Thursday, March 1, 2012

Batman: The Animated Series, Top 5 From Season Two

     The second season of Batman: The Animated Series was almost as good as the first. Maybe the overall episodes weren’t as good, but individually it had some spectacular moments. Whether it was seeing Robin’s origins, how Bruce Wayne received his martial arts training, introducing Dr. Hugo Strange to the series and learning how he discovers Batman’s secret identity or the introduction of the Riddler, this season had it’s highlights. So here are the highlight episodes, the top 5 of season two.

5. Laughing Fish
     Having no episodes in the top 5 of season one there was no way I was going to leave this character out of season two’s best moments. This particular episode gives us “classic Joker”. An evil scheme involving fish with his twisted smile, poisoning his victims with his infamous Joker toxins and, of course, trying to kill Batman. Like I said, Joker was at his best in this episode, beginning with one of his classic plans and ending with his apparent death. If you ask any fan of the show they’ll tell you that the biggest reason why Joker was as favorable a character as Batman himself was because of the tremendous voice work by Mark Hamill. In a way, it is part of the reason why the character has become such a fan favorite. Who ever thought Luke Skywalker would end up as the Clown Prince Of Crime (figuratively speaking).

Favorite Moment: The greatest showdowns between Batman and the Joker are the most intense ones. A rooftop battle laced with a horrific thunder storm, which eventually ends with the Joker falling to his seemingly demise in the tides below, but we all knew he’d be back.

4. Almost Got’em
     Along with action, comedy and a diverse number of Batman adversaries and adventures, Almost Got’em will go down as one of the best Animated Series episodes ever. It begins with a little “get together” of Batman’s rogues, including: Poison Ivy, Penguin, Killer Croc, Two Face and The Joker. One aspect of the show that made it interesting was the different interactions between the five villains. When else are we going to see these villains playing an unfriendly game of poker? The conversations between them made for some great comedy. The action came from the four different stories of almost killing Batman, and one weird comment made from Croc about hitting him with a rock. The twist came at the end when they discovered that Joker currently had Catwoman captured and was about to kill her. Turns out that Batman was disguised as Killer Croc the whole time, so as he goes to the rescue of Catwoman, police officers surround the four villains at the poker table.

Favorite Moment: After the villains share their “Almost Got’em” Batman stories, Killer Croc shares his, which was that he hit him with a rock, leaving an uncomfortable silence between the rest of the criminals. Not as creative as Poison Ivy’s toxins, Two Face’s giant coin or Joker’s electric chair, but effective nonetheless.

3. If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Rich?
     I never expected the series’ creators to skip on the Riddler during season one, but it was worth the wait to see his first appearance half way through season two. Edward Nigma, recently fired, takes revenge on his ex-employer by becoming the Riddler and leaving him clues to follow. His ego sparks when Batman attempts to capture him, so the Riddler decides he must prove his intellectual superiority by leaving complicated riddles for the Caped Crusader. The challenge for Batman and Robin came when they faced the Riddler’s giant maze, but since Robin had played a videogame version of the maze, they finally managed to pass the many obstacles to save the Riddler’s ex-boss. This episode was important for Batman and for the Riddler. Nigma had become one of the Batman’s greatest rivals for being one of the few who could outsmart him from time to time, and Batman gained a villain who was his intellectual equal, well, maybe not quite, but he was pretty damn smart. Unfortunately for our heroes, the Riddler escaped via plane at the end of the episode to plan his next move.

Favorite Moment: Batman purposely travels down the wrong tunnel in the maze to hitch a ride on “ The Hand Of Fate”. After disarming and rearming it and picking up Robin, he cheats his way to the center of the maze to face the “Riddle of the Minotaur”.

2. What Is Reality?
     Turns out the Riddler’s “next move” topped his first. The second episode featuring the Riddler was much better then the original because now he has set his revenge on the Dynamic Duo for foiling his plan to kill his ex-boss. The Riddler sends a giant computer to the police station. As Commissioner Gordon logs on to the computer, his mind is transported into its virtual world. This episode was very original and unique having Batman travel into virtual reality to save Gordon with Robin as a guide, but not even Robin could help Batman face the virtual creations of the Riddler, creations that may be fake in the real world but very real in the virtual one. The episode ends with the Riddler accidentally overloading his mind due to having to control an entire virtual world.

Favorite Moment: Its always great to see Batman trump the Riddler and prove that he is just plain smarter. At the end of the show Batman enters the digital world and forces the Riddler to create too many virtual objects to sustain it all. The Riddler’s fake reality comes crumbling down on him.

1. Perchance To Dream
     A dream is a powerful thing and the Mad Hatter knows it. Never one of Batman’s more popular foes, but even so, The Mad Hatter proved to be a very formidable opponent for The Dark Knight in Perchance To Dream. After a car chase with the Batman, The Mad Hatter is able to capture our unconscious hero and trap him within a dream world of his greatest desires. In the dream he is married to Selina Kyle, his parents are alive and he isn’t Batman, but the biggest shock comes when he witnesses another Batman stop some criminals outside Wayne Tower. It was right then and there that Bruce realized it was all a lie, and that he must return to reality.  This episode was one of the most enjoyable to watch. With all the mystery and suspense about whether Bruce Wayne had ever really been Batman at all kept me on the edge of my seat, especially at the end when Bruce risked his life to escape the dream, but once he did, the Mad Hatter was surely defeated. Lucky for Batman, The Mad Hatter had no idea what he was dreaming about. I don’t think him seeing Batman dream about Bruce Wayne’s personal life would have been good for the whole “secret identity” thing.

Favorite Moment: Bruce Wayne takes on of the biggest risks of his life. After a skilled fight between the other Batman he leaps off the top of the bell tower in an effort to escape the dream world. Luckily he woke up, but if he were wrong it would have been the end of Batman.

     These five episodes are my personal favorite of the season. But there are still two seasons left and they are full of just as many classic moments as the first two. So stay tuned for the top 5 episodes of season three, same “Bat”-website, same “Bat”-blog.

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