Directed by Sam Liu
Written by Mark Banker
Watch Beware the Batman live on Cartoon Network USA, Saturday @ 10:00!
BEWARE OF SPOILERS
After a short break for three weeks ‘Beware the Batman’ was back on the air this past Saturday with a follow-up to ‘Safe’ which aired on 3rd August.
For those who need a quick recap ‘Safe’ saw Wayne Manor attacked by the League of Assassins where Bruce Wayne is keeping Dr. Burr inventor of the revolutionary Ion Cortex safe from harm. Leading the onslaught was Silver Monkey who upon entering the manor was confronted by Tatsu, former member of the League, and the Soultaker Sword which Tastu took with her when she faked her death.
In the two episodes since ‘Safe’ Tatsu/Katana (I’m still not sure which one we’re officially referring to her as) has taken a little bit of a back seat and allowed Batman to be at the forefront of the action but here she steps firmly back in to the limelight.
Shaking up the format a little the episodes starts with a flash forward towards the climax before jumping back six hours to fill in the blanks. It’s a nice change from the normal narrative structure of the show.
The story of ‘Family’ is actually pretty simple, it is essentially the second part of the fight for the Soultaker sword, there’s very little by way of locations and aside from the waves of league ninjas there are also few characters in this episode.
Banker continues the story he setup in ‘Safe’ brilliantly by expanding on the story and bringing in several of the story strands that have been flowing through the series and pulling them together. This show works incredibly well when it balances Katana and Batman well, exploring Katana’s history and interconnecting it with the villain of the week and with such a wealth of history between her and the League there’s a lot to work with in this story.
This is by no means Katana’s show but against the origin of Batman that would perhaps normally be explored at the start of a new show this is fresh ground by comparison.
It was great to see Dr Ravencroft back one last time, I hadn’t expected the fate that befell her in this episode and actually I thought visually it may have been a little scary for children but I’m 28 so that’s fine.
Visually this episode is stunning. Having been without a new episode for three weeks I felt like I was watching it for the first time again. There’s a great level of scope to the visuals in this show and the grandiose nature of the Argus lodge was quite a sight to behold.
Liu brings some A+ level direction to this episode, there are a lot of action sequences to get through here and they are all choreographed brilliantly. The level of action in this series is way above other shows of it’s kind and it’s down to Liu’s attention to detail that it’s carried off so brilliantly.
What really impressed me here was that when the story catches up to the opening flash forward scene we are shown them from alternate camera angles. Other animated shows, even some live action ones, would just repeat the footage to drive home the point that we had reached that opening glimpse but not here. It’s not a big deal but to me it just proves the attention that is lavished on this show.
Great characters, great voice action, brilliant visuals and an outstanding story. If you aren’t already watching this show then start now!