Episode Number: 1
Season Episode Number: 1
Production Number: 101
Airdate: November 14, 2008
Writer: Michael Jelenic
Director: Ben Jones
Voices: Diedrich Bader (Batman), Will Friedle (Blue Beetle), James Arnold Taylor (Green Arrow), Marc Worden (Kanjar Ro), Dee Bradley Baker (Clock King, Gibbles), Jason Marsden (Paco).
Plot: The Blue Beetle's suit takes him and Batman to a world that is being enslaved by the evil Kanjar Ro. With Batman's help, the Blue Beetle must prove that he is a hero to those depending on him.
Review (Warning! Spoilers!): As the first episode of this new version of Batman, it is important for the writers to establish exactly who this Batman is and what he stands for. Right off the bat we see the Caped Crusader and a Golden Age Green Arrow tied upsidedown to a giant pendulum that is swinging over a giant vat of acid. Harking back to the Filmation, Super Friends and Adam West days, this Batman is about over the top superhero fun.
Batman is not the broody, angsty anti-hero that we have grown accustomed to with Tim Burton's Batman movies, Batman: the Animated Series, The Batman and Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight. And I must say that it is sort of refreshing to see such a drastic change in character for this series. Fans looking for something new have welcomed this series with open arms and fans of the old Bats still have the DVDs to fall back on.
Rise of the Blue Beetle! jumps straight into proving to us that this Batman completely different. Within the first few minutes after the theme song we see that Batman is a hero in the public eye, he is welcome to partnerships and even wishes to be a mentor of sorts to the Blue Beetle, and is totally accustomed to flying around in outer space.
The writing, while a bit more juvenile than we are used to in a Batman series, is still quite good. There is a solid story with plenty of action and a great introduction to the newest incarnation of the Blue Beetle, Jamie Reyes. Jamie's character is true to his comic book roots, especially his naive attitude toward being a superhero.
Kanjar Ro makes a reference to killing a previous Beetle. This is probably a reference to the original Blue Beetle, Dan Garrett, who used the Scarab's powers before Jamie. Many will think that Kanjar Ro is making a reference to Ted Kord, but Kord never used the Scarab's powers because it was broken when he found it.
And speaking of Kanjar Ro, it is great to see one of the Justice League's oldest foes in this modern setting, and with his gong too!
There is plenty here for children and adults alike. The kids will love this fun and adventurous Batman, the goofy teamups and all the explosions, and the adults will love all the in-jokes, the solid animation and the wonderful musical score. If I have one criticism of this episode, it is that Batman's character seems a little too 1-dimensional. But I'm sure this will be developed in the coming episodes.