Batman: TAS – S1 – Heart Of Glass Review

This is the episode which defined Mr Freeze and made him a villain to truly fear but also a man who you can feel sympathy for. Any episode which can do that in 22 minutes must be considered pretty special.

As a plastic ballerina spins in a snow globe Mr Freeze talks to it as if it were his (missing, presumed dead) wife Nora. He promises revenge on the monster who took her away from him and don’t forget that revenge is a dish best served cold.

It’s a hot summer in Gotham yet the city has had its share of cold related robberies in recent weeks. The crimes were all been committed at GothCorp facilities and were perpetrated by a man with a freezing gun. GothCorp C.E.O Ferris Boyle (voiced by Mark Hamill) doesn’t know why the robberies are happening but he is willing to hear the robber out and will help him if he can. What a “nice” guy.

As always Batman is on the case and he has already worked out that the stolen GothCorp equipment could be put together to make a massive freezing cannon. There is only one piece of the puzzle missing and Batman knows which GothCorp facility makes it. A little while later that very same facility is attacked by Mr Freeze and his gang in a van. The van’s driver notices the Batmobile is in pursuit. Mr Freeze uses freezing gun to freeze the ground and the Batmobile spins out of control and crashes into a wall. As his gang steal what they need Mr Freeze deals with the facilities security guards. Just as they are about to leave Batman appears on top of the van and tells Mr Freeze to err….Freeze. Obviously Mr Freeze does not comply and he tries to shoot Batman with the freezing gun. During the battle Mr Freeze accidentally freezes a gang members legs, undeterred Mr Freeze finally gets the upper hand on Batman and freezes him completely. Mr Freeze tells the gang to get in the van and leave their partially frozen comrade which they reluctantly do. Batman breaks free from the ice and is about to chase the van but the fallen gang member begs for his help.

Back at the Batcave the gang member was placed in a chemical bath which removes the ice around his legs. Batman now has another issue to deal with, an issue possibly more dangerous than taking on Mr Freeze again. Batman has caught a cold. Alfred asks why he hasn’t got a compartment for tissues in his utility belt. Batman doesn’t have time to talk about it as Bruce Wayne has a meeting at GothCorp with Ferris Boyle.

Ferris welcomes Bruce to his office. Bruce asks about the robberies and wonders who would commit these crimes. The one person Ferris could think of was an ex employee who was using company equipment for his own experiments. But alas it could not have been that person as he was killed in an explosion. Ferris comes across as a bit of a git. He claims that GothCorp cares about the people of Gotham but all he really cares about is money. He cuts his meeting with Bruce short as he gets a visit from a humanitarian committee who are giving him an award for Humanitarian Industrialist of the year at a ceremony later that day.

Batman believes that Ferris didn’t tell the whole story in regard to the demise of the ex employee. Before he heads off to the GothCorp head office Alfred gives him a flask of chicken soup (it’s the only way to fight a cold). He goes undercover as a security guard and sneaks into a file room. He finds a top secret file which contains a medical report on a Nora Fries, some blueprints and a video cassette. The cassette shows Victor Fries trying to save his wife, Nora from a terminal disease. She is in a cryogenic chamber that will keep her alive until he finds a cure for her illness. Victor is interrupted by Ferris and a few guards. Ferris demands that all the equipment be shut down and he doesn’t care if Nora dies. In his desperation Victor pulls a gun on Ferris but Ferris kicks Victor onto a table full of volatile chemicals and they explode. Ferris and the guards escape the room as Victor is enveloped in a cloud of gas. The video ends with Victor screaming his wife’s name. Batman is appalled by what he has seen and he is then ambushed by Mr Freeze who once again shoots Batman with his freezing gun.

Batman awakens upside down with his feet frozen to the ceiling (just like Luke Skywalker in the Wampa cave in the Empire Strikes Back). Mr Freeze explains that the accident changed his bodies physiology and he needs to stay in a sub-zero environment to stay alive. He managed to build a suit that keeps him cool and now he will get his revenge on Ferris who cost him his life and more importantly his wife. After Mr Freeze leaves Batman breaks out of the ice.

