MUST WATCH: Beware The Batman!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

If you’re a frequent visitor to World’s Best Media, you probably already know that I love Batman and Superhero Animation. So I tend to get excited when I hear about a new animated Batman project. Warner Bros. and HBO recently announced a new Batman animated series in the works for HBO Max, called Batman: The Caped Crusader. The new series is being developed by Matt Reeves (the director of the upcoming film The Batman), JJ Abrams, and Bruce Timm (one of the creators of Batman: The Animated Series). There’ve been rumors floating around for a while now that Warner Bros. was developing a sequel series to the beloved and classic Batman: The Animated Series. While Batman: The Caped Crusader is not a direct sequel series or continuation of Batman: The Animated Series, it’s definitely a spiritual successor. When The Caped Crusader was announced Reeves and Abrams explicitly stated that BTAS (Batman: The Animated Series, for all you cool kids) was the new show’s biggest influence. Through the involvement of Bruce Timm as well as this promo art released during The Caped Crusader’s announcement, served to reinforce how much of an influence BTAS will have on this new show. As I mentioned before, Bruce Timm was one of the creators of Batman: The Animated Series and an icon in DC animation, and as you can clearly see in the promo art, which I posted below, Batman: The Caped Crusader is very evocative of the neo noir look of the 90s Batman series.


However, when I read the announcement for Batman: The Caped Crusader, I couldn’t help but think that I’d heard this all somewhere else once before. Which brings me to the main topic of this article, an animated series that you may not have even heard of called Beware The Batman. An extremely underrated animated series that I’ve been wanting to write about for a long time, Beware The Batman. The announcement about The Caped Crusader reminded me a lot of how Beware The Batman was described when it was first announced. Especially because of the comments made by Abrams and Reeves about “reinvention” and “reimagining” the Batman mythos. It was very similar to how Beware The Batman was pitched when first heard about it, just with some keywords turned around here and there. Beware The Batman was “pitched” to the audience as a darker, grittier animated Batman story, that wasn’t going to do the same old thing. The series certainly lived up to the claim, because it isn’t quite like any other adaptation of the character. The core of the show was something we see far too little of, in on screen adaptations of The Dark Knight, Batman: The World’s Greatest Detective. This was still a relatively early days Batman, at least a few years into his grand mission. The series really played up the “World’s Greatest Detective“ aspect of the character, which many of you may know, I fucking love.

The writers weren’t afraid to play up some of Batman’s other underutilized character attributes. For example. I loved how they played Bruce Wayne as a really fucking weird guy. Because of course he would be. This guys lives a pretty fucked up lifestyle, so he’s bound to be at little… off. It wasn’t over the top or anything like that, but this is not a normal dude and i thought it brought out something special in this version of Batman.


Bruce Wayne wasn’t the only character who went through some changes on Beware The Batman. Wherever Batman goes, so goes Alfred Pennyworth. There’s been a slow moving trend over the last 10 years or so, to change Alfred from an elderly butler into a slightly younger, badass in his own right, with a more active role in Bruce Wayne’s war on crime. This version leaned into Alfred’s history as a military combat vet/spy. Beware The Batman drew upon parts of the character seen in projects like the Epix TV series Pennyworth, the Batman: Earth One graphic novels, and arguably Jeremy Irons’ Alfred in the DCEU. In this animated series, Alfred was former MI-6 and his past catching up to him drives a surprising amount of the story throughout the season, but it works.


Batman may seem like a loner, but he surrounds himself with a lot of surrogate family. So when it came to figuring out who would be Batman‘s partner, the writers chose to buck the trend once again. Instead of Nightwing, Robin, or Batgirl, Batman‘s main partner in crime was Tatsu Yamashiro also known as Katana. Alfred brought her in as potential back up for Bruce. Tatsu was formally a member of both The League of Assassins (where she picked up the alias Katana) and MI-6, a formidable combination. Katana was also Alfred’s protege, Alfred having served with her father in MI-6. Alfred looked at Tatsu as a surrogate daughter. Which makes it almost poetic that he would call upon the woman he sees as a daughter, to help protect the man he sees as his son. Her presence in the story added a unique dynamic that wasn’t present in other animated Batman projects.

Beware The Batman also distinguished itself by not using any of the major Batman villains for the majority of the first and only season. Which I thought that was a really smart and cool way to go. You didn’t see villains like The Joker or The Penguin pop up immediately, which gave the show the opportunity to showcase lesser known villains. Batman has such a fucking incredible rogues gallery, you have to go real far down the list to find a character that is genuinely lame. Kite Man! Yes, there’s a Batman villain called Kite Man! Shockingly enough, in the right hands, even Kite Man is interesting.

