites in this series, because they treat him like a real character, not just a villain or a shape-shifting crook. Plus his powers are just so cool! The final battle between Batman and Clayface is dramatic and really well animated with a climactic death scene from Matt Hagen. I remember this episode significantly from my childhood, and it always scared me when Batman was trapped inside Clayface, I used to act out Batman’s escape under my blankets. I do stand by my theory that Clayface is bisexual, because the undertones in his first appearance were so strong and his relationship with Dr. Bates is so one sided. Overall, what this episode lacked in complicated plot it makes up for in character, drama, intrigue, and fun. Rating: B+

53. Paging the Crime Doctor: Crime Lord Rupert Thorne’s brother Matthew is the Crime Doctor, an out of license doctor who helps clean up Thorne’s men. When Matthew learns of Rupert’s severe heart condition, he is forced to operate on his brother but needs help. So, they kidnap Dr. Leslie Thompkins, an old friend, and together they save Thorne. Matthew and Batman help Leslie escape. The episode is low on thrills but has some heart. The concept of a “Crime Doctor” who treats criminals is actually a pretty cool concept, and fits nicely into the world of Gotham. Other than that, the episode also has some good moments dealing with the Waynes. Batman discovers that Matthew was a friend and colleague of his father, Thomas Wayne. Though the episode is pretty dry, the ending where Bruce Wayne offers to help Matthew Thorne in exchange to hear stories about his father. Overall, a rather bland episode but not a particularly bad one. Rating: C-

54. Zatanna: Introducing the mistress of magic, the enchanting Zatanna! Bruce Wayne attends a magic show performed by Zatanna Zatara, who it is revealed in flashback to be an old friend. Bruce trained with her father to learn escape art and Bruce, under the obvious guise of “John Smith” and Zatanna had a flirtation. Zatanna is framed for using her illusions to rob the mint and teams up with Batman to find and capture the man responsible. Zatanna proves to be a fun character, with spunk and wit so I really enjoyed her. I actually liked the fact that her magical abilities are downgraded to being just illusions and are only alluded to being actually mystical. In this series it takes out the supernatural and creates a pretty real world Gotham, and magic wouldn’t fit very neatly into the Mythology yet (but this episode is a good warm up for that). Batman and Zatanna’s relationship was definitely a highlight of the episode! The plot itself was disappointing, especially for Dini. It just seemed a little ho-hum and the villain and mystery were relatively low-thrill and low-interest. And the explanation of the illusion and the robbery was too confusing and I am still not entirely sure what happened. The animation was pretty weak but the fight scene on the plane was pretty good! Overall, a fun introduction to Zatanna with witty dialogue and a look into Batman’s past and present but with a rather bland plot. Rating: B

55. The Mechanic: After Batman takes the Batmobile to his personal mechanic, Earl is forced to sabotage the car by the Penguin. A surprisingly good episode I was assuming would be rather bland. We learn the origin of the Batmobile, meet Earl Cooper, and we get some car chases. I’ve never been a huge Penguin fan, but I thought he was well done in the episode. Though it’s still the Penguin so it can only get so good. The whole episode was well written, with good dialogue. They were able to make a slightly one note plot into an interesting story. I really liked Robin in this episode, he has a tendency to bring stories into the realm of cheesy, but he was funny and I liked him being here. The Penguin controlling the Batmobile plot is nothing new, but I didn’t mind the homage to Batman Forever. The animation wasn’t very good though. Overall, a decent episode that adds to the mythology of the Bat-universe but doesn’t bring a lot of excitement. Rating: C

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Batman the Animated Series Review 46-50

My Batman the Animated Series reviews continue with episodes 46-50! My reviews will use an A(Great), B(Good), C(Ok), and D(Bad) rating system as well as my thoughts on the episode.