At the humanitarian ceremony Mr Freeze and his gang arrive with the freeze canon and they start to freeze the building. Mr Freeze enters the building, confronts Ferris and is about to kill him but a batarang knocks the gun out of his hand. Batman and Mr Freeze fight but Mr Freeze is too strong and easily overpowers Batman. Luckily for Batman he has a secret weapon. He pulls out the flask of chicken soup from his belt (I don’t know how it fit in there) and smashes it over the dome that protects Mr Freeze’s head. The dome breaks and Mr Freeze collapses. Batman gives a reporter the video cassette and tells everyone that Ferris Boyle destroyed Victor and Nora’s lives.

Mr Freeze is sent to Arkham Asylum and just as the episode began it finishes with him talking to the plastic ballerina; he asks his wife for forgiveness and prays that somehow she hears him.

Batman: TAS – S1 – I’ve got Batman in my basement Review

So many children dream of meeting a superhero but how many children get to save a superhero? Aspiring detective Sherman and his friend Roberta get that chance but how will they do?

A couple of goons have stolen a Fabergé Egg but before they can get away Batman confronts them on the roof. As Batman is about to apprehend them a giant vulture attacks him. He manages to fight the vulture off but the goons have escaped. The only clue he can find at the scene is some birdseed. So we have an egg, a vulture and birdseed, who could be behind this? If I was a betting man I’d say it was The Clock King.

In the Gotham suburbs Sherman and his friend Roberta are looking through a Jr Detective kit. Two local bully’s (Frank and Nick) arrive and start mucking about with the kit. Frank tries out a pair of binoculars and sees a very large bird. Roberta grabs the binoculars off him and passes them to Sherman. He looks at the bird and notes that it’s a giant South American vulture. Wondering what the vulture is doing in Gotham Sherman and Roberta follow it on their bikes.

The pair end up at an old abandoned birdseed factory and sneak in. Inside, the goons are waiting for their boss. Up on a gantry the Jr Detectives watch as he appears and just as I predicted it’s the Clock……oh it’s The Penguin (ok that makes more sense). He feeds the vulture which he calls Scrap and gets the egg from his goons. Sherman recognises as the Von Ulster Fabergé Egg and tells Roberta that it’s worth a fortune. They start to leave so they can tell the police. Scrap spots them and is about to swoop but Batman throws a net over it. Batman swings past Penguin and grabs the egg. He then proceeds to dump a load of birdseed on Penguin and his goons. Sherman accidentally sets off a conveyor belt which he and Roberta are standing on. They are nearly dragged to their doom but Batman saves them just in time. He takes them to the exit and tells them to get out quickly. He goes back to apprehend the Penguin but he gets gassed by one of Penguin’s special umbrellas. Batman makes it to the exit but he is in some distress. He pushes a button on his utility belt and the Batmobile pulls up beside him. He gets in and passes out. The children run over to the Batmobile and get in too. Sherman starts to press all the buttons on the Batmobile’s console so they can get away. Eventually with Roberta’s help he manages to drive away.

They take Batman to Sherman’s house and put him on a couch in the basement. Batman tries to talk but he is still weakened from Penguin’s gas. Sherman thinks he said captured but he reassures Batman that he is safe. Batman tries again and gets out the word visor which leaves the children confused.

Scrap is searching the city for Batman and his new friends. Penguin explains that his gas will keep the bat down for a week. Sherman’s mum checks in on the children before she goes to the store, Roberta tells her what happened but she thinks they are just playing a game and leaves. Seconds later Frank and Nick are mucking about outside and discover the Batmobile buried under some cardboard boxes. They get inside and start playing with it. Sherman runs up and tells them to leave it alone. Frank pulls down a visor and finds some capsules. Sherman works out what Batman was trying to say, it wasn’t captured it was capsule. Sherman grabs the capsules just before Scrap arrives and tries to get him. Sherman makes it to the basement and gives Batman a capsule. Frank and Nick join them in the basement just as Penguin pulls up outside the house. Roberta tries to call the police but Scrap had already disabled the phone line.

