Another day, another helping of Batman: The Animated Series: Revisited.
Are you keeping up with all these posts? No? Well, if you’ve fallen behind, here’s a very quick recap:
Batman: The Animated Series has finally arrived on Blu-ray! To celebrate this milestone release, I’m publishing a collection of posts which focus on the show – highlighting its upgrade to high definition (HD), amongst other things.
Right, back to the episodes on the Blu-ray boxset, starting with episode 90…
You Scratch My Back
1min – In yesterday’s discussion of The New Batman Adventures I forgot to mention that the title cards are no longer included with episodes. Each episode now begins with the episode title as onscreen text only. I completely understand why the title cards were dropped – they were time consuming to produce – but I do think it’s a shame they’re no longer part of each episode. Those title cards helped each episode feel like a mini movie. Ah, well.
1min 30secs – The first appearance of Nightwing! Dick Grayson popped up at the end of Sins of the Father, but this is the first time we get to see him in costume.
2mins – The Nightwing costume includes glider-like wings. It’s so cool.
4mins – Catwoman has made her debut in The New Batman Adventures. This is a very streamlined look for the character – she’s dressed entirely in black. The only part of her skin that is exposed is her mouth/chin, which showcases an almost deathly complexion.
6mins 40secs – This episode looks luscious in HD.
12mins – Suggested tension between Batman and Nightwing.
14mins – Throughout this whole episode, it appears as if Nightwing has turned his back on Batman and is happy to team up with Catwoman. But this is actually not the case.
16mins – Catwoman shows her true colours…
16mins 30secs – …and so does Nightwing!
16mins 40secs – Catwoman was playing Nightwing, but in turn, Nightwing was playing Catwoman the whole time. Purr-fect!
A fun little tale that reconfirms something we’ve always known – Catwoman cannot be trusted.
4mins 10secs – This episode marks the first appearance of the Scarecrow in The New Batman Adventures. Since he last appeared in the series, the character has undergone a significant makeover. Of all the redesigns in the series, the Scarecrow’s is the most striking – he actually looks quite terrifying!
4mins 20secs – The Scarecrow is now voiced by Jeffrey Combs and he sounds very, very sinister.
7mins – Batman has adopted a disguise – possibly the least convincing disguise ever. He still looks like Bruce Wayne, only with a moustache!
8mins – Scarecrow has a new fear toxin – one which makes people completely fearless.
11mins – The Batwing makes its debut in The New Batman Adventures. Personally, I preferred the old-look Batwing. This one is fine, but the original Batwing was better in my opinion.
15mins 30secs – Tim Drake/Robin gets an opportunity to shine a little in this episode.
18mins – “You’re not trying to scare me, are you?”
What I like about all these costume/character upgrades is the idea that over the years, some of the humanity seems to have been stripped from the characters. All that time spent dressed in costume seems to have had an effect, resulting in a Gotham City filled with heroes and villains who are resigned to the idea that this is who they are now.
Both Catwoman and Scarecrow look like they’re no longer human. Maybe they’re not?
While I ponder that one, it’s time for some comedy.
1mins – This episode is pure comedy through and through. Mark Hamill is hilarious.
1min 20secs – Joker’s Millions is a Paul Dini episode, by the way.
2mins – The Joker and Harley are having financial difficulties.
3mins 20secs – “We’re broke remember? What was I supposed to do, fill the tank, shoot the guy and drive off?”
5mins – The Joker has been gifted $250,000,000. Oh, if only he knew the truth about the money…
5mins 30secs – Jack Ryder has taken over as the default news reporter for The New Batman Adventures. Summer Gleason is nowhere to be seen.
6mins 40secs – The Penguin makes his new-look debut in this episode. The character has had quite a transformation, both physically and financially. The Penguin is now the owner of a nightclub and appearance wise, his style is more in-keeping with his upmarket venue.
12mins – The Joker is auditioning for a new Harley Quinn, leading to the one-time-only appearance of Fake Harley.
13mins – The Joker has just been hit with a huge inheritance tax fee. His response? “I’m crazy enough to take on Batman, but the IRS? Noooo thank you.”
14mins 55secs – A reference has just been made to the episode, The Laughing Fish.
19mins 40secs – Fake Harley: “Honest, they told me it was an equity gig.”
Joker’s Millions is a joy to watch and looks fab in HD. Oh and before I forget to mention it, Friends actress, Maggie ‘Janice’ Wheeler provides the voice of Fake Harley.
2mins – Visually, this episode is already off to a great start. It looks so good in HD. The background colours really pop.
6mins – Robin is a big focus of this episode and it’s great that he gets a little bit of character development. He’s a late addition to Batman: The Animated Series so he could have easily been kept to the background, but he is given a fair bit to do – this episode being a perfect example.
10mins – There’s a mystery villain in this episode, but the clues make it pretty obvious that it’s… *Drum roll* – Clayface!
11mins – This episode marks the final appearance of Clayface in Batman: The Animated Series, but not his final appearance in the DC Animated Universe. Clayface pops up in two episodes of Justice League.
14mins – One of the key characters in this story is ‘Annie’ – a girl who is really part of Clayface (I’ll explain at the end).
16mins – Flashback! There’s a brief explanation as to how Clayface survived the events of Mudslide.
18mins – Brutal scene as ‘Annie’ gets absorbed into Clayface, effectively killing her.
19mins – Robin is pissed off and ready to kill Clayface.
20mins 15secs – “Sometimes there are no happy endings.”
The whole point of this episode is that Robin befriends a young girl called ‘Annie’, who has no memory of who she is or where she came from. The big reveal is that she is a part of Clayface.
As already seen in the episode, Holiday Knights, Clayface can now separate his body into individual parts, effectively creating mini humans. ‘Annie’ was part of Clayface, but she became separated for too long and forgot who she was.
An interesting idea and one that could have easily developed into a much longer story. The real punch to the gut here is when she ‘dies’ after being absorbed by Clayface.
A sad end to a great episode.
That’s all for today. More tomorrow.