46. Almost Got ‘Im: My favorite episode of the series. This is probably the episode I’ve been most excited about rewatching. The Joker, Two-Face, the Penguin, Killer Croc, and Poison Ivy are playing cards in a shady bar while trading stories about their closest calls with killing the Dark Knight. Paul Dini gives us multiple vignettes about Batman and his most iconic foes while wrapped around an interesting concept of villains playing cards and swapping tales with a great twist ending. I don’t want to give much away, because this episode is a must see. The episode is such a cool way to tell a story, and has some such genuinely funny and exciting elements to it. Each of the character’s stories are absolutely brilliant, and feel like they mesh seamlessly into the tapestry of the show’s mythology. We have some great character interactions, between Batman and all his foes and between the rogues themselves. Poison Ivy and Two-Face acknowledge their relationship, they tease Killer Croc, and they all think Penguin is as ridiculous as we do. Other Easter eggs like the origin of Batman’s giant penny, and which cards Two-Face and the Joker have are really cool details to note. The animation in this episode was beautiful. The faces were all well animated and Batman’s action scenes were well done, especially with the cape. My only “complaints” are so overwhelmed by the positives that they’re almost not worth mentioning, but the background in the club was too vague and just seemed a little lazy, and I don’t love it when Batman uses disguises that wouldn’t realistically fool anyone. There were multiple twists towards the end that just make this episode so much jucier, but the simple part of the story that really pulled it all together with a neat bow was the final line of the episode. Overall, perfect episode with unique story telling and a strong grasp of the mythology. Rating: A++

47. Birds of a Feather: In order to spice up her stuffy parties, socialite Veronica Vreeland befriends the newly released and supposedly reformed Penguin. The Penguin becomes quite smitten with Veronica and once he realizes that she’s playing him for a fool, he kidnaps her and holds her for ransom, bringing him to a theatrical duel with the Dark Knight. As I’ve said before, I’m not a huge fan of the Penguin, I think it’s really hard to make him interesting, dangerous, and likable. I think this episode does a pretty good job of humanizing the Penguin and while they retain his over the top and stuffy personality, they make him sympathetic and dangerous. Veronica Vreeland is introduced here and becomes another staple in Gotham, which I like. Though Veronica is honestly kind of a bitch, you can tell she does grow fond of the Penguin, but he has every right to not forgive her. I thought the Pierce character was great, you just have to hate him because he’s so awful so I thought that was good. The scene where Batman is keeping an eye on the Penguin is smart and well done. But the episode gets a little ridiculous with the final theater battle, while I appreciate the sort of epic approach to using the drama department props, it seemed like a little much and kind of silly. It’s a good Penguin episode, but it’s still a Penguin episode, so in my opinion, it can only be so enjoyable. Rating: B-

48. What is Reality?: The Riddler returns to wipe Edward Nigma from record and challenge the Batman in a game of wits by trapping him in a virtual world. I really enjoy the Riddler as a character in the comics and in theory, but in the animated series, I feel like they struggle to make him work. This episode I’m very wishy-washy on. I think the episode started off cheesy and kind of worked itself out. The puzzles and riddles they use in the episode are clever but they get solved so quickly, it doesn’t leave much time for the viewer to think about them. I also have a problem with the Bat-God theme that runs though the Riddler episodes, where Batman knows everything and doesn’t have to really work to solve any of the Riddler’s puzzles. I think it makes Batman seem infallible and demotes the Riddler to a mere annoyance. I think that the episode had a lot of potential, and could be a story worth revisiting, especially with more modern animation or art styles. The virtual world was pretty cool! The concept of the virtual reality game and with Riddler deleting his Edward Nigma persona were both great story ideas that would be really cool, but I think they felt a little squished together. The entire story could’ve been fleshed out a little more (why was he targeting Gordon?) and the animation was not great until the scene where Batman and Riddler duplicate themselves which was very well done. Overall, a decent episode that falls just short of all its potential making it an ok but enjoyable watch. Warning, if you’re lactose-intolerant than avoid this episode. Rating: C+

