Saturday, July 19, 2008

I Am the Night



Season:
Episode Number: 34
Season Episode Number: 34
Production Number: 549
Airdate: November 9, 1992

Writer: Michael Reaves
Director: Boyd Kirkland

Voices: Kevin Conroy (Batman), Robert Costanzo (Harvey Bullock), Bob Hastings (Commissioner Jim Gordon), Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (Alfred Pennyworth), Marci Devon (Summer Gleeson), Brion George (The Jazzman), Melissa Gilbert (Barbara Gordon), Seth Green (Wizard), Loren Lester (Robin), Diana Muldaur (Leslie Thompkins), Sal Viscuso (Monk), Carmen Zapata (Judge Vargas).

Plot: The annual tribute to the death of his parents leads Bruce Wayne and Leslie Thompkins to the site of their death, an old theatre in Crime Alley. Batman questions his effectiveness in the city and his thoughts are confirmed when Wizard, a young street kid, claims that he doesn't need Batman in order to survive.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Gordon and his team of men have surrounded a building containing Jimmy "The Jazzman" Peake and his men and are ready to take them down when Batman shows up to do the job for them without asking their permission. The result is the Jazzman is taken into custody but Commissioner Gordon is taken to the hospital to treat a serious gunshot wound.

Batman blames himself for the attack, as does Harvey Bullock, while others like Alfred, Dick and Barbara try to explain that the work he is doing is good and that the city needs him. But Batman can't help but still feel responsible for Jim's condition.

Meanwhile, the Jazzman escapes from prison and seeks out the hospital where the Commissioner is resting in order to get revenge for putting him away. Lucky for everyone, Batman is there to stop him and Jim wakes from his coma to tell Batman to never stop doing what he is doing.

Review (Warning! Spoilers!): Batman: the Animated Series is filled with colourful and interesting villains that often Batman is overshadowed. The back story and character development for the villains is often the basis for the episode and Batman has to stand back as they get the spotlight.

Lucky for us there are episodes like this one that really get into the mind of the hero and let us relate to him. I Am the Night focuses on Batman's struggle with his job. Like everybody, too much work can make a person burnt out. Batman feels burnt out and under appreciated, something everyone has felt at one point or another.

Introducing the Dick Tracy reject, the Jazzman, was a smart choice for the writers as it left plenty of room for Batman's story to be told.

The animation is this episode is better than usual. While the animation for this show is generally better than the standard television series, it seems that the producers know which episodes are better than others so they give them to the better animation company. In this case it is Sunrise Animation, the company behind such great anime as Cowboy Bebop and the Gundam series. The acting supports the emotion filled voice work.

And speaking of voice work, Seth Green makes a cameo appearance as Wizard, a street punk who help Batman realize that he is doing something right.

DVD Releases:
  • Batman: the Animated Series - Volume Two
  • Batman: the Complete Animated Series
  • Batman: Gotham Knight (Two-Disc Special Edition)

  • Back to Episode Guide

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