The last thirteen episodes of Batman Beyond has come to DVD, giving us the entire series on DVD. Along with some crucial episodes and a nice helping of extras to round out the set, this is a collection definitely worth picking up.
I’ll try not to go off-topic with this review like I did in my Justice League Unlimited: Season Two review. Because, yes, I easily could. If I wanted to get nit-picky, I’d ask why wasn’t the The Zeta Project episode “Shadows” included, since Batman appears? Or why wasn’t there some featurette on his short-lived comic book and assorted four color appearances? Simple. There’s no point to. This set is about the last thirteen episodes on this collection. On these two discs. And, to play it safe, I’ll just skip right to the synopsis, okay? I think I’m digging myself a hole, here . . .
Rage and revenge first motivated Terry McGinnis to steal Bruce Wayne’s high-tech Batsuit. A greater purpose and a sense of justice kept him wearing it. For two years he patrolled streets and skies of Gotham City with Bruce as his guide, but in these final 13 adventures from the Emmy-Winning TV series, Gotham’s greatest defender soars as the true hero he is! Though the power-hungry plans of criminals like Inque, The Royal Flush Gang and the Kobras grow more villainous with each attempt, Terry wipes them out. His heroism doesn’t go unnoticed: Superman invites him to join the Justice League. But after years of thinking he had nothing in common with the original Batman, Terry realizes he’s just the man for the job.
I’m not sure where exactly to rank this season. It’s not as good as the first season, and, like season two, has both some real stand-outs and a couple clunkers. Most of the fans will be drawn to this set specifically for “Out of the Past” and the two-part “The Call” episode, and no one can blame them. “Out of the Past” is a solid episode and “The Call” is great as well, save for a couple faults here and there. There are a few generic episodes, like “Speak No Evil” and “Untouchable,” but overall it’s a great caper to the series. It’s the first time any of these episodes have been fully presented on DVD, it’s great to see them all here.
Oddly enough, I found myself more excited about this release than Justice League Unlimited: Season Two. Those Justice League episodes are still fresh in my mind, since some aired less than a year ago. But these episodes? I haven’t seen these in almost five years, and I’m surprised to see just how well they held up. The animation is strong and the stories, for the most part, are just as solid. It was around this time when the show finally got a grip on the computer coloring, finding just the right tint and shade. Some of the earlier computer-colored episodes suffered from being way too bright, but they look just solid here.
It’s a no-brainer that if you’re a DCAU fan, or a Batman fan, you’ll want this collection. It’s the official future of the DCAU (despite many believing otherwise), and it’s a great look into what’s to come for Batman. I find it to be a suitable continuation of the Batman character, completely in character and totally engaging. It’s amazing to see how the creative team behind the show managed to make such a great series out of what was essentially a show built to create new toys (and boy, those were some ugly, ugly toys). They really made this show into something, and it has the fan-following to prove it.
And the final thirteen episodes are given a grand farewell. The audio and video in this release is on par, showing the usual amount of interlacing and great audio. The colors look deep and dark, and the sound is loud and thunderous.In short, it looks and sounds great. And, as usual, no chapter stops. I don’t mind, though others are apparently very angry over that.
Much like Justice League Unlimited: Season Two, this is the first box-set release of Batman Beyond to not have any commentary tracks. Instead, that feature is replaced with a “Close-Up” look on a handful of episodes. Fan favorites like “Out of the Past” and “The Call” two-parter are looked at, as well as “The Curse of the Kobra, Part 1.” Much like the commentary tracks, they talk about what they liked and disliked about each, as well as providing some interesting tidbits about the show itself. This feature also contains my favorite moment yet in the DC DVDs extra between Will Friedle and Bruce Timm. I won’t spoil what it is, but it’s just hilarious. It’s a great extra (and Bruce and I actually agree on a couple of “The Call”’s main problems), and it’s always enjoyable to see the creative team just dish it out.
The other extra is a short featurette about the whole season in general. These are always just too short for my liking, and I’m always left wanting more.
The packaging is great, I find. The foil look just makes the set really pop, and I love the slim look (also shared with Justice League Unlimited: Season Two and Batman Beyond: Season One). If I had any complaints, it’s the cover art. It looks fine, but the image of Batman is a slight tweak or two away from being perfect. That’s my only real complaint (if it’s even a valid one) of the packaging.
Overall, a great collection! The episodes are a blast to revisit, even the weaker ones. The audio and video is on par with past releases and the new approach to the extras is handled well. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen these episodes, and I love that I get the chance to see them again. With almost every episode full of great one-liners (“And you hit like a girl.”) and some stunning animation, it’s a collection that’s easy to recommend. The show is a true testament to the creative power behind the show’s team. They’re not perfect, and not each episode is a winner, but every single one is watchable and enjoyable. Toss in some fine extras, and Batman Beyond: Season Three is easy to Recommend.