So Instead of the usual suspects, Beware The Batman offers up villains like the horrifying Professor Pyg, or Magpie, a thief Bruce becomes infatuated with, or Simon Stagg, everyone’s favorite piece of dog shit industrialist. The overarcing villain for the series was Anarky, a white clad terrorist and madman with skills and fighting abilities dangerously close to Batman’s own.

The writers framed him as the polar opposite opposite of Batman. Anarky, the broken funhouse mirror version of The Dark Knight. Anarky adorned himself in white to Batman’s black, where Batman embraced order, Anarky embraced chaos. Watching Anarky and Batman playing an elaborate game of cat and mouse across the entire season, with Gotham City hanging in the balance, was a hell of a lot of fun.

But Anarky wasn’t the only Big Bad putting Batman to the test over this 26 episode series. The League of Assassins were present early on in the season, which gave Lady Shiva (another awesome, but under utilized Batman villain) some time to shine as the face of The League.

Until about halfway through the season when Ra’s Al Ghul himself enters the fray, menacingly played by The Wire’s Lance Reddick.

As the season went on, some other familiar faces began to pop up, like Killer Croc and Man- Bat. There was also a fair amount of set up dedicated to stories that would have played out had their been second season.

Harvey Dent was introduced in the final few episodes and had already suffered his infamous facial scarring by the end of the season. Presumably setting up Two-Face as the Big Bad for Season 2.

It really is a shame that we never got to see more of this show because the season ended with a cool mystery involving Deathstroke and Alfred’s past once again coming back to haunt him and the people he loves. I would’ve loved to have seen how these writers would’ve interpreted some of Batman’s other classic villains.

The animation style can be a little jarring at first, but it works once you get used to it. I really loved how the shine and texture of The Bat-Suit makes it looks like it’s made out of the same material as the Michael Keaton Batman suit‘s, but has the flexibility and range of motion of a much lighter material. The CGI animation also allows for some choreographed fight scenes that wouldn’t be possible in 2-D animation.


As I wrap it up here, I’ll also add that the show doesn’t really hit it’s stride until Episode 6 “Toxic“. That’s not to say that the first 5 episodes are bad by any means, but Episode 6 was really the one that clicked for me and made me begin to fall in love with the show. So if you plan on giving this series a try, make sure you give the show until at least Episode 6 “Toxic”, it only gets better from there. Honestly, you could probably go straight to Episode 6 without missing that much. Then once you’re really into the show, you can always go back and watch those first 5 episodes.
Beware The Batman: The Complete Series is available to watch on HBO Max, iTunes, and Blu-Ray. If you a fan of superhero animation, I highly recommend you check out this unique hidden gem.

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. We’re on Instagram @worldsbestmedia2017. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!


-Paul

MUST READ: Batman/Catwoman

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

  From the very beginning of World’s Best Media, one of my missions has been to show people how cool comic books are and why they’re such an incredible way to tell stories (and maybe, just maybe, get some folks to give comics a try). It’s been a little while since I’ve done a deep dive into a comic book series or graphic novel, but a fantastic new series inspired me to take you guys on another journey into weird and wonderful world of comics. Let’s do it!

   The book we’re taking a look at, is Batman/Catwoman. One of DC’s flagship Batman books. In my opinion, it’s also one of the best mainstream superhero book being published at either of “The Big Two” right now (otherwise known as DC and Marvel).  This is all due to the incredible talent of writer Tom King and artist Clay Mann. These are two of DC’s best creators operating at the top of their game (and it shows).

  As a longtime comic book fan, the stories and characters are what draw me in. A book can have the most beautiful art in the world, but it doesn’t mount up to a whole lot without a great story at it’s core. The last thing I want to do is minimize the incredible achievements of the artists working in the comic book industry. Most people don’t understand how important and difficult the work of a comic book artist really is. They’re not just drawing images on a page, they’re performing the characters, they’re directing the story. It’s one thing to draw beautiful images, but to be a great comic book artist, you also have to a great storyteller.

    As much as I respect comic book artists, it’s always the writer that will draw me to a particular book. Whenever a writer like Scott Snyder, Grant Morrison, or Neil Gaiman has a new comic coming out, it’s a guaranteed that I’m going to check it out regardless of the artist. Hell, some of my favorite writers have built up enough trust and good will, that I don’t even need to know what their latest book is about to give it a read. There are a lot of great comic book artists, but very few that would make me go out and buy a comic solely because they’re working on it.

