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Non-Review Review: Batman/Mr. Freeze – SubZero

Surprisingly, not all films featuring Mr. Freeze are terrible. Batman/Mr. Freeze: SubZero doesn’t quite live up to the best of the animated Batman movies or even animated television shows, standing in the shadow of both Mask of the Phantasm and Return of the Joker, but it’s still a surprisingly solid adventure that offers a much better showing for the Caped Crusader than either of the Joel Schumacher Batman movies.

Things are heating up…

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The Adventures of Batman & Robin – House and Garden (Review)

This September marks the twentieth anniversary of Batman: The Animated Series, and the birth of the shared DC animated universe that would eventually expand to present one of the most comprehensive and thorough explorations of a comic book mythology in any medium. To celebrate, we’re going back into the past and looking at some classic episodes.

It’s amazing how thoroughly Batman: The Animated Series was able to explore Batman’s iconic selection of bad guys, demonstrating how remarkably deep and varied his villains are. Paul Dini was perhaps the strongest writer when it came to drafting these psychological portraits of Arkham’s countless denizens, even inventing characters like Baby Doll and Harvey Quinn for the show. (With Harley now an established and iconic character in her own right.) While Poison Ivy had a strong debut episode, and a run of strong appearances, House & Garden stands as perhaps the most thorough exploration of the villain’s psyche, building a relatively complex portrayal of her psychology and pathology in under half an hour.

House call…

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Batman: The Animated Series – Read My Lips (Review)

This September marks the twentieth anniversary of Batman: The Animated Series, and the birth of the shared DC animated universe that would eventually expand to present one of the most comprehensive and thorough explorations of a comic book mythology in any medium. To celebrate, we’re going back into the past and looking at some classic episodes.

It’s really remarkable the kind of stories you can tell with Batman. The character has a remarkable and innate flexibility, lending him to a diverse bunch of genres. He can do mystery, suspense, adventure, horror, drama, action, crime and many more besides. Joe Lansdale’s script for Read My Lips does an excellent job demonstrating the wonderful flexibility of Batman as a character, telling a witty, off-beat noir story… with a dummy as the villain.

He ain’t no dummy…

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Justice League Unlimited – Divided We Fall (Review)

This September marks the twentieth anniversary of Batman: The Animated Series, and the birth of the shared DC animated universe that would eventually expand to present one of the most comprehensive and thorough explorations of a comic book mythology in any medium. To celebrate, we’re going back into the past and looking at some classic episodes.

Divided We Fall makes for a fond farewell to the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. At the time the show was produced, the creators did not know that they’d get another season, and the season finale that followed Divided We Fall was dedicated to wrapping up the entire DC animated universe from Batman: The Animated Series through to Batman Beyond. So, appropriately, Divided We Fall focuses on the “original seven” members of the Justice League, offering one final climactic confrontation between the Justice League and combined forces of Lex Luthor and Brainiac.

Heroes for higher purposes?

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Batman Beyond – Ascension (Review)

This September marks the twentieth anniversary of Batman: The Animated Series, and the birth of the shared DC animated universe that would eventually expand to present one of the most comprehensive and thorough explorations of a comic book mythology in any medium. To celebrate, we’re going back into the past and looking at some classic episodes.

Batman Beyond worked quite hard to establish its own identity, as distinct from Batman: The Animated Series. Sure, occasionally familiar villains and characters would make an appearance, and Terry had a fair share of his bed guys who were at least partially inspired by Z-list Batman baddies, but Batman Beyond managed to firmly establish itself as its own thing over its first season. Ascension is a finale that wraps up narrative threads that have been building since Rebirth, giving Terry some measure of emotional closure and also tying up some loose ends that have been dangling since the show began.

Not quite the healthiest form of green energy…

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Batman Beyond – Meltdown (Review)

This September marks the twentieth anniversary of Batman: The Animated Series, and the birth of the shared DC animated universe that would eventually expand to present one of the most comprehensive and thorough explorations of a comic book mythology in any medium. To celebrate, we’re going back into the past and looking at some classic episodes.

I was less than impressed with Victor Fries’ last appearance on Batman: The Animated Series in Cold Comfort, written by Hilary J. Bader. So I’ll admit to being quite surprised when she produced the story for Meltdown, a fairly effective conclusion to Mister Freeze’s character arc. Perhaps it’s a result of the bold new setting, or perhaps Alan Burnett’s work on the teleplay, but Meltdown does a rather excellent job wrapping up all sorts of loose ends and fairly effectively using Freeze as an unlikely, yet effective, counterpart to Bruce Wayne.

He never lost his head, and he always kept his cool…

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The Adventures of Batman & Robin – Showdown (Review)

This September marks the twentieth anniversary of Batman: The Animated Series, and the birth of the shared DC animated universe that would eventually expand to present one of the most comprehensive and thorough explorations of a comic book mythology in any medium. To celebrate, we’re going back into the past and looking at some classic episodes.

Bruce Timm’s animated DC universe introduced me to a wealth of comic book characters I would never have encountered otherwise. While I was familiar with most of Batman’s iconic selection of bad guys, The Demon’s Quest introduced me to Ra’s Al Ghul. Later on, you could see Superman: The Animated Series making a point to introduce other iconic characters like the Flash or Green Lantern. However, Batman: The Animated Series also did its shared of universe-building. While Zatanna introduced the magician as a co-star with Bruce, Showdown is notable for introducing another DC hero with whom Bruce never directly interacts.

Showdownworks superbly as an introduction to the character of Jonah Hex. It certainly works much better than the recent feature film carrying the character’s name.

He’s a sharp one…

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