So after thirteen action packed episodes we’ve come to the end of the first season of “Batman Beyond” and with season 2 promising to see the return of certain major villains, splicers and even further development from the jokerz, let finding out how the devious Paxton Powers will play into events in Neo-Gotham. Still for the concept of a futuristic Batman, an idea which could have easily have been written off as a gimmick, the show really has carved out for itself with this first season a place in the DC Animated universe, while its ongoing comic series has ensured that the character has continued to remain very much part of the DC Universe.
One of the key aspects in making this first season work has really been down to the mentor relationship which we have seen develop between Bruce and Terry, as well as Terry’s development of skills he requires to be the Batman. At the same time Terry’s cocksure attitude brings with it a different approach to the role, even despite Terry and Bruce being inspired to take on the mantle of the bat because of the death of a parent. It has also been interesting seeing Bruce as a bitter recluse rather than playing the billionaire playboy we were used to seeing him as and as I’ve noted in previous reviews it very much has the feeling of his darker side at this point having taken over his personality. A point only further reinforced by when he is first reintroduced in the series being shown alone apart from his faithful hound Ace, with his allies having along since fallen out with him or dead.
I have been especially happy to see the show runners not just trying to rehash Batman stories and characters with a futuristic setting and while comparisons can certainly be drawn in terms of abilities, the uniqueness of these new rouges has been largely high, At the same time when a classic villain has been returned to the series, it has always been used well and not rested on their established history within the Batman franchise as seen with the standout return of “Mr. Freeze” whose attempts to make up for past crimes made his episode showing as more of a tragic figures and ultimately more interesting than if he just returned to his usual antics.
While largely it has been a successful debut season for the show, there has been several misteps along the way, with one of the major ones being the failure to establish a strong key major villain which could have been established with Powers, but due to him pulling a double act in trying to constantly disguise his Blight alter ego and the show runners never seemingly being able to decide if Powers would submit to becoming Blight full time only hindered things further. Ideally Powers would have worked best had he been used in more of a puppet master role which he frequently is seen as playing throughout the season, only for the show runners to constantly try and have him play both the role of a super powered villain and that of a criminal puppet master. The fact that his exit is so unconfirmed only further seems to emphasise that they never knew what to do with him. The introduction of his son Paxton who essentially a carbon copy only with a more devious edge meaning that they can finally now have the character that they always wanted with the minimum amount of fuss and one that you look forward to only growing darker and more evil with season 2.
Ultimately this was a great debut season and one which not only introduced a new era for the Batman franchise, but gives us an interesting new direction let alone a host of new villains, while still retaining the core values and ideals for the franchise, while leaving me eagerly wanting to move onto the second season.