Batman: The Last Battening

27 12 2009

Someone on Twitter asked for the annotated Batman DVD guide I wrote up for a friend, so I’ll Just Leave This Here. It’s very subjective, though; some episodes I didn’t care for, someone else might.

* Unmemorable episode, skippable unless you like the characters.
** A solid episode, worth a watch, especially if you like the characters.
*** One of the best in the series, or critically important for continuity.
**** Absolute personal favorite. I don't hand these out lightly.

[ORIGIN] Origin story for a character
[SIG] Signature story, highlighting character well

VOLUME 1

   *  1 On Leather Wings
  **  2 Christmas With the Joker
 ***  3 Nothing to Fear [ORIGIN:Scarecrow]
   *  4 The Last Laugh
 ***  5 Pretty Poison [ORIGIN:Poison Ivy]
   *  6 Underdwellers
 ***  7 P.O.V. [SIG:Gotham Police]
  **  8 Forgotten
   *  9 Be a Clown
**** 10 Two-Face Pt. 1 [ORIGIN:Two-Face]
**** 11 Two-Face Pt. 2 [ORIGIN:Two-Face]
 *** 12 It's Never Too Late [SIG:Rupert Thorne]
   * 13 I've Got Batman In My Basement
**** 14 Heart of Ice [ORIGIN:Mr.Freeze]
   * 15 The Cat and the Claw Pt. 1 [ORIGIN:Catwoman]
   * 16 The Cat and the Claw Pt. 2 [ORIGIN:Catwoman]
 *** 17 See No Evil
**** 18 Beware the Gray Ghost
   * 19 Prophecy of Doom
 *** 20 Feat of Clay Pt. 1 [ORIGIN:Clayface]
 *** 21 Feat of Clay Pt. 2 [ORIGIN:Clayface]
**** 22 The Joker's Favor [SIG:Joker]
  ** 23 Vendetta [ORIGIN:Killer Croc]
   * 24 Fear of Victory
 *** 25 The Clock King [ORIGIN:Clock King]
 *** 26 Appointment in Crime Alley
**** 27 Mad as a Hatter [ORIGIN: Mad Hatter]
  ** 28 Dreams in Darkness

VOLUME 2

  **  1 Eternal Youth [SIG:Poison Ivy]
****  2 Perchance to Dream
 ***  3 The Cape and the Cowl Conspiracy
 ***  4 Robin's Reckoning Pt. 1 [ORIGIN:Robin]
 ***  5 Robin's Reckoning Pt. 2 [ORIGIN:Robin]
 ***  6 The Laughing Fish [SIG:Joker]
 ***  7 Night of the Ninja [ORIGIN:Kyodai Ken]
   *  8 Cat Scratch Fever
   *  9 The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne
 *** 10 Heart of Steel Pt. 1 [ORIGIN:Hardac]
 *** 11 Heart of Steel Pt. 2 [ORIGIN:Hardac]
**** 12 If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich? [ORIGIN:Riddler]
 *** 13 Joker's Wild
   * 14 Tyger, Tyger
   * 15 Moon of the Wolf
 *** 16 Day of the Samurai [SIG:Kyodai Ken]
   * 17 Terror in the Sky
**** 18 Almost Got 'Im [SIG:Several]
 *** 19 Birds of a Feather [SIG:Penguin]
 *** 20 What Is Reality? [SIG:Riddler]
**** 21 I Am the Night [SIG:Batman]\
  ** 22 Off Balance [ORIGIN:Talia Al Ghul]
**** 23 The Man Who Killed Batman
  ** 24 Mudslide
  ** 25 Paging the Crime Doctor
 *** 26 Zatanna [SIG:Zatanna]
   * 27 The Mechanic
**** 28 Harley and Ivy [SIG:Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy]

VOLUME 3

  **  1 Shadow fo the Bat Pt. 1 [ORIGIN:Batgirl]
  **  2 Shadow fo the Bat Pt. 2 [ORIGIN:Batgirl]
   *  3 Blind as a Bat
 ***  4 The Demon's Quest Pt. 1 [ORIGIN:Ra's Al Ghul]
 ***  5 The Demon's Quest Pt. 2 [ORIGIN:Ra's Al Ghul]
****  6 His Silicon Soul
  **  7 Fire From Olympus [ORIGIN:Maxie Zeus]
****  8 Read My Lips [ORIGIN:Ventriloquist]
  **  9 The Worry Men [SIG:Mad Hatter]
   * 10 Sideshow [SIG:Killer Croc]
 *** 11 A Bullet for Bullock [SIG:Gotham Police]
 *** 12 Trial
  ** 13 Avatar [SIG:Ra's Al Ghul]
 *** 14 House and Garden [SIG:Poison Ivy]
   * 15 The Terrible Trio
**** 16 Harlequinade [SIG:Harley Quinn]
 *** 17 Time Out of Joint [SIG:Clock King]
  ** 18 Catwalk
  ** 19 Bane [ORIGIN:Bane]
**** 20 Baby-Doll [ORIGIN:Baby-Doll]
   * 21 The Lion and the Unicorn
**** 22 Showdown [SIG:Johan Hex]
 *** 23 Riddler's Reform
**** 24 Second Chance [SIG:Two-Face]
 *** 25 Harley's Holiday
   * 26 Lock-Up
 *** 27 Make 'Em Laugh
 *** 28 Deep Freeze
  ** 29 Batgirl Returns

