As I’ve continued my daily countdown to next year’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, this new year saw the completion of the second season of The Batman. The 13 episode season, produced by Jeff Matsuda, was a natural continuation of the story and world created for the 2004 re-envisioned Batman, Gotham City, and infamous rogues. The second season of the animated series was a considerable step in the right direction and marked a much more assured, confident, and fun series that would certainly please the casual and non-casual fans of The Dark Knight.
Season Two of The Batman picks up a short time after season one ended with Det. Ethan Bennett a.k.a. Clayface being allowed to escape by his partner, Det. Ellen Yin and Batman. Batman, despite his friendship with Yin, still has an uneasy alliance with the G.C.P.D. While Gotham grows more welcoming of the Caped Crusader, familiar faces such as Catwoman, The Penguin, and The Joker continually pose a threat to the safety of the city and give Bruce Wayne a reason to continue fighting crime. As villains such as Mr. Freeze and Firefly begin to forge tentative alliances with one another to take down The Batman (“The Cat, The Bat and the Ugly” S2.E1, “Fire and Ice” S2.E8), classic rogues are introduced such as The Riddler (“Riddled” S2.E2), Killer Croc (“Swamped” S2.E4), and Solomon Grundy (S2.E11). Producers and creators Michael Goguen and Duane Capizzi, along with Jeff Matsuda redeveloped the villains in a fresh way that still felt true to their comic-book counterparts. While characters such as The Riddler and Killer Croc appeared visually different, they were both brought to life in a way that stayed faithful to their original appearances. It also helped that the voice talents of The Riddler and Killer Croc were done by acting veterans, Robert Englund and Ron Perlman. While not a villain in this season, Professor Hugo Strange was added to the cast (voiced by Frank Gorshin some time before his passing) and was effectively intimidating in the tenth episode “Strange Minds.”
The second season of The Batman was well written and a pleasant improvement on an already strong first season. The creative team and producers focused on Batman emerging as a force for good and the toll it takes on the city and were able to develop a coherent story arc that further enriched the mythology of The Dark Knight. Riding on the success and high of the summer 2005 release of Batman Begins, this animated series took on an almost Nolan inspired take on creating a hyper realistic, yet realistic nonetheless take on the darker corner of the DC Universe. While the second season still did not achieve the wonderful success of Batman: The Animated Series it should be noted that The Batman never set out to replicate what animator Bruce Timm had accomplished with his four season opus.
The Batman Season Two is notable for how much reverence it paid to the legacy of the now 76-year-old DC comic character. Episode Three “JTV” is an amazing nod to not only one of The Joker’s earliest comic book appearances in which he taunts Gotham City about what his next crime will be, but it also features a tongue-in-cheek reference to the 60’s television episode with the usage of bangs, pows, and other action words during a fight The Joker broadcasts, along with Adam West returning to voice Mayor Marion Grange. The season finale “Night and the City” also introduced us to The Batman‘s version of up-and-coming police commissioner Jim Gordon. The final shots of the episode are well-staged and directed and provide an exciting set up for Batman and Gordon’s partnership, along with a strongly reminiscent closing that brings to mind the final scene of Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. If one thing was accomplished on the parts of Michael Goguen, Duane Capizzi, and Jeff Matsuda it’s that the journey of Bruce Wayne as Batman in his fourth year truly started to develop into the character we know and love. And that season four promised to bring us closer to seeing a more seasoned, weary, and dark detective!
Sadly, Season Two was the last season to feature The Edge of U2’s theme for the series. So I leave you with that haunting yet fun tune here to enjoy.
The Batman Season Two gets five out of five stars!