Friday, July 25, 2014

Batman: The Animated Series - Episodes 41-45 Reviews

My ninth blog covering this series and with the selection of episodes I'm highlighting here, there's the debut of three Rogue gallery members, a rather subversive-ish adventure for a certain Clown Prince as well as a follow up to one of my less favourite stories.

Episode 41: If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?

I'm actually impressed it took almost halfway through the series lifespan to actually introduce Edward Nygma/the Riddler and with the excellent John Glover (Lionel Luther from Smallville/Jason Woodrue in Batman & Robin) voicing him as a former employee out for revenge on scheming boss, Daniel Mockridge with a series of life and death puzzles in a maze, this was certainly a memorable debut for the character. What I liked about this episode is that while the Riddler didn't actually succeed in killing his former boss, his actions certain put the frighteners on him and it was a great episode for displaying both Batman and Robin's ingenuity as they embarked on the Minotaur game. 9/10

Episode 42: Joker's Wild

The idea of the Joker as a patsy was a plotline I didn't actually expect this series to attempt but with scheming casino boss Cameron Kaiser setting up a certain business venture as an affront to the Clown Prince of crime, we got to see an interesting side to the Joker here. I really enjoyed him trying to find another way of dealing with Kaiser before his escape from Arkham became short lived once again. Speaking of Arkham, even for the Joker that was a ridiculously easy escape. At this rate, I'm actually surprised anyone is still there given how lousy security seems to be there. Also as a last point, I love the rivalry set up here between the Joker and Poison Ivy at the beginning and end of this episode along with two other Rogue cameos. 8/10

Episode 43: His Silicon Soul

I mentioned in my last review that I wasn't particularly fond of two parter, Heart Of Steel, so I wasn't exactly chomping at the bit for a follow up on that story but this one was actually okay enough. Having a robotic Batman trying to accomplish HARDAC's goals from the previous story while at the same time being bound by a moral compass was fairly gripping and there was some nice fight scenes with the real Batman and his robot imposter and I quite liked the final scene. Better than expected really. 7/10

Episode 44: Off Balance

This episode must be something of a record. On one hand we got the introduction of Vertigo (soon to be seen on Arrow), voiced by Michael York and then on the other hand we were introduced to Talia Al Ghul (Helen Slater) and briefly her father, Ras Al Ghul (David Warner) while dealing with a sonic device from Wayne Enterprises with devastating consequences. The cat and mouse antics with Batman and Talia were fun to watch and the set up for a future encounter with the deadly father/daughter is something that cannot come soon enough. I also love that the most of the episode was also out of Gotham as well and there was some lovely trippy sequences, courtesy of Vertigo's abilities. 9/10

Episode 45: What Is Reality?

Maybe it's just the order of the episode transmitted but it's a pleasant surprise to get a follow up adventure from the Riddler rather quickly. This episode (despite being a little garish with the red at times) saw Nygma trapping Gordon inside a computer game with Batman competing through a series of challenges to rescue the Commissioner. The games themselves were well thought out and I did enjoy the battle of wits between Batman and the Riddler. I also enjoyed that contrary to the previous episode, this time around the Riddler's wits actually got the better of him with his own virtual reality causing his downfall. 8/10

Next blog I'll focus on The Laughing Fish, Harley & Ivy, The Mechanic, The Man Who Killed Batman and Zatanna.

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