Mania Grade: B

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  • Episode: HUNTED (Season 1, Episode 1)
  • Starring: Anthony Ruivivar, J.B. Blanc, Sumalee Montano, Kurtwood Smith, Jeff Bennett, Brian George, Udo Kier
  • Written By: Mitch Watson
  • Directed By: Sam Liu
  • Network: Cartoon Network
  • Studio: Warner Brothers
  • Series:


Un-stymying Stygian Pygsty

By Johnny Destructo     July 15, 2013

I have no problems with changes in continuity, so let's just get that over with right off the bat. Oh god. That pun was definitely not intended. Unless you want it to be intended. I desire your love and acceptance. But if you are looking for a show that is a stickler for what has come before, then this show might not be for you. It's definitely for me though! Hot dog, this was fun and cool. 

I had my reservations at first, having only gotten through the first episode or two of Green Lantern: The Animated Series before giving up due to the overly adorable nature of the animation, and I wasn't the biggest fan of the computer generated Spider-Man: The New Animated Series cartoon from Mtv 10 years back. There's just something about the clean crisp computer-generated animated shows that repel me.

Also, recently Young Justice was cancelled and replaced by the atrocious Teen Titans Go! so my broken heart was weary of further shatterings.

Fear not, dear heart, since this show seems to be pretty sensational so far. It seems to be seamlessly weaving several continuities into one new one. We have Batman Year One, with an Alfred more akin to Batman Earth One, mixed with some of the visual aesthetic of the original Batman: The Animated Series, with the youth aspect of The Batman (The animated series from 2004). A melting pot, if you will of the Batmen that have come before, sans the silly 1960's version and the Brave And The Bold version, thankfully.

The design of the Batman himself is pretty basic, though the "ears" on his cowl look like Martian antennae when he faces the camera. Can't tell if that adds to the creepy factor or not. I'm leaning towards silly. I think I prefer the more subtle Frank Miller bat ears on the costume. These things are too tall and can be grabbed by a baddie too easily to fling Bats around. Doesn't seem practical. I also just keep picturing him bonking his head as he walks through doors without ducking a la that Storm Trooper extra from Star Wars.

One of the best things about action-oriented animated series for me, has to be the fight choreography. Much like how TV and Movie writers like to write comics due to the lack of visual effects budget, animated fight scenes don't have to work on a strict "physics budget". The animators and story-board artists can think of moves that don't have to exist in the real world. There were times that they used that to great effect in the Young Justice show, and I wish there was more of that here. Most of the cool action-y stuff in this show involve Batman's patented Bat-Grappling-Bat-Hook in cool and inventive ways. There's a pretty rad sequence where Batman is running up stairs from an explosion and uses his Bat-line to close a door as he's leaping through it. There's also a cool bit where he stops Mr. Toad mid-jump using said Bat-Line.

On the other hand, I also appreciate real world details thrown in. During the initial alleyway fight, Bats get's hit with a metal door and flies several feet, landing hard. That would mess a dude up, and without missing a beat, Batman gets up and slams his shoulder into the hood of a truck to realign his dislocated arm, so he can continue fighting. Granted, that's unrealistically bad-ass, but realistic in that he's injured like a real man, and that injury continues to vex him throughout the episode. I appreciate that little bit of continuity.

That brings us to this week's villain: Professor Pyg. If you don't know who that is, it's because he's a fairly new creation, having been invented during the Batman Reborn storyline by Grant Morrison over in the title Batman And Robin, wherein Bruce Wayne had "died" and the mantle of the Bat was handed down to Dick Greyson, and he teamed up with Bruce Wayne's son, Damian Wayne as Robin. He was a pretty damn creepy addition to the Batman mythos and is a surprising first villain to include here, but a welcome one. I also love that they gave Pyg a British accent that I think was created just for this incarnation, but man does it work, adding a little more to the creepitude factor. He's also been given a different sidekick that I've never seen before: Mr. Toad. They have a great chemistry, these two characters and can't wait to see them again. One thing I noticed though..the writers gave Pyg and Toad the Eco-Terrorist angle that had previously been awarded to Poison Ivy. I wonder if that means that Ivy won't be on the show anytime soon, or if they'll be subtracting that aspect from her character.

