The Batman
Season 1 - Vol 2: The Man Who Would be Bat
(Region 1 Edition)

Starring (voice): Rino Romano, Alastair Duncan, Steve Harris and Ming-Na
Warner Bros
RRP US $14.97

Certificate: Not Rated (USA)
Available 11 September 2005 (USA)

Friends don't know his secret. The police can't trust his motives. Even the criminals wonder if he's crazy. Yet nothing will keep Batman from his crusade for justice in this captivating animated series filled with amazing new gadgets, a slick redesigned Gotham City and all your favourite villains. Soar with The Dark Knight as he faces off against the fanatical Man-Bat Dr. Langstrom, the coldest of criminals Mr. Freeze and the purrfectly-wild Catwoman. Join this vigilante for a cool collection of capers...

The Man Who Would be Bat is the second DVD release of episodes from the first season of the latest animated Batman series. The three episodes on this DVD are The Man Who Would be Bat, The Big Chill and The Cat and the Bat. I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive of watching this for the first time.

I was a huge fan of the '90s animated series and I couldn't even begin to imagine what they had done in order to bring what was a pretty faultless series up to date. This new series was originally shown in 2004 and is not quite as dark as the '90s show. The '90s animated series was almost faultless. It was mean and moody - a show that could be appreciated by children and adults alike. This new reworking is aimed more at kids.

I have to admit to being a little disappointed when I started watching this series. When I sat down to the first episode, The Man Who Would be Bat, Bruce Wayne looked like he'd been involved in some terrible accident. His face was bent and twisted beyond belief and he actually looked more muscular as Bruce than he did as the Batman. Then there was the odd opening credits music, which was too flat and didn't fit in with the action clips. Actually, I couldn't help thinking of Scooby-Doo! when I first saw the opening credits (with the flying bats coming out of a creepy old house - Wayne Manor in this case).

But, I soon noticed things that did indeed bring the show up to date. The Batmobile is really slick, as are all of the Batman's gadgets and vehicles. This makes the show feel much more contemporary - although it will probably mean that it won't age as well as the previous animated outing. The twisted look of the characters started to grow on me too (they look a little like something out of a Genndy Tartakovsky show.

It would also seem that Season One is concerning itself with the origins of Batman's villains (this volume sees the birth of Man-Bat, Mr. Freeze and Catwoman). While I know that there will be loads of kids who are unfamiliar with the history of the Batman, wouldn't it have been a little better to space these "origins of..." tales out a little bit. As it is, it seems like every week a villain is born in Gotham City.

On a packaging point, I'd like to get a little moan off my chest. The anti-theft security stickers were terrible on this release - as though they'd used superglue to stick them to the DVD case. The result was that I seriously damaged the clear plastic sleeve in my attempt to peel the stickers off. Why they didn't use the stickers they normally use on the cardboard DVD boxes is beyond me - they are much easier to remove.

Extras are quite fun and include a Batman junior detective exam (you can even print off your very own badge); Gotham City PD Case Files (6 min look at the villains in Gotham City); The Batman Big Chill Challenge (a surprisingly addictive game where you have to take out Mr. Freeze); and various trailers for other Warner Bros releases.

While I don't rate this as highly as the '90s series, I still think that this new animated series has a lot to offer. It's well written, animated and acted. I'm looking forward to seeing how this show matures.

Darren Rea

Buy this item online
We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal!
Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£6.02 (Amazon.co.uk)
Region 1 Edition
$13.47 (Amazon.com)
Region 1 Edition

All prices correct at time of going to press.