REVIEW: Beware The Batman "Tests" - Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, everything becomes chaos

Beware The Batman S1 Ep03-"Tests" Directed By Sam Liu Written By Jim Krieg

I'm an Agent of Chaos

Anarky is set up as Batman’s first real recurring villain for Beware The Batman. Another less than known Batman rogue that has once again been translated into something possibly interesting. I say possibly because Anarky is basically a campy version of The Joker as played by Heath Ledger. Wrap your head around that one. Imagine Joker’s anarchistic screed but from more dramatic angles. Whenever Anarky is on screen he is shot with some extreme angle or close up. Making Anarky’s terrorist and political orientation far more palatable. Wallace Langham’s high pitch also disarms his character, he doesn't sound funny but he doesn't sound scary. It’s misdirection if you look at what he does and says and not how he says it you get two different pictures of the character.

He wants to play a game of wits with Batman, who he thinks is finally a worthy opponent. Manipulating two pawns, Daedalus “Doodlebug” Boch and Trucker “Junkyard Dog Long, into being a nuisance for Batman. These two are an odd bunch. They start off being your run of the mill taggers but once they are under Anarky’s patronage they upgrade to destruction. Daedalus was all about his tagging skills, why give him a laser rifle thing. He does at least get a destructive way to tag with acid later on.

Beware The Batman is straddling a hard line between Saturday morning fun but keep in the tradition of Batman: The Animated Series and other darker interpretation of the character. These two concepts don’t mix as well as they did last week. Look at the finale, which is basically a riff on the end of The Dark Knight. Anarky has rigged two gondolas to blow as soon as they pass one another. Giving Batman the chance to save one and backing him into a corner with a dead man's switch. This should have been a tense sequence. It was not. Things go wrong when the finale just happens. The showrunners have talked about wanting to emphasise the detective side of the Dark Knight, which was in prior episodes. Here Batman just shows up after playing a game of misdirection. To the sequence itself. there was barely any cuts to the gondolas which didn’t allow for any tension or sense of danger for the passengers. Batman saves the day by using his brains, of course he was it was never in doubt. Saving the day just didn’t feel momentus at all. The imagery of the electricity being funneled to the top was dramatic but at that point I had lost interest.

The testing of Tatsu Yamashiro continues to be handled well. She gets so close to finding out Bruce Waynes secrete only to choose the wrong button. This is how you tease a character along. She discovered the secret elevator and is shown to be physically capable. Her only failing was she chose the wrong floor to get off on. Tatsu looks smart but still doesn't have the entire picture.

The Bits At The End

  • White doesn't symbolize anarchy. Black does.

  • YAY Katana appears to have the sword Soultaker!

  • Alfred with that claw technique when working the dual analog sticks.

Michael Mazzacane can be found many places on the internet mainly onTwitter @MaZZM and at mazzz.net

14 Comments
14 Comments
Posted by Jayc1324

The only thing I don't like about this show is katana for two reasons. Bruce needing a bodyguard is silly. He's batman. He's does not need a bodyguard or anyone to protect him including Alfred no matter how skilled they are. Second reason is that it feels wrong to have someone that isn't a robin or batgirl in wayne manor all the time, just sneaking around. I've always thought of Bruce as a secretive guy that wouldn't want some lady walking around his house. It's weird

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Posted by MrMazz

@jayc1324: But Bruce Wayne isn't Batman. The public image of Bruce Wayne is billionaire-playboy-philanthropist, he most definatly needs a bodyguard. Yea it's weird not having a Robin or Batgirl around but Katana was also part of The Outsiders so she has a connection and for someone who is kind of tired of Batman centric animated TV shows it's an novel riff on the formula. I belive it was co-showrunner Glen Murakami who said Barbra is going to be suiting up eventually.

Edited by Jayc1324

@mrmazz: I get what you're saying now about Bruce needing a bodyguard but I still dont like her around the house all the time. I didn't know she was part of the outsiders. Can't wait to see batgirl and possibly robin

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Posted by MasterDetective

"Anarky is set up as Batman’s first real recurring villain"

So Professor Pyg isn't going to be a recuring villain? and I don't like Anarky as a recuring villain...

Edited by Breadspread

I liked the action between Batman and Anarky. Anarky's flash bangs were pretty cool. I like how Katana is starting to put more together. Overall I'd say I enjoyed this episode, but...

