Batman Beyond – animated series (1999)
This is one of my favorite animated series of all time. I watched it faithfully in 1999 – 2002, when it aired on Cartoon Network regularly and although it was modern and somewhat futuristic, it reminded me of when I was young watching the Spiderman cartoon series on TV. It’s drawn with crisp sharp lines and deep noir shadows, a deliberate gothic look in a futuristic superhero series. It’s storylines contain depth in plot and character. I don’t know if kids or young teens liked it, but I certainly did, and was glad to see all 62 episodes of the series offered on Netflix streaming. The main theme music is futuristic industrial/techno which I had downloaded many years ago to add to my play-lists. The backing soundtrack includes hard cutting-edge guitar rhythms and electronic drum and keys whipping out pulsating grooves.
The series begins with an aging Batman rescuing a young woman hostage and nearly having a massive heart attack in the process. He hangs up his Bat-Suit vowing to never go out again in it. He was admitting defeat to old age. We pick up 20 years later. Bruce Wayne is retired from Wayne industries and soon discovers his partner, Mr. Powers, and the company he had started, is now dealing in underground bacterial weaponry and selling to terrorist organizations.
We then follow the dealings of Terry McGinnis, a high school wrestler with a take no BS attitude. He has a run-in with a local gang called The Jokers and escapes into the mountain roads of Wayne’s mansion estate. Although at odds in the beginning, Wayne just wants everyone off his property and to be left alone, it isn’t long before the two form an alliance. It seems Terry’s father worked for Wayne-Powers industries and was killed for knowing too much about the shady dealings. With the help of Bruce and his most modern Batman suit, Terry avenges his father’s death and stops the shipment of a very powerful bacterial weapon from leaving the plant. He contaminates the plant grounds in the process presumably halting any future shipments. Of course, that storyline is not over and will come back in later episodes of the series.
With the alliance made, we are treated to a grumpy old Bruce Wayne barking orders to his young protégé’, Terry McGinnis, who is dealing with the usual teenage problems and fighting crime into the deep hours of the night. They make for a dynamic odd couple, often bickering through the suit’s headset about how best to tackle the problem at hand. If you like a dark superhero storyline that is well-written and finely crafted animation, you might want to check this out. I think it’s top notch, high quality and very much worth watching.