Penguin and his goons break into the house and start to tear it apart as the hunt for the egg. Meanwhile Sherman and company go through Batman’s utility belt to try and find something to help them. They set a few traps which take out the goons and they even manage to tie Penguin up but he isn’t tied up for long thanks to a blade in his umbrella. He chases them down to the basement and finds the egg. Penguin is about to kill Batman but he finally recovers in time and has a sword fight with Penguin. Well I say sword fight but Batman had to improvise so he used a screwdriver and he still won. Sherman’s mum arrives to find her house wrecked, she gets another shock when she finds Batman in the basement. On behalf of his mum Sherman asks Batman if he is single.

The next day Sherman puts up a couple of newspaper clippings on his notice board. One clipping is about Penguins capture by pint sized Pinkertons the other is about Gotham Zoo acquiring a rare vulture. Sherman, Roberta, Frank and Nick now work together in their very own jr detective agency.

Batman: TAS – S1 – It’s Never Too Late Review

A turf war is waging its way through Gotham City between ageing mob boss Arnold Stromwell and the younger and more ruthless Rupert Thorne. Commissioner Gordon believes Thorne will win this battle. Stromwell’s son Joey has also disappeared and he knows Thorne has something to do with it. A meeting between the two mobs is set up at Pete’s diner.

Later that day Thorne and his men are waiting at the diner. Pete throws out a drunk before anyone else arrives. As that drunk is leaving he places a listening device under a table. Thorne tells everyone to act nice to their rivals but after Pete leaves the lights go out and it’ll be all over from Stromwell. Sitting in the Batmobile the drunk hears this. I’m sure you have guessed by now that the drunk was Bruce Wayne.

On his way to the meeting Stromwell has a flashback to his childhood. Both he and his kid brother Michael are playing on the railroad tracks. The flashback ends before Stromwell is seemingly hit by a train. At a nearby church Batman watches Stromwell drive by. Inside Batman has a chat with a priest telling him Arnold is going to need him.

Stromwell and a few of his men finally arrive at the diner. Thorne asks to talk to Stromwell alone. Almost immediately Stromwell starts to beat Thorne up and demands to know where his son is. Thorne swears he does know anything but he has contacts that might and Stromwell calms down. Just at that moment Pete leaves the diner quickly followed by Thorne and his mob. The diner explodes with Stromwell inside.

A few minutes later Batman kicks down the back door of the diner with Stromwell over his shoulder. Stromwell is shocked that he was saved by Batman. Batman carry’s Stromwell over the rooftops of Gotham. Thorne hears that Stromwell survived so he orders his men to finish the job.

Batman explains to Stromwell that he saved him because he has information on the rival gangs in Gotham but Stromwell refuses to become a snitch. Batman knows a way he can make Stromwell talk. He takes to Stromwell to a back ally where he started his career in crime selling drugs. Past the ally Batman makes him go into the Sunrise Foundation (a rehab centre) where he finds his ex-wife Connie and his son Joey. Connie only found out Joey was in rehab thanks to Batman. Stromwell demands revenge on whoever made Joey a drug user. Connie tells him to look in the mirror to find the person he is looking for. Batman wants Stromwell is close down his gang and give the D.A all the info on his rivals.

At his office Stromwell gives Batman incriminating files but Batman realises that they are dummy files. Stromwell pulls a gun on him but before a shot is fired a can of tear gas is thrown through a window. Batman puts on a gas mask and pulls Stromwell to safety. Thorne’s men storm the office but Batman picks a few of them off. In all the chaos Stromwell escapes into a train yard and runs until he trips over a part of the track. The priest tries to help him up but Stromwell won’t let him. Stromwell has another flashback we see that his younger self was not hit by that train because his brother Michael pushed him out of the way but it was at a cost. Michael lost his leg, Michael grew up to become a priest and now he wants to help his brother again. Michael brings Stromwell round and he will do what Batman has asked….well he will but the brothers are ambushed by Thorne. Luckily one batarang later Thorne is knocked over and the police arrive to arrest him. As Gordon arrives Stromwell tells him he would like to make a statement. Maybe his soul can be reformed and he can start a better life for himself and his family. Well it’s never too late to try at least.

