Review: Beware The Batman
This trade paperback collects the entirety of the short-lived comic book series based on the short-lived animated series of the same name…which, of course, was based on the Batman comics. Despite the enduring, even ever-increasing popularity of the title character, this particular Batman comic may have a slightly steeper learning curve than most Batman comics, given how much the premise of the show it is based on varies from the standard Batman narrative.
Here, the still-new Batman—wearing a cowl with wide ears reminiscent of his first appearance and an all-black, rubbery-looking suit reminiscent of his film appearances—is aided in his crusade against crime by his big, burly, mustache-less driver and bodyguard Alfred Pennyworth, who does more battling than he does buttling. When the pair realize that Batman needs a partner as much as Bruce Wayne needs a bodyguard, and there haven’t been any local circus tragedies to orphan a potential sidekick yet, Alfred calls in his goddaughter Tatsu Yamashiro, aka Katana, who serves Batman and Bruce Wayne Kato-style (right down to simply adding a black domino mask when transforming from chauffeur to sidekick).
Together, the trio tackle a strange and diverse group of villains, which the cartoon’s producers pulled almost exclusively from the deepest, darkest corners of Batman’s immense rogue’s gallery, so that hardly any of the bad guys who appeared in the series had ever appeared in any of the many other Batman cartoons of the past.
The trade, which includes a 10-page story by writers Mitch Watson and Scott Beatty and artist Luciano Vecchio taken from DC Nation Super Sampler #1 in addition to the six issues of the series, takes place sometime after the premise is established. It features six standalone stories, each of which has a different villain and almost every one of which has a different writer, although there are some minor sub-plots that carry through a few of the issues, like that of super-villain Anarky serving as a sort of end-level boss behind the mini-bosses.
In addition to Anarky, Batman and friends battle gangster Tobias Whale, eco-terrorist Professor Pyg, a new Man-Bat, Killer Croc, and an impostor Katana. The artwork is much more stable than the writing, with only two artists contributing to the series: Luciano Vecchio and Dario Brizuela. The former has a sharper, more exaggerated style that fits that of the show’s designs better, while there’s some visual tension between Brizuela’s own style and his version of the Beware the Batman designs.
It’s not the best Batman comic, it’s not even one of the better Batman comics based on a Batman television cartoon, but it’s still a Batman comic, and one that’s both competently produced and suitable for the youngest of readers, and, in that respect at least, beggars can’t be choosers.
Filed under: All Ages
About J. Caleb Mozzocco
J. Caleb Mozzocco is a way-too-busy freelance writer who has written about comics for online and print venues for a rather long time now. He currently contributes to Comic Book Resources' Robot 6 blog and ComicsAlliance, and maintains his own daily-ish blog at EveryDayIsLikeWednesday.blogspot.com. He lives in northeast Ohio, where he works as a circulation clerk at a public library by day.
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