3 episodes in and I'm still enjoying this new Batman series. This weeks villain is Anarchy, a personal favorite of mine as far as the C list Batman villains are concerned. We also get some more from Katana as she learns more about her mysterious boss. Unfortunately this wasn't quite the episode I was hoping for.
"Tests" continues the trend of the "previously on Beware the Batman" prelude. Which, as I said in last weeks review, is an appreciated feature of the new series. As it allows for longer story arcs and character development to play out over an entire season rather than in self contained episodes. This is perhaps what has me most exited about the series, the possibilities that a new serialized Batman show can bring in terms of new story telling and drama that we haven't seen in quite some time from DC.
The story starts off with what seemed like a repeat of Batman's war on vandalism from last week with two punks trashing a store. After a quick take down by the caped crusader we're introduced to Anarchy, who as I remember from the comics looked a bit different. Anarchy here is in all white and comes with his own classical music cue that added to his mystery. His only goal: to bring chaos to Batman's order. If this seems awfully familiar to you, its because it is. Its pretty much the exact same plan the Joker had in the The Dark Knight.
Anarchy aside, watching Katana do her own detective work in this episode was the highlight for me. The show is doing a nice job of slowly building Katana up as the worthy sidekick that we know she'll end up being. (Thanks title sequence) This is the right move. If they had just tried to shoehorn in Katana in from episode 1 people wouldn't accept her. Shes too different from what we're used to and the slow burn does make for a more interesting story.
The fights with Anarchy and his impromptu thugs were exciting but lacked the acrobatics of last week. What was more interesting was the escalation of Anarchy's attacks. They got progressively more dangerous and was hoping for something more dramatic in the climax. Unfortunately it culminated in an all to familiar test for a hero. The "2 things are in danger but you only have time to save 1" trope. Which, again, was very reminiscent of the fairy scene in The Dark Knight. Including the "unexpected" move that allowed him to save everyone. Perhaps this was intentional, but if it was, it wasn't overt enough to be an homage and it wasn't different enough to not seem like a rehash.
If it wasn't for the not so subtle retelling of Jokers story from The Dark Knight this episode could have been great. Instead its relegated to the so so pile. Its a shame too, I generally enjoy a good psychological villain. Luckily this wont be the last we see of Anarchy. Lets just hope its the last we see of cheap rehashes in a show that's supposed to be about being fresh.
A Few Side Notes:
- What are the chances that Katana happens to press the button for the library in the secret elevator? I mean of all the places that she could have ended up, the library is the least "I'm Batman" location. Also did she not bother checking where those other buttons lead to?
- Katana's sword. (or is it a katana? I'm confused) Still no word on if it talks. It glows green though, so... there's that.
- Anarchy's musical cue could have been a little toned down.
- The Bat-bike/glider was awesome.