49. I am the Night: A fantastic investigation into Batman’s motivations and the impact of his war on crime in Gotham. Batman returns to visit the site of his parents’ deaths with Leslie Thompkins, a great reminder of this tradition that really canonizes it into the Batman mythology, but ends up stopping a mugging and rescuing a street kid. Due to his hangups elsewhere Batman is late to help Gordon, Bullock, and the GCPD decide to begin their raid on the Jazzman’s operation. Gordon is shot and hospitalized. Batman throws himself into a pit of guilt that takes a kick in the pants from Dick Grayson to rescue him from. Batman saves Gordon from the escaped Jazzman and remembers why he does what he does. This is a great episode! It’s filled with drama, action, and mythology. It really takes a good hard look at Batman’s war on crime and who he is to the people of Gotham. It also has recurring characters that fill his universe like Jim and Barbara Gordon, Leslie Thompkins, Robin, and Bullock and nails exactly who he is to these people. The Jazzman was a good choice for a villain, though he’s really just a no-name crook, they give him a grudge against Gordon and that’s all he needs. The story is about Batman and I think it gives us a great look at the character. The animation is bizarre in this episode, sometimes it seemed the characters were drawn well but a little over drawn, but they seemed a little bulky and the movements have been done better. Overall, a deep Batman story that comes full circle. Excellently written! Rating: A

50. Off Balance: Batman investigates the Society of Shadows and their figurehead, Count Vertigo to stop their plot to steal a sonic demolition device from Wayne Tech. Along they way he allies himself with the mysterious vixen, Talia! Together they are able to defeat Vertigo and recover the sonic device. Talia double crosses Batman, taking the device to her father only to realize it’s been sabotaged. An interesting and enjoyable episode that brings us a lot of mythology from the DC Universe. Count Vertigo is a nice touch, but the introduction of Talia and Ra’s al Ghul is the most exciting part of the episode. I’m glad the plot was fleshed out enough at the beginning to give a mystery to the story and include the GCPD but it seemed to thin out towards the end. One thing that I’ve always hated is when they try to make Gotham a parallel to New York City with a Statue of Liberty. It’s just stupid and wrong and it takes away from the individuality and character of Gotham City itself. Huge pet peeve. The animation was inconsistent, with a chunky Batman and awkward movements from him and Talia, but the vertigo scenes were great and disorienting! The plot did seem to rely a lot on convenient plot holes, like Batman’s belt being cut and Vertigo happening to fall into a river. I don’t know, that bothered me a little bit. Overall, a pretty good episode that foreshadows the coming of Ra’s al Ghul. Rating: B

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Batman the Animated Series Review 41-45

My Batman the Animated Series reviews continue with episodes 41-45! My reviews will use an A(Great), B(Good), C(Ok), and D(Bad) rating system as well as my thoughts on the episode.

41. Joker’s Wild: If you can get past the distractingly piss poor animation, we get a pretty fun Joker story. The Joker and Poison Ivy argue over the television until Joker hears about the Casino being built in his image by Kaiser and he decides to escape to destroy the place. Batman investigates the mysterious casino and discovers Kaiser’s plan was to provoke the Joker into destroying the casino for the insurance money. The episode has some fun moments, like Joker and Ivy’s interactions in Arkham. It establishes the rivalry between the two characters that will come into play over their relationships with Harley and gives us a peek into life at Arkham. The Joker escape scene is fun, but too long and a little confusing. Why did that guard let him go? The interaction between Bruce Wayne and the Joker was a lot of fun! It was cool to see the Bruce side of Batman interacting with his nemesis and provoking him. The entire episode felt squished into the half hour, and some parts could’ve been shortened for a more fleshed out plot. Not a bad episode but that Animation was atrocious, the faces were so poorly animated, the character movements were sloppy and bulky. Excellent story by Dini, but it gets a little lost in the animation. Rating: C+

42. Tyger, Tyger: Selina Kyle is kidnapped by an ape-man and taken to a mad scientist on an island outside of Gotham. Batman investigates her disappearance, leading him to ask Langstrom (Man-Bat) for help. He ends up on the island and finds Selina has been turned into a half-cat hybrid to act as a mate to Dr. Dorian’s man-cat creation, Tygrus. Batman is hunted by Tygrus in the woods until Selina escapes and gets through to the creation about the morality of his actions. They team up and destroy the lab, allowing Batman and Selina to escape. This is an alright episode, it’s got an interesting sci-fi element of genetic manipulation going on, with the continuation of the Batman/Catwoman romance but it falls short on excitement and Selina Kyle is still a bit of a boring animal-rights activist who just loves too much. The story is a little reminiscent of the Deadliest Game and it’s cool to see Batman out of the city-element but I feel like the episode was lacking in heart and turned Selina into just a melodramatic female. Tygrus is an interesting character, conflicted about his existence which is probably the most interesting part of the episode. I think I’m missing something with the poem, that there were themes I’m just not aware of. Overall, the episode is good, not great, but not bad either. It had a lot of potential. Rating: C