Batman: TAS – S1 – Two Face Pt2 Review

Six months have past since Harvey Dents traumatic transformation. He has given himself the name Two Face and he has been making Rupert Thorne’s life miserable.

After consulting his lucky coin Two Face and his new associates Min and Max rob one of Thorne’s bookies. They take every cent they can including a crate full of silver dollars. Thorne is infuriated with the damage Two Face is causing. Thorne puts a $2 million dollar bounty on Two Face’s head, a million for each face.

Bruce is feeling guilty that he couldn’t help Harvey before his accident at the chemical plant. Bruce makes a promise to himself that he will find a way to save his old friend.

The police visit Harvey’s ex fiancée Grace. They ask for her help so they can find Harvey before Thorne does. A Detective gives Grace a beeper. If Harvey visits her she is to activate the beeper so the police can find her and Harvey. Grace reluctantly agrees to help them. Only problem is the police are Thorne’s men and the Detective was his right hand woman Candice.

Two Face is counting the money from the bookies robbery and he sees a picture of Grace in his wallet. Min and Max ask if he wants them to get her. He tosses his coin and it instead decides that they need to finish Thorne off once and for all.

Batman notices a pattern to Two Faces crime wave. All the places Two Face hits involve the number two such as Club 22 and Two’s Company. They also all belong to Thorne. Batman realises that Two Face has hit all the possible places he can and the only thing left for his to do is to get Thorne out of the way.

Two Face has broken in to Attorney E Doubleday’s office to retrieve a file on Thorne and all his misdeeds. As they find the file Batman arrives and nearly gets through to the Harvey side of Two Face but Min and Max put a stop to that. Two Face knocks Batman out and escapes with the file. When Batman recovers he finds a match book with a 2 of hearts logo in his hand. Maybe Harvey put it there.

Two Face drives past a wedding shop and it makes him think of Grace. He tosses his coin and this time it tells him to contact her. He calls Grace and asks her to visit him. She gladly agrees, he tells her that there is a car outside that will take her to him. Before she leaves she activates the beeper.

The car drives Grace to the Wild Deuce club. Inside the club Two Face has covered his disfigured side from Grace. She asks why he doesn’t trust or listen to his feelings anymore, he explains that the only thing he listens to is his lucky coin and it decides what he does and does not do. Grace explains to him that he doesn’t need the coin or the cloth that covers his face, she loves him no matter what. He almost reverts back to his old self but he sees Min and Max standing in a door way. They collapse and Thorne arrives with his crew. Grace recognises Candice as the Detective and she realises that she led Thorne to Harvey. Thorne threatens to kill Grace if he doesn’t get his file back. Two Face gives it to him. Thorne tells his crew to kill them both but Batman arrives. Thorne is about to shoot Batman but Two Face kicks him and he ends up shooting a chandelier which falls on him. Batman and Two Face beat up Thorne’s men while Grace does the same to Candice.

After the fight Two Face picks up a gun and is about the kill Thorne who is still trapped under the chandelier. He tosses his coin to make the final decision but Batman throws the crate of silver dollars in the air which mixes them with Two Face’s coin. Unable to find his coin and decide what to do Two Face freaks out and starts crying. Grace goes over to him and tells him it will be ok as she is here. Outside Batman throws a coin into a nearby fountain and wishes his friend well.

A bittersweet end to another amazing episode.

Batman: TAS – S1 – Two Face Pt1 Review

This is a story of two sides of the same coin. This is also one of the finest episodes of Batman TAS ever made.

