Reinventing an Icon: Batman Beyond
Original Airing: 1999-2001
After the success of Batman: The Animated Series, Warner Bros felt confident that a Batman cartoon could do well, and gave the new series more room to innovate. The result is Batman Beyond, the first Batman series to not feature Bruce Wayne as Batman! Beyond stars Terry McGinnis, a delinquent high school student who one day finds himself outside of Wayne Manor. Here he meets the now retired Bruce Wayne, and has his life forever changed.
It has been 20 years since Bruce Wayne retired as Batman, and Derek Powers has bought out his company almost entirely. The Gotham City of 2039 is a much more advanced, and seemingly safer place, with all of Batman’s old enemies having been defeated. Terry McGinnis accidentally stumbles into the dark underworld of the Jokerz gang, and in the process is caught up in a series of events that lead to him becoming the hero that Gotham needs once more, Batman.
The series follows the life of Terry as Batman, as he learns the tricks of the trade from Bruce, and encounters many enemies, both new and old. Many classic Batman enemies are brought back in new ways, with some of them being completely out of left field. This adds a layer to each episode’s story, as I tried to figure out which old villain might return next. One infamous villain never made an appearance, but his presence is felt throughout the series, making one of the oldest (and most overdone) Batman villains into a new and exciting character.
Terry McGinnis: Terry starts the series as a tough delinquent teen, and doesn’t seem like a good fit for Batman’s successor at first. However, he grows into the role over the course of the series.
Bruce Wayne: Now an old man, Bruce is no longer the hero he used to be. As the series grows on, the effects of his time as Batman slowly come to light.
Derek Powers: The head of Wayne/Powers industries. He serves as a major villain for the show, as he attempts to keep Batman away from his black market dealings.
Many more characters are introduced as the show goes on.
Not amazing, and has some rather bad moments. However, the aesthetics and clever use of lighting allow the series to keep a constant Noir feel.
It works. The opening theme is one of the ear-wormiest things I have heard in a long time. It uses various different art styles, many of which are not present in the show. https://www.youtube.com/watch?
Batman Beyond is a great new direction for one of the oldest comic book superheroes. Unfortunately, DC Comics seems to have forgotten it exists. I give it two thumbs up.