    This is a long winded way of me saying that artist Clay Mann’s work on Batman/Catwoman is nothing short of astonishing. I’ve been following his work for a while on Batman and Heroes In Crisis. However his work has just taken a massive leap forward with Batman/Catwoman. I don’t think I’ve been more impressed with an artists work in a long time. Mann’s work reminds me of Jim Lee or Tony Daniel, with its crisp detailed lines. It’s widely considered that Jim Lee drew the definitive modern Batman during his Hush story line. Jim Lee’s Batman from Hush is  pretty much the basis for all modern versions of the character since. Now, Clay Mann has drawn the definitive modern Catwoman with this book and if things keep going the way they are, he may take the title away from Jim Lee for the definitive modern Batman as well.

 It’s not just the art that makes this book so phenomenal. Batman: Mask of The Phantasm is arguably one of, if not THE best Batman film ever made. Unlike so many other Batman Films, even the great ones, Bruce Wayne is front and center in this story. Bruce Wayne is the most interesting character in any Batman story and most filmmakers get caught up in his flashy rogues gallery at the expense of exploring Batman himself. When I was a kid The Phantasm scared the shit out of me with its creepy look and unstoppable mission of vengeance. The Phantasm was an original character created by the people who made that film. Batman/Catwoman is a quasi-sequel to Batman: Mask of The Phatasm, making the character and the events of the film canon in DC lore. 

This comic is really a continuation of the story that writer Tom King first began in his excellent run on the main Batman series. The question at the heart of the story was: Can Batman be happy? And If the answer if yes, can a happy Batman still be Batman? Can a Bruce Wayne who’s found some measure of peace still be The Dark Knight that Gotham City, and the world, needs? I thought it was a fantastic idea for a Batman story. It has so much potential and in the long history of the character it’s isn’t something that had been explored before. Also, let’s not forget that just because Bruce has found a woman who truly loves and understands him doesn’t mean he’s going start going on Costco runs. Their marriage consists of Selena joining Batman on cases and nightly patrols just like Nightwing or Robin would except after they go home and fuck each other‘s brains out (come to think of it, who’s to say that didn’t happen with Nightwing a few times? After all, Master Dick looks damn good in a lm skin tight leotard!). King explored this idea through Bruce’s growing romance with Selina Kyle. After years of hook ups and on again off again romances, Bruce and Selena finally get serious. They get engaged, and eventually, after some drama including Selena leaving bruise standing at the aisle during their first wedding attempt, things worked out and now they live as husband and wife. Living together in Wayne Manor.

Out of all the incredibly fascinating characters that populates Batman’s world, I was never particularly interested in Catwoman. I love Michelle Pfeiffer as the character in Batman Returns, but other than that, I was fairly ambivalent about Catwoman in general. It wasn’t until Tom King’s Batman run and Batman/Catwoman, that I started to really like her. Batman and Catwoman have had an off and on romance for years, one of their more notable attempts at a real relationship took place in the classic Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee story, “Hush”. Batman and Catwoman getting married may seem like another gimmick like the death or resurrection of a hero, but it makes perfect sense for the characters. So many storytelling possibilities open up. Catwoman is a character who lives in the gray, so what is it like being married to a man who only sees things in black-and-white? The story puts Selena in morally compromising situations in some really imaginative ways

This story is essentially a quasi-sequel to The Mask of Phantasm. Which is really cool because The Phantasm was an original character created for that film, so her inclusion here officially brings her into the main canon of DCU. But this is a Batman story after all, and if Andrea Beaumont has returned to Gotham City, you can be sure that she’s there for blood.

The story takes place simultaneously over three different time periods. The present, the past when Bruce and Selena we’re still more of an occasional romantic tryst than the serious couple and life partners that they’ve become, and decades into the future where Bruce has recently passed away. Leaving behind his beloved wife Selina and their beautiful daughter Helena. With Bruce gone the elderly Selina finally feels free to settle a vicious vendetta with The Joker. Specially for something that occurred years before with Andrea Beaumont, during the case involving The Phantasm that Batman and Catwoman are taking on in the present. Complicating matters in the future is Helena Wayne, who’s continuing the family business as Batwoman. She also seems to have inherited her father’s naive sense of absolute justice. Bringing the story full circle showing Selina keeping secrets about her morally questionable choices from the two most people in her life, Bruce in the past and her daughter Helena in the future.