Gotham City D.A Harvey Dent is running away, away from a man in the shadows. The man appears in front of Harvey but we don’t see his face. The man tosses a coin and tells Harvey that it’s time. Harvey wakes up sweating in his office. His assistant Carlos tells Harvey that Gordon and the police have started the raid. Harvey leaves immediately.

Gordon and his men have a gang cornered in a building but the gang are not going down without a fight. With the help of stolen army weapons they keep the police at bay. Unbeknownst to the gang Batman has infuriated the building. Batman scares them into giving up and they beg the police to lock them away from him. In front of the press Harvey congratulates the police for there hard work. He also takes credit for the raid and promises to take down the gangs boss Rupert Thorne. As one of the gang members is being led to a police van he kicks mud onto Harvey’s suit and warns Harvey that Thorne will deal with him very soon. Harvey snaps and throws the gang member to floor. Harvey is about to punch him but Gordon stops him and calms him down. The press look on in shock.

Thorne sees a news report on the gangs capture. He tells his right hand woman Candice to tail Harvey and dig up any dirt on him she can find. At a fundraiser for Harvey’s re-election campaign (Sponsored by Bruce Wayne) Harvey charms the public while Bruce asks Harvey’s fiancée Grace if he is alright. Bruce is worried about his friend as he seems to not be himself at the moment. Carlos interrupts Harvey to give him some bad news. A judge has thrown out the case against Thorne’s gang due to the warrant not being complete. Harvey realises that the judge has been bribed. Yet again Harvey goes crazy, he throws Carlos against a table and he goes to punch Bruce but he sees Grace and he stops.

Harvey visits his psychiatrist Dr Nora Crest. She puts Harvey under hypnosis and she wants to talk to Harvey’s other personality Big Bad Harv. Harvey thinks that it isn’t a good idea but Nora insists. Big Bad Harv comes to the surface. Harv calls Harvey a wimp. Nora explains that when Harvey was young he suppressed his angry feelings and kept them buried inside, that was until his anger became an illness and the illness has manifested itself into Big Bad Harv. Harv starts to trash Nora’s office. Nora clicks her fingers and Harvey returns. Harvey can’t believe what he did so Nora suggests he has more sessions with her they might be able to get rid of Harv. Harvey is desperate so he agrees to her suggestion straight away. Outside the office Candice hears everything and runs off to tell Thorne.

On election night Harvey is winning by a landslide. He is so happy he tells Grace that he will announce their wedding date when he officially wins. Harvey receives a phone call from Thorne. Thorne informs Harvey that he knows his little secret and he will tell Gotham unless they can make a deal. Harvey has no choice so he agrees to meet with Thorne. Bruce sees Harvey leave so Batman follows him.

At the meeting (in an abandoned chemical plant) Thorne demands a few favours from Harvey, unfortunately for him he isn’t speaking to Harvey, he is speaking to Big Bad Harv. Harv attacks Thorne and his men. Batman tries to stop him but Harv is just too angry. He chases Thorne into a room with large vats of chemicals. One of Thorne’s men tries to shoot Harv but Batman pushes him. The bullets instead hit an electrical panel which causes an explosion that hits Harv in the face. Batman runs over to Harv and is visibly upset by what he sees.

At the hospital Harvey is lying in bed with half his face bandaged up. The doctor assures Grace and Bruce that a good plastic surgeon will fix Harvey’s face. Bruce is more worried about the mental scars rather than the physical ones. A few days later a doctor is removing Harvey’s bandage so they can prepare him for plastic surgery. Harvey asks for a mirror but the doctor is reluctant. Harvey pushes him away and finds one himself. Grace is walking down a hospital corridor when she hears Harvey scream. He bursts out of his room and she sees him and faints. The left side of Harvey’s face is horribly disfigured. He says Goodbye to the unconscious Grace and he escapes the hospital.

Even though it’s a Batman light episode it is still interesting to watch as we see the torment Harvey goes though while trying to keep his angry side down but any hope of that is lost after his disfigurement. I felt sorry for him because he was a good guy and he was someone who was trying to help the city. I wonder what part two will have is store for us.