Over the past (almost) three weeks, I’ve been re-watching episodes of Batman: The Animated Series and talking about them – a lot! Today, I’ve reached the final four stories.
*Wipes tear from eye*
But wait – this isn’t the end of the road for Batman: The Animated Series: Revisited, I still have two movies to talk about – Mask of the Phantasm (1993) and Subzero (1998) – before I’m done. So, if you’ve become accustomed to reading these posts you’ll be pleased to know there’s more to come over the course of the weekend.
First thing’s first – for today, let’s finish the episodes.
1mins 50secs – Hurrah, after various hints about Harley Quinn’s origin, Mad Love FINALLY explains how Dr. Harleen Quinzel went from psychologist to psychopath.
2mins – Nowadays, thanks to Suicide Squad (2016), the character’s origin is common knowledge, but back when this episode originally aired unless you were a comic book reader, you didn’t know the full story.
2mins 30secs – I’ll explain what I mean about being a comic book reader: Mad Love is actually based on a comic book tale of the same name by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm. The story was originally published as a one-shot for Batman Adventures back in 1994, where it won an Eisner Award for Best Single Story. When Warner Bros. green lit a third season of Batman: The Animated Series (aka The New Adventures of Batman), Dini and Timm adapted their comic book story for the series so they could finally show viewers Harley’s origin.
2mins 55secs – “May the floss be with you!”
5mins – The Death of a Hundred Smiles!
6mins – And now time for a flashback to when Harley first met the Joker.
8mins 30secs – The Joker is telling Harley some lies.
9mins 40secs – Although this episode sets out Harley’s origin, it does include a couple of allusions to the Joker’s origin too. Or a possible origin. It’s never really clear what is fact and what is fiction where the Joker is concerned.
12mins – I have to give a shout-out – Arleen Sorkin gives an amazing performance in this episode – switching from Quinzel to Quinn in a heartbeat. A number of actresses have portrayed Harley over the years, but for me, Sorkin remains the best.
14mins 50secs – Batman is laughing. It’s kind of creepy.
15mins 20secs – “He told me things, secret things he never told anyone.”
17mins – The animation is fantastic in this episode.
18mins – “My fault. I didn’t get the joke.”
20mins – A cameo from Summer Gleason! I completely forgot Summer Gleason appears in this episode! This must be her one-and-only appearance in The New Batman Adventures.
20mins 45secs – “I finally see that slime for what he is. A murderous, manipulative, irredeemable…. angel.”
21mins – Oh, Harley, will you ever learn?
Mad Love is a captivating tale about an abusive relationship. It’s tragic, yet at times comical, masterfully switching from one extreme to the next and is truly one of the all-time great tales from Batman: The Animated Series.
Now, before I move onto the next episode, Chemistry, let me just tell you that as today is Black Friday 2018, Comixology is currently running a HUGE sale on DC books. Every sale title is currently priced at £2.99 and that includes a BIG collection of Batman books.
I’ve picked up a few books today, including Batman: White Knight. I’m roughly half-way through reading it and it’s brilliant and highly recommended.
Oh, and Batman: White Knight includes a number of in-jokes and references to Batman: The Animated Series. Which is kind of why I’m mentioning it here.
Anyway, the sale won’t last forever, so if you want to take advantage, you know what to do.
And now back to the task at hand…
2mins 30secs – Chemistry marks the final appearance Veronica Vreeland in Batman: The Animated Series.
3mins – This episode also marks the final appearance of Barbara Gordon in Batman: The Animated Series – although, not in the DC Animated Universe. Barbara becomes a mainstay of Batman Beyond, taking over the role of Commissioner Gordon.
5mins – So, this episode is a Poison Ivy tale. And yes, this is also the final appearance of Poison Ivy in Batman: The Animated Series.
7mins – I don’t want to sound like a broken record here, but this is also the final appearance of Lucius Fox in Batman: The Animated Series. *Cough* And Dick Grayson.
10mins – Bruce Wayne gets a lot of screen time in this episode – arguably more screen time than he usually gets.
12mins – It goes without saying at this point, but the animation looks gorgeous, as does Poison Ivy. Oh and once again – as with the episode, House & Garden – Ivy is making plant people. Will she ever learn?
As has become the norm with episodes from The New Batman Adventures, Chemistry is a visual treat. The colours zing, the characters look good and the animation is a joy to watch.
Beware the Creeper
1min – This episode marks the only appearance of The Creeper in The New Batman Adventures. His next appearance in the DC Animated Universe is in Justice League Unlimited.
1min 40secs – A brief discussion of Joker’s origin. Here it’s mentioned that his real name is unknown, suggesting that the name Jack Napier, as mentioned in Dreams in Darkness, is just another alias.
6mins – Beware the Creeper marks the final appearance of the Joker in Batman: The Animated Series. Of course, this isn’t the final appearance of the Joker in the DC Animated Universe – he pops up again in Justice League, Justice League Unlimited and Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.
7mins 40secs – “OK, I love you b-bye.” A little nod to the Animaniacs.
7mins 45secs – And now a visual nod to The Creeper creator, Steve Ditko.
14mins – I’ve just realised, this episode also marks the final appearance of Harley Quinn in Batman: The Animated Series.
Can’t say I’m a huge fan of Beware the Creeper. As the show is effectively winding down, it seems like an odd time to introduce a new character.
Hey, ho. Just one episode to go now and the series ends with… well, not a bang, but at least a good story involving Two-Face.
And so it comes to this – the final episode of Batman: The Animated Series. This isn’t quite the end for this era of Batman – the series did receive a movie in the shape of Mystery of the Batwoman (2003) – but for the most part this is it.
Incidentally, Mystery of the Batwoman is not included on the Batman: The Animated Series Blu-ray boxset. The movie IS available on Blu-ray, but for some reason it was not included in the set.
Anyway, Mystery of the Batwoman or no Mystery of the Batwoman, it’s time for the final episode of The New Batman Adventures.
2mins – Batman: The Animated Series ends its run with the Penguin, Two-Face and Killer Croc. The best way to wrap up the series? I think not.
3mins – This episode revolves around a new villain called the Judge.
7mins – The visuals in this episode are pretty good.
8mins 10secs – The Riddler makes his second and final appearance in The New Adventures of Batman. Since being revived/redesigned for this final season, the Riddler has been given the shitty end of the stick, barely making a dent, just appearing in cameo roles.
19mins 30secs – The big reveal in this episode is that the mystery villain is really… *Drumroll* …Two-Face! Harvey has adopted a third personality. This is an intriguing twist to Harvey’s ongoing story and one that could have been developed further. Oh well.
OK, so I’ve come to the end of the episodes, but as stated above, I’m not quite finished yet. When I started these posts it was with a view to taking an in-depth look at the Batman: The Animated Series Blu-ray boxset – which I’ve done. However, I’ve yet to talk about the movies, so that will be the focus of tomorrow’s post.
Tomorrow I will also be providing a round-up of the boxset as a whole, giving my overall thoughts on the material and detailing whether or not I think it is true value for money.
See you tomorrow!