Friday, March 9, 2012

Batman: The Animated Series, Top 5 From Season Four

     Season four was a big one, the biggest actually. Dick Grayson has moved on from being Batman’s sidekick and has become Nightwing, Batgirl is shared with Batman’s secret identity and is welcomed into the Bat-family and young Tim Drake has become the new Robin. Rest assured though, the same villains remain, each with a new plan to takedown the Batman, but with a total of four heroes now watching over Gotham City, they don’t stand a chance. These 5 episodes are my favorite of the “New Adventures” and are iconic to the series, so enjoy.

5. Holiday Knights
     This episode features several different stories that involve Batman, Robin or Batgirl stopping a different villain. All of the crimes take place roughly around Christmas and New Year’s, hence the title. I enjoyed the different stories that were put into one. It made me feel as if I was watching a few episodes at once. The first features Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn who use a special potion to take control of Bruce Wayne and command him to buy them whatever they want as they take him on their shopping spree. Bruce eventually changes into Batman to put an end to their shopping spree. The second story involves Batgirl. Barbara is shopping in the mall when her quiet day is interrupted by the arrival of Clayface. She takes down the mud monster with the help of Officer Montoya and Detective Bullock. The final story has the Joker on New Year’s Eve as he plans to poison an entire crowd using his Joker toxins, but Batman and the new Robin arrive to put an end to his plan. An enjoyable story with a few individual stories featuring classic foes and a lot of action.

Favorite Moment: At the end of the episode Commissioner Gordon meets Batman at a diner for their annual holiday coffee. After about 30 seconds of talking Gordon looks away for a moment then looks back to find that Batman was gone and had left money for the bill. Gordon says, “one of these days I’m gonna beat him to the check”.

4. Judgment Day
     Judgment Day had action, mystery and great music and sound. A new vigilante arrives in Gotham calling himself “The Judge”. He works toward the same goal as Batman, a brighter and safer Gotham City, but he is much more violent and unforgiving then the Caped Crusader. The Judge attempts to kill three of Gotham’s most wanted such as The Penguin, The Riddler and Killer Croc, but was unsuccessful when Batman arrived to save them. The Judge’s next target was Two-Face, but Batman saved him as well. We soon discover that Two-Face was the Judge all along, and that his subconscious created a third identity that was so independent that Two-Face didn’t even realize it. The episode was great and I actually believed that The Judge had killed his victims because the music was so intense, which made the episode that much better.

Favorite Moment: The music grows more intense as The Judge closes in on his target, The Penguin. The Judge rolls a giant statue of a penguin towards the villain, squishing him between the statue and the wall. It was much more exciting then the way I just told it so you should just watch the episode.

3. Legends Of The Dark Knight
     From the perspective of three kids, they reveal their own opinions of how Batman is in real life. This episode was comedic due to the ridiculous theories they had about the Dark Knight and each of their stories paid tribute to a legendary comic book tale of Batman. The first kid believes Batman to be a bat-like creature, which could be referring to Man-Bat in the very first episode of the series, On Leather Wings (which I talk about in the top 5 of season one). The next kid retells the story that his Uncle told him. His uncle was a security guard working in a musical arts museum when the Joker suddenly arrived. This section of the episode resembles the Adam West and Burt Ward Batman series from the 1960’s. A lot of “Wham” and “Boom” action bubbles and a lot of bad puns. The third kid was a girl who imagined Batman at the age of 50, with a Batmobile in the shape of a tank and a female Robin, which resembled the girl telling the story. The events of her story are references to Frank Millar’s comic book masterpiece “The Dark Knight Returns”. This episode contains a lot of unforgettable moments throughout Batman’s history, retold through the eyes of kids.

Favorite Moment: To be completely honest, I don’t have a specific “favorite moment” for this episode, but I will say that I enjoyed the different interpretations of the Dark Knight, which referred to the classic dynamic duo from the Golden Age and the gritty, older Batman from Frank Millar.

2. Old Wounds
     Young Tim Drake has a little trouble with a few thugs until Nightwing arrives to help him out. Nightwing tells Robin of how he became his own hero and why he has an internal grudge against Batman. After Batman didn’t tell Robin about Batgirl’s true identity as his girlfriend Barbara Gordon, combined with the way Batman treated a criminal in front of his young son, Robin had had enough of being Batman’s sidekick and he wanted to make it on his own. For the first half of the season we as fans just excepted the fact that Dick Grayson had grown out of his role as the Boy Wonder and into Nightwing, but Old Wounds shows us the details of Grayson’s transition into his own hero. At the end of the episode Robin and Nightwing discover that Bruce hired the criminal who he mistreated years earlier. He is now a security guard working for Wayne Labs, which is when Nightwing realizes that maybe Batman isn’t as cold-hearted as he thought he was.

Favorite Moment: Robin is furious that Batman didn’t share Batgirl’s secret identity with him, plus he didn’t like the way he treated one of Joker’s thugs in front of his wife and kid. So Robin slugged him one right in the face, threw down his mask and cape, and fled the scene.

1. Over The Edge
     While trying to stop the Scarecrow, Batgirl is knocked off the edge of a building and lands right on Commissioner Gordon’s car. He realizes that it is his daughter and issues a citywide search for Batman, who was revealed as Bruce Wayne. This is by far my favorite episode of the entire series. To see Gordon get so angry as to hire Bane to capture Batman was awesome. The show also had a bit of laughs when a reporter interviewed several criminals from Arkham about what they thought of Bruce Wayne being Batman and they all came to the same conclusion: he should basically just give them money. Nightwing is eventually arrested when he tried to retrieve some supplies from his apartment and Tim Drake is asked to leave Batman because it was getting to dangerous. Unfortunately for our hero, Bane rolls the Bat-signal light at Batman and Gordon knocking them “over the edge” of the building. Then, Batgirl wakes up from her sleep, surrounded by her crime fighting comrades, and realizes that what she saw was the result of exposure to the Scarecrow’s fear toxins. Yes, it may all have been a dream, but the episode was so action-packed and intense that I didn’t even care that none of it happened. Also, if it had then the show would pretty much be over, but luckily, none of it happened and the show continued, but no episode after it and none of the episodes before can claim the award of best episode of the series.

Favorite Moment: Batman and Robin drop down to a dock at the bottom of the Batcave, but as they are running to their boat, Gordon has Batman in the sight of his gun, but just as he pulls the trigger Alfred tackles him and the bullet just missed Batman by a few feet. Batman looks up in sadness to see the man who was like a father figure to him getting arrested, as he must flee the scene.

     Batman: The Animated Series lasted four seasons and in those seasons were some of the greatest moments in Batman’s history. With the combination of spectacular animation, amazing storytelling and tremendous voice work from Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill and many others, The Animated Series was a milestone in the characters rich history and will go down as the best animated series ever made. 

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