VOLUME 4
Note: Characters got a visual redesign to simplify them and bring 
them more in line with the Superman series, which was airing 
alongside Batman. Stories took a bit of a dive in quality, 
focusing more on action. Still, there are a few gems, particularly 
since they started mixing in Superman and other DC comics 
characters, and moved time forward (Robin leaves Batman to become 
Nightwing, Penguin goes legit and runs a nightclub, etc.)

  **  1 Holiday Knights
 ***  2 Sins of the Father [ORIGIN:Robin II]
  **  3 Cold Comfort
 ***  4 Never Fear
  **  5 You Scratch My Back [SIG:Nightwing, Catwoman]
 ***  6 Double Talk [SIG:Ventriloquist]
   *  7 Joker's Millions
****  8 Growing Pains
  **  9 Love is a Croc [SIG:Baby-Doll, Killer Croc]
   * 10 Torch Song
  ** 11 The Ultimate Thrill
**** 12 Over the Edge
   * 13 Mean Seasons
   * 14 Critters
   * 15 Cult of the Cat
   * 16 Animal Act
 *** 17 Old Wounds [ORIGIN:Nightwing]
 *** 18 The Demon Within [ORIGIN:Etrigan]
**** 19 Legends of the Dark Knight [SIG:Batman]
        Fun note about this one; each story is told in the style of
        a noteworthy Batman artist, including a segment right out of
        Frank Miller's "Dark Knight Returns".
 *** 20 Girl's Night Out [SIG:Supergirl, Superman villains]
**** 21 Mad Love [ORIGIN:Harley Quinn]
  ** 22 Chemistry
   * 23 Beware the Creeper
   * 24 Judgment Day

OTHER NOTEWORTHY BATMAN MATERIAL:

Mask of the Phantasm: Movie-length, tells Batman's origin story 
plus a story involving Joker.

World's Finest: Three crossover episodes between Batman and 
Superman.

Justice League: Continues both the Batman and Superman 
continuities, mixes in tons of DC comics characters including 
Wonder Woman, The Flash, etc. Includes a good stand-alone Joker 
focused episode, "Wildcards", and an epilogue for Batman Beyond.

Batman Beyond: A sci-fi future batman, where Bruce is 70 and 
has retired. I've got the first season on DVD but nothing beyond 
that; the show itself was just OKAY. The "Return of the Joker" 
movie, however, is amazing.
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6 responses

27 12 2009
Anonymous

I watched all of these when I was younger, except for the Superman cartoon. I have a certain affection for them merely because they made up my child-hood. And I still remember the Twoface origin episode from the Batman cartoon. It says a lot about the quality of that episode that a kid who only casually watched the cartoons still remembers it to this day.
Funny thing is that I was only vaguely aware these characters were comic heroes (I didn’t discover comics until later). Thing is, a lot of these cartoons were decent enough that the characters were able to stand on there own. I also watched some of the Spider-man cartoon but even then I thought the DC cartoons were of better quality. Marvel is my favorite as far as comics go, but they haven’t quite been able to beat DC in TV/Movies.

27 12 2009
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

The key with the Batman animated series was that from the start, they saw themselves as making “mini-movies”. They weren’t afraid to make them dramatic and methodically paced.
In essence, they weren’t making “kiddie cartoons” at all, being the typical slam-bam-wow toyability easily written cheaply animated pap variety designed to push a product rather than tell a story.
You can read more about the original creator’s design document for the series here. There’s even a link to the document itself.

27 12 2009
Anonymous

Awesome. Thanks!

27 12 2009
cmdr_zoom

Nice. I mostly agree with your ratings, though I’d give another star to “Mean Seasons” (and probably pull it from “The Demon Within”).

27 12 2009
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

You could be right; I barely remember Mean Seasons. I do like Etrigan in general, which could bias me there.

30 12 2009
coldfury

I agree that Batman Beyond was mostly only okay. But I do think there were a couple of good gems. The ones that really caught my attention were the ones that pulled from past continuity. Like the one that focused on Rhas Al Ghul and the Justice League two parter.
I was very sad that they never followed up on Dick Grayson in that show.

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