Monday, October 20, 2014

Review: Beware the Batman "Tests"

First of all, I do like the inclusion of Daedalus (Doodlebug) and Junkyard Dog (Junkyard Dog) as minor antagonists. It really makes Gotham feel more three-dimensional. Daedalus, in the comics, makes art until someone dies, then he keeps going. In the comics, Junkyard Dog is obsessed with trash. It kind of seems like they've been changed from generic comic book "psychos" into generic angry teens. It's nice that they're deciding to use more "unknown" characters, but it'd still be nice to see a character adapted semi-accurately. I don't necessarily mind a good reinterpretation, but still.

Speaking of reinterpretations....

This was a terrible introduction to Anarky. As I'd said previously, the writers are trying to use more obscure villains, what with the Joker and the Riddler and those guys being somewhat overused. But for the character that seems to be taking the Joker's slot as the chaotic mastermind.... Anarky kind of sucks. He made me laugh, but I don't know if he was supposed to.

Regardless of future episodes, as of now, I think that he could be a good villain if his constant failures in this episode make him more of a threat in his desperation, like a cornered animal. But for now, he's a poor man's Joker. In fact, Anarky kind of apes Heath Ledger's line delivery. Kind of. It gets worse later.

But even putting all that aside, I find in interesting that before the series began, Scott Thill, commentator for Wired magazine, praised idea of debuting Anarky on television. Thill said he was a pretty relevant character in the age of Occupy Wall Street and Anonymous. That's fair. But... this guy's not a freedom fighter. He's not the Guy Fawkes-esque, multi-layered character that would be relevant in this day and age. He's a poor man's Joker. He should be V.

A bit of a step up from "It's a really big deal!"
I could go on about how Anarky and Batman are mirrors of each other, the chess motifs, blah blah blah, but this episode was as subtle with its themes as a brick to the face. The hardware store had a checkered floor, the tramway had checkered walls, it was hard not to notice the chess themes when they were practically filling the screen.

Almost like... fine, I'm done.
But here's a parting thought. So, Batman deduced that someone was playing a metaphorical game of chess with him because Junkyard Dog happened to get a bootprint on his care that happened to contain pollen from the chess flower? What, was that Anarky's plan for taunting Batman? If not, then what was the deal with the flower? Why was it there? To be fair, Batman's plan to lure Tatsu into stealing his handprint and finding his study was just as odd. I guess Batman and Anarky really are mirrors for each other.

In short, it's the worst elements of the Riddler trying to ape the Joker. I'm not impressed.

I'll go over that green sword Tatsu had next time in "Safe." Speaking of Tatsu, in the next episode, it seems that Tatsu's past will finally be "revealed" to anyone who hasn't been reading her character background. But we'll see. This series likes to take its sweet time. See you then.

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