  Which brings me back to Clay Mann’s beautiful artwork. I love his design for Helena Wayne, the daughter of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle, the Batwoman of the future. Both in and out of costume, Helena is of course her mother and father‘s daughter. A Gorgeous, stunning young woman while having dinner with her mother in Wayne Manor and looking all kinds of cool and bad ass in her new Batwoman suit. Which looks like a combination of the Batman Beyond suit and the modern version of Catwoman’s costume Mann has designed for this series. 

This series is a great jumping on point for new readers because you only need to have seen the movie Batman: Mask of The Phantasm. If you’re looking for a fantastic superhero story with fantastic art, writing, and characters, then you can’t go wrong with Batman/Catwoman.

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. We’re on Instagram @worldsbestmedia2017. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!

-Paul

Batman: The Animated Series (Short Film) – “The Chase”

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

  I came across this video today as I was looking through YouTube today, and I realized that many of you may not have ever seen this cool animated short (or even knew it existed). Back in 2013 the amazing folks behind Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited, released this short animated film called “Chase Me”. It’s a fun, quick little story about Batman trying to catch Catwoman after a minor heist she’s pulled off. But the whole chase is really a metaphor for the romance and attraction that’s at the heart off their relationship. There’s always the folks behind Batman: The Animated Series understand what makes The Dark Knight tick, better than most. If you haven’t seen “Chase Me” before, you can check it out right here and if you have seen, any excuse to dive back into the world Batman: The Animated Series, is well worth your time. Watch it here:


What did you all think of this short film? Let me know in the comments below!

Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. 

-Paul

NEW COLUMN SERIES: Paul’s Picks!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…


For a few weeks now I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a semi-regular article about some of the coolest graphic novels, Blu-rays, books, and more to come on the market that genre fans like myself and my readers would be interested in checking out. These are all products that I’ve personally purchased and can vouch for their quality. I buy stuff like this all the time and I thought it could be a fun way for me to share with my readers some of the cool stuff available (which I throw away my hard earned money for) that they might also want to check out themselves. So if you guys dig this new article, please let me know in the comments or on social media and maybe we’ll start making Paul’s Picks a semi-regular thing. So let’s get into it!

Batman Beyond: The Complete Series Special Edition Blu-Ray

  This is one I pre-ordered months ago and just recently came out. This is the 20th anniversary of Batman Beyond, the classic animated series follow up to the equally classic Batman: The Animated Series. In addition to all three seasons of the show, the excellent sequel movie, Batman Beyond: Return of The Joker is included in the set, as well. The transfer is beautiful. It has someone some great special features. It even includes an exclusive Batman Beyond Funko Pop toy. This is a MUST BUY for Superhero fans, Batman fans, and fans of great fucking shows in general. You can get it for a steal right here at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Batman-Beyond-Complete-Limited-Blu-ray/dp/B07TLPBC7J/ref=sr_1_2?crid=2E7GRAMVYFVWL&keywords=batman+beyond+complete+series&qid=1573696267&sprefix=Batman+%2Caps%2C530&sr=8-2

Each set comes with 5 lithographs



The Art of Game Of Thrones

  I absolutely love “Art of…” books. I love seeing how so much of the creative process takes shape over time. Especially in genre storytelling, you get to see different versions of how some of film and television’s most iconic characters or locations could have looked at various stages of planning. It’s like looking in at an alternate earth’s version of your favorite movies. The very best “Art of…” books really spark your imagination and make you wonder what might have been. You get to see some of your favorite stories rendered beautifully by some incredibly gifted artists.Regardless of how you felt about the show’s final season, from across The Narrow Sea to Beyond The Wall, this is a beautiful and comprehensive book. It features locations, characters, battle designs, and so much more. I was really looking forward to this one. I had high hopes for this book and I wasn’t disappointed. You can find it here on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Art-Game-Thrones-Insight-Editions/dp/1683835336/ref=sr_1_1?crid=142XJ4INWO4NS&keywords=the+art+of+game+of+thrones&qid=1573701366&sprefix=The+Art+of+ga%2Caps%2C136&sr=8-1


