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Friday, December 5, 2014

'Beware the Batman: Dark Justice' S1 P2 BD: Awesome Contribution to Year of the Bat Celebration

Beware the Batman: Dark Justice, Season 1 Part 2 (BD)
The Warner Archive DVD and BD releases of the second half of the 2013-14 first season of the animated Cartoon Network series "Beware the Batman" are an uber-awesome part of the Warner "Year of the Bat" celebration of the 75th anniversary of the caped crusader/dark knight.

Unreal TV participation in this homage to America's favorite highly damaged dark and brooding superhero has been limited to a post on the BD release of the first half of the first season of "Beware," a review of the BD release of the first season of the much lighter and campier "Batman: The Brave and the Bold," and a recent entry on the BD release of the second season of "Brave."

Warner Home Entertainment crowns off this tribute with the epic BD and DVD complete series releases of the '66 "Batman" series. The video quality and quantity/quality of special features (including a "Batgirl" pilot) seems mind boggling. Although Unreal TV does not have this set yet, it is at the top of the Christmas list.

Home Entertainment also offers a more "modest" S1 DVD set as an alternative to the one described above.

Returning to "Beware" S2 P2, these 13 episodes pick up where the cliffhanger at the end of S1 P1 leaves off; the first few episodes center around Batman trying to stop longtime enemy Ra's al Ghul from obtaining the world dominance that al Ghul seeks through misusing Wayne Industries tech. This crimefighting effort both requires teaming up with another old enemy and also brings plucky teen Barbara Gordon fully into the mix under her Oracle (rather than Batgirl) persona.

A later truly suspenseful (and cute) episode has Barbara facing the challenge of helping Batman with a concrete (this will be hilarious when you watch the episode) problem while contending both with preventing her teen boy date from learning her secret identity and with not having the detectives that overprotective daddy Lieutenant Gordon (voiced by Kurtwood Smith of "That '70s Show") has following his little girl on her big night out ruin that outing.

Other fun episodes have our titular hero teaming up with mutants; the one that is the most fun involves an actual bat/man hybrid. The other features meta-human Metamorpho, who sounds like Batman god Adam West but is voiced by Adam Baldwin.

The overall theme of many S1 P2 episodes is the J. Jonah Jameson/Spider-man style relationship that develops between Batman and vigilante-hating district attorney Harvey Dent; these episodes further build toward the transformation of Dent into the villainous Two Face. Before that evolution occurs, Dent teams up with bat foes Deathstroke, who has a wonderfully involved backstory, and Anarky.

The uber-awesome season finale spectacularly serves as both a great season ender and a series finale in the event that "Beware" does not get either a second season or a direct-to-video movie.  This one includes a climatic Batcave showdown involving several key players.

Said battle royale is primarily particularly notable for making excellent use of the video-game style CGI format of "Beware." It further evokes terrific thoughts of the similar confrontation between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader of "Star Wars" fame in which Luke learns a truth that is both awful and inconvenient.

The terrific blend of elements that the musings in this post addresses show both that Batman is still going strong after a classic camp television series, numerous animated shows, two enormously profitable film franchises, and several acclaimed direct-to-video animated films. Although citing all this to support making an analogy to a fuzzy pink bunny runs the risk of receiving a skull-crushing kick to the noggin, it seems that Batman is following in the footsteps of fellow legendary detective in that he is likely to remain in the public consciousness for well over a century.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Beware" or anything else Batman is strongly encouraged to email you; connecting on Twitter via @tvdvdguy is another option.