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Written by Cristian Stanic
If you grew up in the mid ‘90s, you probably remember the incredible Batman: The Animated Series. It was, and still is, iconic. Kevin Conroy’s inimitable Bruce Wayne is probably more synonymous with wealth and mystery than any other fictional character in history; a Jay Gatsby with cool gadgets and a high-speed tank. But, if you grew up a few years later, you might be attached to a very different Batman – that played by voice actor Will Friedle, who wowed audiences at Supanova only a couple of weeks ago.
With Friedle still fresh in our minds, we revisited Batman Beyond to figure out what made it so great.
A NEW BATMAN FOR A NEW ERA
The Batman of 2039, Terry McGinnis, is no dashing and debonair Bruce Wayne. In fact, Terry and Bruce couldn’t be more different, but that’s how it should be. Bruce came from wealth; he had fast cars and a huge house. Oh, and a butler. Terry was a street punk from a poor family who disobeyed authority and was generally too cool for school – props to Warner Brothers for laying on that early 2000s edge. Bruce had his strict morals and code of ethics, where Terry fought dirty and didn’t play by anyone’s rules but his own. The OG Batman show and Batman Beyond may only have aired a few years apart, but they reflected vastly different eras in what was cool in cartoons.
WE ALL KNOW WHICH BATSUIT WE’D CHOOSE
Capes are so old school. Terry’s Batman got given a slick new update from the classic Batsuit. No more cape – a full black suit that even covers the face for maximum secretness, a super cool minimalist RED Batsymbol (note the red and black colour combo to maximise edge), wings that deploy from the back for gliding, and jets in the bottom of the feet so he could fly around. They also magnetise to stuff, but that’s not nearly as exciting. Bruce’s outdated Batsuit just can’t compete.
“YES, IT COMES IN BLACK”
What would Batman be without his signature car? The Batmobile is just as iconic as the man himself, and every version of the Caped Crusader has gotta have their own. So what does the futuristic Batman of Neo-Gotham have? Oh, you know, it’s a hovercar. Of course it hovers, it’s the future, everything does. But only this car has a pimped out Bat shape with a sick red neon interior. They really did like black and red back then, didn’t they? The Batmobile isn’t Terry’s only tricked out whip though. In a world where everyone drives hovercars, Terry still has a motorcycle with wheels. Some things never go out of style.
A HERO STORY IS ONLY AS GOOD AS THE VILLAIN
Batman is nothing but a man in an extremely tight-fitting suit until he has a villain to fight. In his time, the new Batman established his own formidable gallery of rogues. There’s Blight, who’s like a walking, translucent Chernobyl, Shriek, a vengeful sound engineer who built a powerful exosuit to blast sound at his victims, and Stalker, an African game hunter with cybernetic enhancements who tried to hunt Batman down, to name a few. Terry also fought some classic Batman villains too, like the Joker and Mr. Freeze, just to show how the young guns can flex on the older bad guys.