Batman by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo Omnibus Vol.1

When they began their partnership with Batman #1 during DC’s New 52 initiative, not many would’ve predicted that Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo would go on to become one of the all time great writer/artist teams in the history of comics. Least of all Snyder and Capullo themselves. In fact the duo disliked one another so much at the beginning of their partnership that Snyder demanded to DC that one of them be taken off the book. Luckily cooler heads prevailed and after working together for a few issues, they fell into a groove. Now the duo with the rough start consider one another best friends, even brothers. It shows in their work because their run on Batman is one of the best in the character’s long history. This collection includes issues #0-33, starting stories like the now famous Court of Owls and ending with the epic Zero Year. This is also where the writer/artist team also began their unsettling work on The Joker, with the chilling horror tale Death of The Family, included in this volume. Snyder and Capullo add new and exciting elements to The Caped Crusader’s mythology, while reinvigorating iconic characters and offerings a fresh and insightful look into the mind of Bruce Wayne. The volume isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s worth every penny. This volume is an example of what the very best Batman stories are all about. Batman by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo Omnibus is The Dark Knight and his world at it’s very best. This comic book collection get my highest recommendation. You can find it on Amazon right here (*Make sure you check the alternate sellers under more buying options for cheaper prices on this product): https://www.amazon.com/Batman-Scott-Snyder-Capullo-Omnibus/dp/1401298842/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2EO5JZS7JTJR2&keywords=batman+by+snyder+%26+capullo+omnibus&qid=1573698863&sprefix=Batman+by+sny%2Cmovies-tv%2C452&sr=8-1

*When you comes to shopping on Amazon, I always recommend checking out the new and used alternate sellers, listed under Amazon’s price on every product page. Often you can find new, or next to brand new, versions of the item you’re looking for, well below the listed Amazon price.

TRAILER: Justice League VS The Fatal Five!

SHey Everyone,

Paul here…

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The Fatal Five. This movie’s Big Bads.

You all know how much I love the MCU, but I think my favorite cinematic universe could be the what I’m going to call The Batman The Animated Series/Bruce Timm Universe. This Universe includes all time classics like Batman The Animated Series, Superman TheAnimated series, Batman Beyond, Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited. Bruce Timm having essentially created this shared universe, is the reason his name is a part of the universe’s title. I love both of these universes so much, it would be really hard to pick which of them I hold more dear.

FE5347A8-9147-4EFF-9B67-565B7D699C66   Honestly you’d have to have a gun to my head and a gun to gun my balls, with the gunman screaming in my face, “CHOOSE! NOW! PICK ONE! CHOOSE! I’M NOT FUCKING AROUND! DECIDE! YOU HAVE TO THE COUNT OF 3! THEN I’M GOING TO SHOOT YOU IN THE BALLS AND SHORTLY AFTER THAT, SHOOT YOU IN THE HEAD!CHOOSE! 3… ,2… ,1..!” Then I guess we’d have our answer. But until that day comes, I guess I’ll just have to keepthem both very special in my heart.

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 Which is why I wanted to share this trailer with you guys today. I’m a big fan of the animated movies that DC releases directly to Blu-ray and digital three or four times every year. Some of them are fucking spectacular and are probably some of my favorite comic book movies of all time. The movie I was most looking forward to this year is their adaptation of Batman: Hush, hitting later this year, in early or mid summer. However, while Hush is still my most anticipated DC animated film this year, after watching the trailer below, (which debuted on ign.com) Justice League VS The Fatal Five has my attention in a big, bad way. Check out the trailer below:

It appears, from the animation style, to the voice cast, to the people working on the film behind the scenes, that the movie takes place in The Batman The Animated Series/Bruce Timm Universe.  Last year they released a film called Batman & Harley Quinn that also seemed to take place in what I call the Batman The Animated Series/Bruce Timm Universe, but that movie was pretty shitty. While this one looks really great. It’s awesome to hear the original voice cast from these classic TV shows (I love hearing Kevin Conroy as Batman and George Newbern as Superman), in what looks like an extension of this classic universe, but with some new faces as well. New heroes including Ms. Martian, Mr. Terrific (2 of my personal favorites), Jessica Cruz Green Lantern, and Starman. I love see DC’s Trinity (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman), alongside new and unique heroes.

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It looks like this is the next DC animated movie that’s coming out this year and they usually release their second film around March or April, with the summer release reserved for the third film. However this year they are releasing a fourth films, one of which will focus on Wonder Woman, so we may end up seeing Justice League VS The Fatal Five sooner than we think. I’m sure a release date will be announced soon. I wasn’t super interested in this project  at first, but after watching the trailer, I’m psyched.  I thought it looked great and I wanted to share it with all of you. Please let me know what you think in the comments below and thank you for reading!

 UPDATE: Justice League VS The Fatal Five will be available for Digital Download on 3/30/19 and Blu-Ray 4/16/19! I

-Paul

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