Batman: The Animated Series: Revisited continues today with yet more episodes of the show as I continue my way through the Blu-ray boxset. If you’ve missed the previous entries in this ongoing blog series then now would be a good time to catch-up on parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8.
While you’re doing that I’m diving straight in today with episode 51 – and it’s a corker!
The Man Who Killed Batman
1min – Written by Paul Dini and directed by Bruce Timm. #DreamTeam
2mins 20secs – Rupert Thorne makes yet another appearance in the series. John Vernon continues to be fantastic as always.
6mins – This episode looks great in HD.
8mins – The premise of this episode is that a wannabe gangster leads everyone (himself included) to think he has killed Batman. Of course, he hasn’t.
9mins – Bullock has to deliver the news of Batman’s death to Officer Montoya. He looks genuinely upset. Is this the first indication that Bullock respects Batman in some way?
10mins – Harley Quinn has just turned up, pretending to be a lawyer. For some reason, even though she’s just used her real name, Bullock doesn’t know who she is. Bullock is clearly not paying attention.
10mins 35secs – “I think I served you a subpoena once. It was a small subpoena.”
14mins 10secs – The Joker is unhappy that Batman is dead. Without Batman to foil his crime capers there’s no fun in committing crimes. This whole scene tells you everything you need to know about the Joker/Batman relationship.
15mins 10secs – A great scene here – Joker’s eulogy for Batman. Insightful and hilarious in equal measures.
19mins 55secs – The big reveal – Batman’s not dead!
A fun episode, with some standout dialogue from the Joker. The picture quality is great on the Blu-ray, but a little dust crops into the screen from time-to-time.
1mins – Mudslide marks the second appearance of Clayface, following the character’s debut in Feat of Clay – Part 1 & Part 2.
4mins 50secs – Since the last time we saw Clayface he’s become physically unstable. His body is deteriorating and unless he rectifies this soon he’s going to turn to mush.
5mins 30secs – Batman offers to help Matt Hagen become human again, but Hagen refuses.
8mins 50secs – Alfred gets some great lines in this episode.
9mins 30secs – Stella Bates makes her first and only appearance in this episode.
11mins – Such was the popularity of Clayface in Batman: The Animated Series, his distinctive design subsequently became the default look for the villain in the comics.
14mins 10secs – Mudslide includes some gruesome (and also cool) imagery. Visually it’s one of my favourite episodes of the series and a great sequel/follow-up to Feat of Clay.
17mins 20secs – The line, “Doctor Bates once owned a hotel…” is a nice little in-joke about the Bates Motel – as owned by Psycho (1960) killer, Norman Bates.
18mins 45secs – Clayface is trying to suffocate Batman and it is a really, really dark moment. Possibly one of the show’s darkest.
21mins – As with Feat of Clay, at the conclusion of this episode it appears that Clayface has perished. Of course, as with Feat of Clay, he hasn’t and he will return.
A really great episode with some dark and sombre moments. Clayface is one of my favourite villains in Batman: The Animated Series and it is thanks to episodes like this.
Time for a disc change now (disc 5 for those keeping track).
Paging the Crime Doctor
4mins – After the shapeshifting antics of Clayface, it’s back to mobsters with Paging the Crime Doctor. Once again, Batman: The Animated Series demonstrates how it can turn on a dime when it comes to tone – from fantastical to street level gang crime.
5mins 20secs – Matthew Thorne – brother of Rupert – makes his first and only appearance in the series in this episode.
5mins 30secs – During the course of this episode it is revealed that Matthew Thorne was a friend of Leslie Thompkins and Thomas Wayne.
6mins 55secs – Leslie Thompkins makes her penultimate appearance in this story.
12mins – Bruce Wayne has been wearing the same brown suit for more than a year now. He’s a billionaire for cripes sake! He really should splash the cash on a new wardrobe.
21mins – The ending to this episode is beautiful.
Before I continue, I have sad news.
Stan Lee has passed away. It’s news that myself and fans all over the world have been dreading. Stan was such a huge part of why I love comic books and super heroes, so it’s such sad news that I have to post this news.
Sorry to break into the middle of this Bat-post with this news, but if you’re reading this piece then chances are you would want to know. I have just published a separate post about Stan’s passing. I will publish a follow-up post shortly.
Continuing on with a couple more episodes of Batman before I wrap things up for tonight.
1min – This episode marks the only appearance of Zatanna in Batman: The Animated Series, however the character does reappear in Justice League Unlimited.
2mins – Alfred continues with the zingers!
2mins 20secs – We’re getting a bit more info about Bruce Wayne’s pre-Batman days. Working under the disguise of ‘John Smith’, Bruce is learning how to be an escape artist while studying under the magician, Zatara.
4mins – The flashback sequence in this episode is set before the flashback sequence in Night of the Ninja. So, what do we learn? Well, Bruce studied escapology before heading to Japan to study martial arts.
18mins 30secs – Batman and Zatanna hanging onto a cargo net, which in turn is hanging out of the back of a plane, mid-flight! This scene is basically Batman via Bond – and it’s great!
A fun crime caper that offers a neat little window into Bruce’s past. Speaking of which…
The Mechanic features yet more flashbacks to Batman’s past, including a look at an early version of the Batmobile (see above). Whoop!
2mins – So, The Mechanic is a Penguin episode. The 2nd best Penguin episode. As previously noted, I believe that Birds of a Feather is the best Penguin episode, but this one comes a close second.
3mins – Robin is in this episode.
4mins – The Mechanic marks the first and only appearance of Earl Cooper – the mechanic who built the modern Batmobile and who keeps it maintained.
7mins – The Penguin’s Duckie-mobile makes its second and final appearance in this episode.
9mins – After breaking into Earl’s workshop, the Penguin plans to sabotage the Batmobile.
9mins 30secs – The Penguin has a history of tinkering with the Batmobile (see: Batman Returns).
10mins – Flashback!
12mins – In this flashback, we get to see a very old, very rundown Batmobile.
13mins – What I really like about Batman: The Animated Series is the way the show teases out Batman’s backstory without the need for a full episode dedicated to his origin or his journey from orphan to Dark Knight. Episodes such as The Mechanic, Zatanna, Robin’s Reckoning, Appointment in Crime Alley and Night of the Ninja help to fill in the gaps to Batman’s past without making his backstory the focus.
21mins – All is well with the world and Earl is being relocated to a new, safer location. This new location is so safe that we never see him again!
And that’s where I’ll leave things for this evening. Once again, very sad news about Stan Lee.
As for Batman: The Animated Series, I’ll pick things back up tomorrow.