In the future, Batman is still around but it’s not Bruce Wayne wearing the cowl. The mantle of the bat has been taken over by an unlikely suspect: teenager Terry McGinnis. At first McGinnis stole the Bat-suit to take revenge against the man who murdered his father. However, under the tutelage of the elder Wayne, McGinnis has managed to channel his anger into something more productive as Gotham City’s newest protector. Batman Beyond: Spellbound is a collection of three episodes from this popular series with this futuristic Batman carrying on the legacy started by Bruce Wayne.
A series of robberies are being committed all over Gotham City. The problem is that the accusers have no idea that they have been involved at all. In reality they have all been hypnotized victims under the influence of a villain named Spellbinder. However, there seems to be a connection to Hamilton Hill High School with Terry targeted as the next victim.
“A Touch of Curare”
District Attorney Sam Young is the target for death by the deadly assassin Curare, a member of the Society of Assassins and their best operative. Naturally this doesn’t sit well with Commissioner Barbara Gordon, the D.A.’s wife. There’s even further conflict with she and Batman having issues on how to protect the D.A. In the whole process, Terry learns more about Barbara’s past and her life as Batgirl.
Spellbinder is back and is up to his old tricks again but with a twist this time. Teenagers are hooked on a new virtual reality program that provides them with their wildest dreams coming true. However there is a side effect that causes the user to become addictive. In order to support the habit, these teenagers resort to robbery in order to pay for the continuing good feelings they receive from his device. Terry starts investigating but it becomes worse when Maxine starts to press him in taking a more active role in crimefighting. The consequence leads her to becoming hooked on Spellbinder’s technology herself.
I was reluctant to give Batman Beyond a chance just because I couldn’t wrap my head around a futuristic Batman that didn’t involve Bruce Wayne. Well, I was wrong in that assumption because Bruce Wayne is involved; he just doesn’t wear the cowl anymore. I’m glad I quickly changed my tune. Batman Beyond is edgier than I expected with wonderful new characters and stories.
Spellbinder is an interesting villain. He may seem like a lightweight in comparison to others but it’s underestimating his abilities that will be the downfall of many. He’s not the first character to bear the name but the first to appear in this DC Animated Universe. It’s nice to see that even a third-rate character receive a new lease on life. Just look at Mr. Freeze for an example. Curare is an excellent character. This silent and unstoppable assassin made such an amazing debut and made me kept wondering if nothing could ever stop her. I also love that the League of Assassins is around in some form with the Society of Assassins.
The voice acting has always been superb with Will Friedle and Kevin Conroy leading the charge as Terry McGinnis and Bruce Wayne, respectively. Conroy serves as the bridge to past and this futuristic timeline. I really love the crankiness in this elder Wayne’s voice. He sounds like a man who has no more patience for anything at all. The animation keeps with the style used for this universe to keep the continuity alive. It’s fluid and definitely action packed.
While there are only three episodes on Batman Beyond: Spellbound, it’s still pretty enjoyable. Naturally purchasing the entire DVD collection is a better buy but this isn’t bad it you have kids that have little attention spans. Three of four episodes at a time seem like enough to them.
DC Super Heroes (1967-1968): The Filmation Adventures
Super Friends (1973-1974): Season One, Volume One
Challenge of the Superfriends (1978-1979): The First Season || Attack of the Legion of Doom
Super Friends: The Lost Episodes (1983-1984): The Complete Series
Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show (1984-1985): The Complete Series
Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995): Volume 1 || Volume 2 || Volume 3 || Volume 4 || The Legend Begins || Tales of the Dark Knight || Out of the Shadows || Secrets of the Caped Crusader
The Adventures of Batman and Robin (1993-1995): The Joker || The Penguin || Poison Ivy || The Riddler || Robin || Two-Face
Superman: The Animated Series (1996-2000): Volume 1 || Volume 2 ||Volume 3 || A Little Piece of Home
Batman Beyond (1999-2001): Season One || Season Two || Season Three || Batman Beyond
Justice League (2001-2004) : Season One || Season Two || Justice On Trial || Paradise Lost || The Brave and the Bold
Teen Titans (2003-2006): The Complete Second Season
Justice League Unlimited (2004-2006): Season One || Season Two
The Batman (2004-2008): The Complete Fifth Season
Legion of Super Heroes (2006-2008): Volume One || Volume Two || Volume Three
Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2008-2011): Volume One || Volume Two || Volume Three
***This is part of both my 2012 Funny Pages and 2012 Canadiana Write-Offs. Come join the festivities until the end of July.
CANADIAN FACT: Cree Summers, the voice of Maxine "Max" Gibson, grew up on the Red Pheasant Reserve in Saskatchewan.
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