Debriefing #28: ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ Vol 2 Disk 1

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Batman: The Animated Series Vol 2 Disk 1

Creators: Eric Radomski and Bruce Timm

Directors: Kevin Altieri, Frank Paur, Boyd Kirkland, Bruce Timm, Dick Sebast,

Writers: Beth Bomstein, Elliot S. Maggin, Laren Bright, Michael Reaves, Steve Perry, Paul Dini, Randy Rogel

Note: This discussion covers the episodes Eternal Youth, Perchance to Dream, The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy, Robin’s Reckoning Part 1, Robin’s Reckoning Part 2, The Laughing Fish and Night of the Ninja.

James: After working our way through the first volume of The Animated Series, we’ve gotten the setup for a lot of the characters (with an exception we’ll talk about this time around). As we move into this second volume, we’re getting a lot of repeat customers, especially in the rogue’s gallery. The show is still giving itself some space to explore new characters, but for the most part we’ve got the groundwork set. My question for you is do you think these latest episodes do a good job developing these characters or were you left hoping for more?

Edgar: I’m glad you chose to start the discussion with the topic of developing the characters we’ve already come to know a little bit through the first volume of episodes. The reason being that I was particularly intrigued and in some cases satisfied with where this small collection of episodes took Bruce, Batman, Robin and even one of the villains, Poison Ivy. I don’t know if this was a conscious decision on the part of the writers to string together a series of episodes where viewers got to understand some of the deeper inner workings of these people but in any event it made for a really interesting run of adventures. I very much liked what they did with Poison Ivy in ‘Eternal Youth’, painting her as an even more twisted version of Batman himself. I appreciate it when the writers have the courage to go that deep with the characters. They did it a number of times in the first volume and continue to do so thus far in volume 2. James, were there any particular highs or lows in that regard?

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Debriefing #27: ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ Vol 1 Disk 4

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Batman: The Animated Series Volume 1 Disk 4

Creators: Eric Radomski and Bruce Timm

Directors: Boyd Kirkland, Frank Paur, Dick Sebast and Kevin Altieri

Writers: Paul Dini, Michael Reaves, Samuel Warren Joseph, David Wise, Gerry Conway, Judith Reeves-Stevens and Garfield Reeves-Stevens

Note: This discussion covers the episodes The Joker’s Favor, Vendetta, Fear of Victory, The Clock King, Appointment in Crime Alley, Mad as a Hatter and Dreams in Darkness.

James: After getting a variety of episodes over our first three discussions, this round of episodes is a bit different. There are some new characters introduced, but the series begins to stray into what a lot would consider the b-list of Batman antagonists. Still memorable for Batman fans, but not someone the average person would recognize. My question is, going forward, do you find these characters, both old and new, as fun, memorable and interesting as the big hitters or do you think this series of episodes is a noticeable step down on the character side of things? Continue reading

Debriefing #26: ‘A Death in the Family’

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Batman: A Death in the Family
Writer: Jim Starlin
Penciler: Jim Aparo
Inker: Mike DeCarlo
Letterer: John Costanza
Colorist: Adrienne Roy
Covers: Mike Mignola

Edgar: Few stories in the entire Batman cannon can claim to have historic significance for the main protagonist and the world he lives in. Some stories are great, some are memorable, but only a select few share tales that shake the foundations of Batman and what he does to the extent that Jim Starlin’s Death in the Family does. Even back in the day when the issues were being published, the buzz surrounding this major event-type story caught a feverish pitch amongst Batman readers. We’ll get into specifics as we go along I’m sure, but to get us started I’d like to know if you felt that the pivotal death, the leadup, the demise, and the aftermath carried as significant a weight for you as comic book lore claims. Continue reading

Debriefing #25: ‘Batman Chronicles Vol. 1’

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Batman Chronicles Vol. 1
Writer: Bill Finger
Artist: Bob Kane

James: With a character as popular and long-lasting as Batman, I think modern audiences are quick to take elements of the character for granted. Batman is such an iconic, legendary character that it’s easy to assume that he emerged as a fully-formed character. The truth, as we see from going back to the first appearance of the Bat, is a bit different. However, there are still a lot of recognizable elements here. My question to you is what do you make of the similarities and differences? Was it cool to see Batman still in incubation or did you find these early stores a crude shadow of what is to come? Continue reading

Debriefing #24: ‘Batman’ (1989)

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Batman (1989)
Director: Tim Burton
Screenwriters: Sam Hamm and Warren Skaaren
Cast: Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Michael Gough, Billy Dee Williams

Edgar: If only I could have been my age in the summer of 1989. I was only 6 and therefore my memory of the Batman craze that took over is a little hazy. In fact, I don’t believe I saw Batman in cinemas but rather on home video some time later. Today, Tim Burton is seen as something of a hack, an uninspired choice for movies that could do well by hiring directors with fresher takes on the stories. 1989 pretty much put Burton on the map. His 1989 Batman is celebrated by many, fondly remembered by most and was for all intents and purposes one of the most important comic book to movie adaptations ever. James, I’m obviously curious to know what your general opinion of the film is but I’m almost more interested to know if you think ‘Batman’, to you, is mostly a Batman movie, a Tim Burton movie or a solid combination of both? Continue reading

Debriefing #23: ‘The Black Mirror’

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Batman: The Black Mirror
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artists: Jock, Francesco Francavilla

As Bruce Wayne recovers from the events of Grant Morrison’s Batman arc, Dick Grayson takes on the persona of The Batman. When low-level crime manifests technology from Batman’s greatest foes, Grayson begins to investigate a selective black market that frequents in the most dangerous weapons from Batman’s foes. Continue reading

Debriefing #22: ‘The City of Owls’

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Batman: The City of Owls
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Greg Capullo

After narrowly escaping the judgment of the Court of Owls, Batman now faces the full force of the organization as they attempt to forcibly take over the city. Even in his own home, Bruce is not free from the talons of the Court of Owls. As Batman battles the court in his own home, the Court targets people of influence and power around the city. Batman is also force to confront his past and face down a foe with a personal vendetta. Continue reading