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Old July 20 2013, 05:08 PM   #417
Christopher's Avatar
Re: "Beware the Batman" in 2013! New Animated Series

Okay, I am really a fan of this show now. "Secrets" was very impressive. It felt very much like B:TAS in the darkness of the premise and the psychological nuance and sympathetic qualities of the villain, but also added some good character development and exploration for the leads in the more incremental style of modern serialized storytelling.

There was some surprisingly dark and violent content here. Magpie falling hard on that car and having to heal from the impact, even kept largely offscreen and having no consequences to her, seemed surprisingly intense. And the implication that Batman had inflicted that Lunkhead character's brain damage by putting him in a coma -- that's disturbing. That makes for one hardcore Batman, and it justifies why this show's Gordon isn't a fan of Batman's methods. Maybe the series will involve Batman learning to ameliorate his methods as his relationship with Gordon grows -- similarly to how the arc of Arrow is about Oliver starting as a vengeance-driven vigilante and moving toward a more heroic role. In any case, I really liked Gordon here, and it'll be cool to see how his interaction with Batman develops.

And I called it -- despite what Tara Strong said in her "tweet," she appeared as Barbara, not Batgirl. It's a young-ish Barbara, evidently highschool-age, and there's no indication that she's a closet superhero yet, but she's definitely a Bat-fangirl. And having Gordon distrust Batman rather than embracing him makes for an interesting contrast there.

I liked how Batman was so driven to fight crime that he even made a point of stopping a couple of petty vandals -- and how that distracted him enough to let Magpie get the drop on him. Along with his line "Who says this is a costume?", it suggests that maybe this Batman is a little more obsessive about his mission than he should be -- and that maybe Katana's role as his eventual partner will involve grounding and moderating him somewhat. She certainly comes off as no-nonsense enough to do the job, although she's kind of aggressive herself.

I like the bits showing how keen Bruce's deductive skills are; it's a bit of a risk revealing he has those skills as Bruce, but it's well-justified as a quality a businessman needs. As for the actual mystery here, it wasn't that hard to figure out that Ravencroft was the red herring and Cassie was really Magpie -- although I gave it away for myself by checking the credits on Wikipedia during the first commercial. That told me that Magpie was Grey DeLisle and Ravencroft was Cree Summer. I certainly would've recognized Summer's voice on my own, but DeLisle made Magpie sound Summer-ish enough that I might've been unsure who she was if I hadn't read the credits.

My main problem is that I feel Magpie was rather too sexualized in her design. ComicsAlliance has recently posted a couple of galleries of character designer Shane Glines's other artwork, and it seems to me that he really goes overboard on the cheesecake and sexualization of female characters. He's avoided that with Katana, but Magpie was just a little too far into fetish territory. It's hard to believe that costume would stay on through all the big fight moves she does, and her look distracted too much from her character story. It's a pervasive problem in modern comics, which are targeted at the male gaze to a degree that often alienates female readers (and viewers).

Aside from that -- and from the continuing issue of the sparsely populated CG Gotham -- I'm really loving this show.

Pavonis wrote: View Post
I have no idea if this depiction is anything like the comics' Magpie, and don't really care, either. I liked her.
She's very different. The comics' Magpie was Margaret Pye, and she was a jewel thief who targeted jewels named after birds. She was a museum curator driven mad by being close to so many pretty things she couldn't own. She was a minor character known mainly for her very '80s punk look, and her main claim to fame was being the first villain that Superman and Batman fought together in the post-Crisis continuity (in John Byrne's Man of Steel #3).

More on her and other BtB villains here:

I like the reinvention here -- she's still defined as a character who's driven to possess something, but it's not just shiny jewels, it's her stolen memories and identity, making it much more poignant. Although changing her name to Margaret Sorrow was just too on the nose.
Written Worlds -- Christopher L. Bennett's blog and webpage

Last edited by Christopher; July 20 2013 at 05:18 PM.
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