Saturday, December 11, 2004

THE MR. FREEZE EPISODE OF THAT "THE BATMAN" CARTOON WAS ON THIS MORNING: Okay--I know this is the Time-Warner hivemind's attempt to introduce the character to a new generation of kiddies, and sell more playsets and party hats and remind everyone that Batman is still this big big property. So any entertainment value of "The Batman" is purely coincidental--I understand that too. So given why this cartoon exists I know it's unfair to compare to "Batman: The Animated Series," which is both widely considered to be one of the best American cartoons and was a necessary clearing-away of 20-plus years of the "Robin, old chum" version being the dominant image of the animated Batman. But Mr. Freeze was the signature villain of "Batman: TAS"--he wasn't that villainous, actually; he was this normal guy whose powers had robbed of his humanity, which he tried to recapture via doomed attempts to bring his wife Nora back to life. Nora, who had been frozen in this moment of perfect youth and beauty, and Freeze would look at her and think "Someday--someday things will be right again" and never maybe really believe it himself but know at the same time it was all he had to go on.

See? That's interesting. "The Batman" version of Mr. Freeze is a bank robber with ice powers. Given that the new series is just supposed to be a simple entertainment, I don't think there's anything wrong with that. And "The Batman" is telling neat little Batman stories--I can't believe I missed the Cluemaster episode; they brought back a friggin' Injustice League/Justice League of Antarctica member as a major Batman rogue?--and the action's pretty good, and Bruce has the Star Trek diversity thing with the black detective and the Ming-Na Wen detective supporting cast. And Alfred's a foreigner too, of course. But it really suffers in comparison with "Batman: TAS" but then most cartoons do.

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