- Series Title: The Batman
- Season: 2
- Episodes: 13
- Discs: 2
- Cast: Rino Romano, Alastair Duncan, Ming-Na Wen (credited as Ming Na), Kevin Michael Richardson, Tom Kenny
- Original Network: Cartoon Network
- Production Network: Warner Brothers (Animation)
The second season of The Batman starts, oddly, very much like Season 1 did – with completely disconnected episodes, that either bring back major villains (Joker, Penguin) or introduce new ones – Riddler, Soloman Grundy, Ragdoll, Spellbinder. Things get a bit more interesting towards the end of disk one. “Meltdown” sees the return of Ethan Bennett (aka “Clayface”). Bruce had tried to help Ethan, getting him medical treatment and giving him a job at Wayne Industries. But, unfortunately, Ethan’s feud with Joker and his anger and desire for revenge is too much for him – he ends up becoming Clayface permanently when he goes after Joker. “Fire and Ice” sees the mercenary, Firefly, working for Mr. Freeze, in this version of Batman, pretty much a gangster who’s mutated into an ice-wielding supervillain. The story itself was OK, but the animation was fantastic. There was a wonderful look to the ice and snow.
Although the second disc has some of the “meet the new villain, who’s then captured – never to appear again”, there are some excellent stories as well. In “Strange Minds”, Joker kidnaps Det. Ellen Yin, and Dr. Hugo Strange volunteers to use a new device of his to go into Joker’s mind to find out where she is. Batman piggybacks on to the signal and must search Joker’s mind without going mad himself. The episode is filled with wonderful visuals, and it’s very tense as Batman is in considerable danger – and of a nonphysical kind. In “The Laughing Bat” Joker decides that “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”, and becomes Batman – catching minor criminals (a man who litters, a jaywalker, a grandmother who drives with her turn signal on for blocks, a woman who takes eleven items to a ten-items or less checkout lane etc.) and “treating” them with Joker venom which freezes their face in a horrible grin. As Batman confronts Joker, Joker is able to hit him with a dose of Joker Venom. With a limited time left to live and slowly suffering the effects of Joker’s venom, Bruce must come up with an antidote. It’s brilliant stuff.
I also enjoyed “Night and the City”. Joker and Penguin are fighting each other for control of Gotham City (and Penguin is actually a surprisingly good fighter) when Riddler arrives. He proposes they not fight each other, but that they join forces against their common foe – Batman. Riddler then offers a reward to the first to unmask the Bat. Meanwhile, Chief Rojas has gone on the warpath against Batman – again. He catches Yin with the Batwave and arrests her. However, Batman is able to avoid Rojas’ trap, rescue Yin, and catch Joker, Penguin, and Riddler. Commissioner Gordon places the Batsignal on the roof of police headquarters, and tells off Rojas.
Overall, The Batman is not the classic that Batman: The Animated Series was. And personally, I don’t enjoy it as much as Batman Beyond either (which I consider an under-rated classic). However, it does have its moments. And the writers and directors would end up writing various Warner Brothers Animated DC Universe films (Batman, Superman, Justice League, and Justice League – New 52). Next up, Season 3 – the first I haven’t seen at all before on DVD.