Some other differences include the fact that Wayne Manor sits across the bay from Gotham City a la Alcatraz, which I haven't seen in previous incarnations, but is pretty cool. Also: Alfred Pennyworth is an Ex-MI6 Jason Statham? While he's a pretty cool remaining, his visual aesthetic is a little too British ruffian…I definitely prefer the version of him from Batman Earth One, with the white crew-cut and the white goatee. 

An interesting addition to the cast that I definitely did not see coming was a mysterious asian woman on a motorcycle that later turns out to be Tatsu Yamashiro - Bruce Wayne's new driver and bodyguard, who some of you may know as Katana, now starring in her own comic series as well as being a member in the Justice League of America series.

Overall, this new series is off to a great start and if you haven't had a chance to check it out, DO SO NOW. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. I know I was!

The cool:
"Boss it's the Bat-guy!"
"It's BatMAN, Toad. Remember…respect our enemies."

The not-so-cool:
Nothing, so far!

The final say:


Showing items 1 - 10 of 21
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Chopsaki 7/15/2013 12:52:35 AM

 I liked it but not a fan of the villians (kinda cheesy) though I guess if you start off with the Joker theres no where to go but down. Alfred reminded me of that english guy from Uncharted 3 gonna take a bit to get used to but an interesting update. I hated Brave and the Bold but this seems less cheesy and darker which I'm digging.

Chopsaki 7/15/2013 12:57:29 AM

 P.S. While there is only one Kevin Conroy I must admit Anthony Ruivivar did a solid job.

Dazzler 7/15/2013 4:07:37 AM

I like this enough to keep watching, not sure I like the Alfred update to thug type mi6 retiree yet.  I just hope they keep the orgin stuff to a min. 

blankczech 7/15/2013 6:54:27 AM

 Is there something strange about an 11 paragraph review of a 1/2 hour Saturday morning cartoon show, or is it me?

Wiseguy 7/15/2013 7:35:17 AM

It's you.

Btw I missed this. Didn't realize the series started already. When does it air? Guess I'll see if it's on ondemand

RobertTrate 7/15/2013 10:20:53 AM

 blakczech, talk about a Kill Joy. Johnny went all out... looking at the show from every angle. Wiseguy, Saturday Mornings. 

shac2846 7/15/2013 10:42:26 AM

 You beat me to it trate but the reviewer is trying to disect the shows design, voice acting, animation, story, etc. Now that's out of the way I imagine the next reviews of Beware the Batman will be shorter as they are with most animated reviews of shows on this site.

blankczech 7/15/2013 11:53:20 AM

 Sorry for being a killjoy...guess I'm too old school.  Between the ages of 10 and 15 went to the movies every weekend with friends...never read a review.  Back in the day you watched some dumb cartoon like the Herculoids, or He-Man on the boob-tube...sans reviews.  Nowadays we review's like we need someone else to tell us what's good and what isn't...some of the reviews are almost as long as the shows doesn't cost anything to watch this's just a measly half hour commitment of one's time...does it have to be brilliant...if you don't like it, you change the channel.

johnnydestructo1 7/15/2013 12:39:46 PM

 Well BlankCzech, While I appreciate you clicking on the link to my review just so that you can complain about the length of it, i was also trying to present some information and some insight to people who may not be aware of some of the changes that the show made and the lesser-known characters that it involves. 

I also think that the people involved in creating the show probably put in a good amount of time and deserve some respect for creating just a "Saturday morning cartoon show ", Hence my lengthy review :)



CalamityJohnson 7/15/2013 1:03:36 PM

I guess animated shows are some people's forte and another's cast-off. For instance, I don't check out reviews for the "book" section (unless it's the new Stephen King book), but I read almost every post in the TV, movies, and comics sections. As an avid hero cartoon fan I religiously read these posts and I appreciate them.

Can we as nerds find some venue for our Young Justice griefdom? It seems this travesty is felt across the webosphere and that we should have a person... a name... whom we can burn in effigy to ease our woes.

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