This ill-fated series begins with a bang. We see a nameless thug being intimidated by Batman. At first, Batman is just a voice in the shadows talking to thug and messing with his mind, but then he makes his intial enterance through some smoke, continuing his intimidation and using Sherlock-Holmes-like tactics of deducing what his inferior opponent's plans are to defend him and critquing said plans. While it is apparent Batman has made a name for himself in this incarnation of Batman and his dark world, it is also apparent that he is still rather new at this and is still learning a thing or two. He forgets to check his blind spots and is knocked down by the thug's parter who comes out of the shadows to defend his partner, dislocating Batman's shoulder in the process. However, Batman pops his shoulder back in place and makes short work of the two. All in all, an epic introduction to this new version of the Caped Crusader.
From there, we are then introduced to our villains for the story, Professor Pyg and Mister Toad. While claiming to be a member of "animal kind", Profesor Pyg looks like nothing more than a man wearing a pig mask. Mister Toad, on the other hand, looks to be undoubtedly, a member of "animal kind." Their initial appearance shows them chasing down Simon Stagg. Their victim describes himself as an important figure in Gotham, but also comes off as arrogant, depicting the kind of world Batman finds himself in and the type of people he will have to save. At first, one might think that Professor Pyg and Mister Toad are doing the right thing in going after this arrogrant man. This creates an interesting juxtaposition for an opening episode of a Batman show. What separates Batman from the criminals he goes after, especially those who do what they do in the name of good? However, if that is the goal for the first episode, why use Professor Pyg and Mister Toad. Surely, there are more well known villains the writers could have used to draw in viewers. Poison Ivy jumps to mind as someone who would fit that bill. Even if that was their intention, there is not enough follow through to make it clear that that was what they were going for with that choice. Regardless, after such a brilliant enterance for our protagonist, the creative team really dropped the ball on the introduction to the antogonists.
Following that, we get three more introductions: Alfred, the Batcave, and the Batcomputer. Our first glimpe at Alfred comes in a scene that is reminicent of the original Pink Panther movies with Inspector Clouseau fighting his house boy Cato. Alfred, we learn, is a retired MI-6 spy. A B.A. Alfred appears to be the new trend in media portrayals of Batman, which I can live with, but, in this particular instance, Alfred breaks his ankle at the end of the episode, rendering that part of his backstory rather useless (other than to introduce Katana, Batman's new sidekick). The Batcave and Batcomputer are nothing special, but nothing to complaining about either.
At the end of the episode, we see Alfred lead two hostages out of a building, while limping on a broken ankle, and Batman face off against the not-so-menacing Professor Pyg and Mister Toad. After fighting with them for a bit, Professor Pyg and Mr. Toad escape by blowing up the building, and we see a really cool looking shot of Batman jumping out of an exploding building. In the aftermath of the episode, Alfred introduces Bruce Wayne to his new driver (and eventual heiress to Alfred's role as Butler/Bodyguard), Tatsu Yamashiro.
Overall, the animation of the show looks great and there is potential for the right people to do some really brilliant stuff with the setup of this particular show, but the creative team fails to deliver.
Beware the Batman: Hunted:
Reviewed by Alex Hey