Lately there has been a lot of talk about a possible Batman Beyond animated movie in the works at Warner Brothers. Not sure if these are rumours, or actual fact, and frankly I don’t care. Just having Batman Beyond in the news brings a smile to my face.
This might be an unpopular opinion, but I don’t like Batman as much as people think. While Bruce Wayne/Batman is a great character handled with perfection in the DC Animated Universe, in comics and movies…I just can’t find a Batman I like. Except Hush, that run of comics was amazing.
Terry McGinnis on the other hand, well he is a better Batman than Bruce Wayne could ever be.
As I said, it’s unpopular, and those outside of the animated series Batman Beyond, wouldn’t really know who Terry McGinnis is.
It’s time for a minor refresher course.
Back in the 1990s, Batman the Animated Series was a very big thing. Everyone was watching it, Kevin Conroy became the voice of Batman for so many people, and after running for many years, having movies and spin off shows starring Superman, it was eventually decided to aim a Batman series at kids. The big wigs at Warner Bros wanted a kid focused Batman series to get the young ones involved, and the creators behind the Animated Series universe settled on a teenager Batman set in the future.
Fun fact: In Australia, Batman Beyond was actually known as, Batman of the Future.
Kevin Conroy was back as an aged Bruce Wayne and a younger Batman was introduced to the audience as, Terry McGinnis. This show premiered early 1999 and only ran for three seasons. However it did manage to have a very successful animated movie released, Batman Beyond Return of the Joker.
I was 15 at the time of release of Batman Beyond, and by this age I should’ve been growing too old for cartoons, but quality is quality and this cartoon packed a punch.
I first watched Batman Beyond when stumbling across three VHS compilations which contained a few out of order episodes each. I believe most of the first season was spread across the tapes, although they were missing a couple in total. Instantly after watching the first episode and introduction of Terry McGinnis, I was hooked on the show and character. The music, animation and darker tone was calling me.
The show very much reminded me of Spider-Man, and also the early Batman The Animated Series. The episodes were darker with often miserable endings to each. Terry McGinnis would stuff up, a lot, and Bruce would constantly be comparing Terry with his own adventures as Batman.
Down the line, I managed to pick up all the episodes on DVD and eventually digital copies off iTunes, and even though I have watched this series beginning to end numerous times, I never get bored. Something about the series always managed to hook me in. Maybe it’s the darker characters or the fact Terry doesn’t fight against Two-Face Beyond or other Batman villains rehashed. The creators actually decided to give Terry his own set of adventures only ever referencing past characters…except for Joker and Mr. Freeze.
What made the show even better was the fact it became the first time in the DCAU (DC Animated Universe) the Justice League was seen. The members weren’t the ones fans of the series would come to know, but the two part episode, The Call, still stands as one of my favourite episodes of the DCAU.
Justice League would later come into being as it’s own series and eventually go on as Justice League Unlimited, and while both these shows were great, Batman Beyond still managed to have an impact.
It feels really good to get all this off my chest. Terry McGinnis makes for a wonderful Batman, and the Batman Beyond series makes for one of the best incarnations of Batman ever. Yeah, I’m going there.
Worth checking out are the Batman Beyond and Justice League Beyond comics. While their continuation of the series as been brought into question, I like to think of them as a continuation. And with only three seasons of Batman Beyond, reading the comics gives the fix this nerd needs to continue the McGinnis adventures.