43. Moon of the Wolf: A bizarre edition to the Batman anthology. Other than feeling a little out of place in the Bat-mythos, the episode is only sort of watchable. A werewolf is stalking Gotham and Batman defeats him and the mad scientist manipulating him. That’s basically the plot. The werewolf is actually Anthony Romulus, an olympic athlete who came to Professor Milo for steroids and ended up becoming a werewolf. The plot is paper thin and disjointed, the anti-drug sentiment is groan worthy, and the mystery is shaky and lacks any intrigue. Bullock and Gordon don’t really serve much purpose to the story and the animation wasn’t great either. A Batman vs Werewolf story could be really cool, but this episode was not. There’s not much to even write about it other than acknowledging that this episode exists. Rating:D-

44. Day of the Samurai: The sequel to Night of the Ninja, Day of the Samuraifeatures the return of Kyodai Ken, the Ninja. Kyodai has kidnapped Bruce’s old master, Sensei Yoru’s prized pupil, Kairi and plans on using her to learn the location of an ancient martial arts technique. Unlike Night of the Ninja, Day of the Samurai is a really good episode that uses Bruce Wayne’s back story to create an exciting and interesting narrative that has suspense and action. The secrets of Sensei Yoru and the nature of Ninja and Samurai are really interesting elements that add a cool oriental vibe to the story. It feels very much like a Japanese martial arts saga. The animation was better than in Night of the Ninja, and it had a much better flow, but it wasn’t amazing. The episode has a lot of drama and digs into Batman’s inner conflict about his own morality but proves that despite being a creature of the night, Batman is a noble hero. Also, in my mind, Kairi is totally Cassandra Cain. Rating: B

45. Terror in the Sky: Man-Bat returns, but nobody, especially Dr. Kirk Langstrom knows why. While investigating, Batman discovers that it is indeed not Langstrom, who’s having deepening marital issues, but another Man-Bat. Eventually Langstrom goes to win back his wife Francine and follows her onto a plane as Batman discovers that Francine was accidentally exposed to the formula, causing a dramatic airplane crash scene. Eventually the She-Bat is defeated and Batman is able to give her the antidote. On Leather Wings is a difficult act to follow, and this episode does not reach the standard set by it’s first act. Though the mystery was interesting, and the twists were cool, the episode feels a bit lacking. I feel like there could’ve been more done with the She-Bat idea, like a pregnancy or something, but the episode was still pretty good. I am a little confused as to why Kirk was having nightmares about Francine’s adventures as the She-Bat. That seems like a large plot hole left empty. Overall, it’s good to see the Man-Bat character return and it’s a good episode but it doesn’t quite measure up to On Leather Wings. Rating: C


Batman the Animated Series Review 36-40

My Batman the Animated Series reviews continue with episodes 26-30! My reviews will use an A(Great), B(Good), C(Ok), and D(Bad) rating system as well as my thoughts on the episode.

36. Cat Scratch Fever: Selina Kyle is sentenced to probation, pardoned for her thievery due to her assistance in the defeat of the Red Claw. But when she returns home, her precious cat Isis has gone missing. As she hunts over the city looking for her friend she stumbles across two strays and their would-be captors and Selina intervenes. Catwoman and Batman team up to take down Roland Dagget’s operation of biological terrorism spread by drugging animals and making them vicious and contagious. Unfortunately this Catwoman episode isn’t phenomenal. Dagget’s plan was a little too ridiculous in my opinion, and the Selina Kyle aspects of the episode were slow and boring. The animation wasn’t very good until the rapid dog chase scene. Catwoman lacks the sly charm her character is known for, and is written as kind of a pathetically obsessed woman who loves only her cat and Batman. I enjoy her when she’s in the costume being Catwoman, but otherwise I’m disappointed in her character. The villains weren’t interesting, the dialogue is weak, and the story is ridiculous. The shining moments are when Batman is trapped under the ice and his interactions with Catwoman. The episode was sorely lacking. Rating: D

