Which animated version of Batman is the best? David Ellis offers the answer.
Since the dawn of time humankind has asked itself the important questions. Apples or oranges? Soup or salad? Sadly, the answers to these questions elude most people, but the answer to an even greater question might be answered: Which Batman series is the best?
There have been many incarnations throughout the ages: Adam West’s “The Batman”, “Batman: The Animated Series”, “Batman Beyond” and the several versions of “The Justice League”, to just name several. Each of these saw success and still have a very dedicated fan base. Most would say that “Batman: The Animated Series” holds the crown for best animated version, shortly followed by “Batman Beyond”.
Two other animated versions have received varied support. “The Batman” is largely seen as a very off depiction of Batman. The backstories and history of all the characters were completely overhauled, character models drastically changed and the animation style was questionable. Somehow the show managed to hold on for five seasons despite these faults. The other series is “Batman: The Brave and the Bold”.
It is the most recent of the Batman remakes and, sadly, was cancelled after only three seasons. This show went starkly against what most see as the classic Batman: dark and brooding. Rather, the show harkened back to the original Batman: the comedic and jovial Adam West portrayal. A light mood is held constantly throughout the series.
This portrayal made some groups upset, saying that this was not truly Batman. This may seem the case at first, but with time the show blossoms into an unforgettable series.
The series boasts an outrageous number of characters. There are at least 100 characters, and most have a detailed backstory. Each character’s history fits, mostly, to what has been accepted canon for that character, making the show easy for comic book conneseurs to enjoy the show. This wide variety of characters requires a huge base of voice acting talent, pulling some recognizable voices to the show: Neil Patrick Harris, Adam West (the prodigal voice of Batman himself), Kevin Conroy and many other notables appear in the show. There is also a wide host of memorable voices but perhaps not names, such as the dad from “Dexter’s Laboratory” as the Joker.
Most of the time, each episode contains two stories. The opening sequence usually starts with an independent story focusing on a random batch of characters. For example, one episode opens with Batman being assissted against Ma Murder by a haunted tank piloted by Confederate General Jeb Stuart‘s ghost. These introductions are usually simply for fun and help to show unheard-of heroes and forgotten comic book characters.
Another uncommon factor about this show is the existence of Bat-Mite. First introduced in 1959, he appears in this show in his original rendition. Bat-Mite serves as a comedic character and proclaims himself Batman’s number one fan. He exists in a different dimension than Batman, and has a huge collection of memorabilia from throughout the ages. In several episodes he breaks the fourth wall, conversing with the audience about his favorite Batman moments. The most notable episode of his is the final episode of the show. Shown to be in mourning, he mocks the audience, wondering how his favorite show could possibly be canceled. Throughout the episode he messes with the story, placing Batman in the most outrageous costumes. He even changes the voice actor of Aquaman, simply because he can.
Another hit-or-miss factor of the show is the sheer number of puns. Aquaman seasons his dialogue with sea-insipred sayings such as “Great Neptune!” and “I‘ll flatten you like a flounder.” Some of Batman’s best dialogue comes from an episode where his personalities each gain their own body and proceed to argue with over whether or not Batman eats nachos.
The show has many strong points that should have lasted it throughout many seasons. Regardless, the show was cancelled before its time. The show offers a brand new yet throwback version of Batman that is not found in other adaptations. It may not stand against “Batman: The Animated Series”, but it offers an extremely tough challenger. For any wishing to enjoy a new and happy interpretation of Batman, this series is perfect. Very quickly any viewer will see this Batman, as Aquaman calls him, as an “old chum.”