The two thugs' story was lame as hell! The street artists vs the art galleries... I get how it relates to the idea of anarchy but they probably could have come up with better anarchists than street artists.

The speech Anarky made to Batman sounded a lot like a Joker speech.

Anarky's new look is lame. Bring back the red cloak and gold mask.

Posted by batmannflash

Here's what I think:

Right off the bat, the art thugs are stupid. Why would Anarky choose these inadequate talent less street thugs? Besides that, Anarky is an intriguing villain. I personally didn't like him as much as Magpie, though. He seems a little too much like the Joker in the things that he says.

Katana is starting to impress me and she could be a great sidekick. I'll still rather see the Bat family but we're stuck with her, and I'm okay with that! I've said this many times but I'll say it again: this Batman is extremely impressive with his intellect. Probably the smartest Batman outside of comics (besides DCAU, although he has the potential to pass that one too).

One thing I didn't realize the past two episodes is that music is fantastic. It's no Shirley Walker, but I could definitely see much listening to the soundtrack if there ever is one.

I'm not still not used to the character designs, though...

I gave episode 1 a 6.5/10, episode 2 am 8/10. I give episode 3, "Tests" an 8.5/10! I am satisfied with this show, but it still has much to do if it wants to be in the top tier of superhero cartoons.

Posted by MasterDetective

Looks like every villain in this show has a black belt in karate....

Edited by TenEyedMen

Looks like every villain in this show has a black belt in karate....

Anarky could barely fight, though.

Which actually fits with a theory of mine regarding him...

Posted by MrMazz

@masterdetective: I'm sure Prof. Pyg and Mr. Toad will show up again for another one off episode but with Anarky getting away and the fact we spent a lot of time with him indicates that he is going to be the Big Bad of the season.

Posted by Breadspread

@teneyedmen: care to share your theory regarding Anarky?

Edited by TenEyedMen

@breadspread said:

@teneyedmen: care to share your theory regarding Anarky?

That he's a teenager with a special suit that makes him look older than what he really is.

He can't fight much because of it, so he depends on getaways and smoke bombs to fend off Batman.

Posted by Breadspread

@teneyedmen: oh snap! I thought that's what you might be on to. That would be cool. I'll have to watch the episode again and watch the fight scenes a bit closer.

Posted by batshrine
@mrmazz said:

The Bits At The End

You had great things to say in your review, this is the one thing that I have issue with. What in the color black is so inherently anarchic? And what in the color white, makes it represent white? The only way I could follow your train of thought is that white means good, and black means bad. And I think our friend the Batman challenges that notion. In fact that idea can lead to very racist beliefs. Not that I am calling you that, but think about the implications of what was said in that simple notion.

In fact, Black is the absence of light, it is nothing. How can nothing be chaotic? Obviously I could make an argument for why white is also a symbol of anarchy. I can do so with red, blue, green, etc. My point being is there is no exclusivity to symbolism.

Besides that I would say this was the weakest of all 3 episodes simply because of how much Anarchy sucked as a primary antagonist. And although I found Tatsu's subplot to be WAY more interesting, it was also not believable at all compared to the previous episode. I mean if I was her, and I got attacked like that in a "workout room" I would, want answers. That is no way anyone, especially a billionaire, works out. And even if that was supposed to be a clue, there was no fines and it was definitely not subtle.

Here are my ratings:

Episode 1: 7/10

Episode 2: 9/10

Episode 3: 6.5/10

Still a good show, but I know it can do better.

Edited by MrMazz

@batshrine: Well if you had clicked on the link i embedded, which it dosen't seem like you did hence my reply.

The majority of anarchist symbols are black, for a couple reasons one of which being the white flag is a sign of surrendor while the black flag (like the band) is about the lack of a flag. It all goes back to how anarchist want to bring about a world without the nation state and their flags. From there you can infer that the majority of all black symbols within anarchisim is about the lack of something. Anarchy in the political sense, dosen't mean chaos just that there is a loose/free association of men who come together and form contracts as they please and use societal norms as enforcement of order due to the lack of a true nation state in their idea of utopia. Which is why I say black represents anarchy (which is also why Millers Regan era facisim screed in Dark Knight Returns actually works even if it is kinda awful).

In the end though the white and black dynamic set up is just there to further the chess metaphor that was made earlier in the episode. Can't have Batman be white all of a sudden so Anarky had to be White, on top of the whole part about all Red just not looking very good with the color pallet of the show.