37. The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne:Batman investigates a mysterious resort after the hospitalization of Judge Vargas. Professor Hugo Strange uses a device to visualize thoughts on patients he is psychoanalyzing to learn their secrets and extort them. When he learns Bruce Wayne is secretly Batman he contacts the Joker, Two-Face, and the Penguin, planning to auction off the tape that contains the proof of Batman’s identity. Bruce is able to take down his rogues and keep his cover safe with a little help from Alfred and Robin. The episode’s plot is a really interesting story concept, unfortunately it ends up being borderline silly. The episode is pretty fun, the Joker is genuinely funny, and it’s cool to see so many Bat-characters in one episode while introducing Hugo Strange. Strange is a lot less threatening of a foe in this episode, as he isn’t much more than an extortionist. The animation isn’t great. The end scene is both cool and frustrating. When Bruce Wayne and Batman are together with Gordon and Strange, maintaining his secret, that’s really cool. But why they had Dick wearing a Bruce Wayne mask is beyond me. It would’ve made sense if he was wearing the Batman costume, obviously, but I can’t get behind the idea that a flesh mask of Bruce Wayne would be convincing. I guess they were going for some sort of twist, but it didn’t sit well with me. Rating: C+

38. Heart of Steel part 1: A mysterious robotic suitcase robs Bruce Wayne of wetworks files, launching an investigation into the stolen A.I. technology. Bruce meets with an old friend, Rossum, to see if anyone had tried to sell him the technology. Meanwhile, Jim Gordon is replaced by a robot duplicate and Bruce attempts to learn a little more about Rossum’s A.I. projects through his beautiful assistant, Randa. The episode ends on a cliffhanger with Batman being attacked by the Batcomputer. Definitely a very cool episode! Not your typical Bat-story, as this involves a lot of sci-fi aspects like artificial intelligence and an Invasion of the Body Snatchers-esque replacement scheme. Normally it would feel out of place in Gotham, but they do a good job of making this plot fit into the Batverse. And I can’t not mention how excited I am by the introduction of Barbara Gordon! We finally get to meet Commissioner’s daughter, a welcome addition to the show. Barbara shows us another side of Jim. I’m glad they introduced her as Barbara before her debut as Batgirl, it helps make her feel like a more established character that goes through a transformation, like Harvey Dent. Overall a fun episode with some really exciting elements. Rating: B+

39. Heart of Steel part 2: We continue the story with Batman and Barbara Gordon discovering and infiltrating the robotic replacement scheme being orchestrated by the out of control A.I. computer, H.A.R.D.A.C. This episode was a nice transition from the first, with a really well developed mystery. The fight scenes with the robotic doppelgangers were fun, and I laughed out loud when the Randa-bot was crushed by the elevator. Again, the best part of the episode is Barbara Gordon, who’s wit and willpower bring her right into the investigation, where she proves herself to be a capable detective, crafty, and heroic. A great introduction to her character! The plot of this arc was a lot of fun, and a really cool, offbeat Batman story. Something about the animation in this episode really bothered me, sometimes the characters seemed to be moving too slowly and the facial expressions were a little on the wonky side. Rating: A

40. If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Rich?: Edward Nigma is cheated out of millions of dollars for his video game idea by the slimy Dan Mockridge. Two years later, Nigma returns as the Riddler to exact his revenge on Mockridge only to be foiled by Batman and Robin, who deduce his identity. In order to protect his secret, Nigma attempts to kill the Dynamic Duo by trapping them in a labyrinth. What could’ve been a very cool episode to one of my favorite Batman rogues is kind of a dud. The dialogue is cheesy and the whole episode is a little too over the top. I like the Riddler, and I thought the riddles they used in the episode were pretty solid, and while the maze was good in theory, the killer animatronic robots and the flying hand was too absurd. I also don’t like that the Riddler’s just another guy out for revenge against another corporate stooge. Batman wastes too much time rescuing sleezeballs. Robin is also written as a little childish at times. I did really like the ending though, with Mockridge perpetually haunted by paranoia. Overall, a disappointing introduction to the Riddler. Rating: D

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