There is a teaser trailer that lasts less than 30 seconds currently circulating on YouTube for the forthcoming Beware the Batman, the latest CGI offering from Cartoon Network. I'm not posting it because it doesn't address the issues I want to talk about.
My brother was visiting today for the holiday and we shared information on what we knew. Prepare to cringe.
*Alfred is packing a gun. The idea is that Alfred Pennyworth, in this version, is a former secret agent before signing on as a butler to the Wayne family. For years, Batman has been presented as having no use for firearms, even though he actually did wield a gun early on in the Golden Age. So why have Alfred packing heat? Not only that, but instead of remaining confined to the Batcave, Alfred is actually accompanying the Dark Knight, based on what I've been told. Something tells me we won't be seeing much, if at all, of Bruce Wayne on this show, which would be two consecutive Bat-series.
*Batman's sidekick, at least for now, is Katana. The Japanese swordswoman was introduced back in the 80's in the first volume of Batman & The Outsiders, and more recently was a member of the Birds of Prey. Coincidentally, DC announced in their February 2013 solicitations that Katana would star in her own series. Hmmm. Y'don't suppose that Beware will be on the air by then?
*As of now, the classic villains, such as Two-Face, the Riddler, Catwoman, & Joker, the latter front & center in a current DC story arc in the Bat-books, are not scheduled to appear. Given how Joker was horribly handled on The Batman, miscast as a barefoot, dreadlocked sort, maybe it's just as well. Instead, Anarky, who was introduced in the comics in the 90's, is the central villain. That merits a......
Actually, this shouldn't be a surprise, considering that one of the producers on the show is Mitch Watson, the man who has single-handedly ruined Scooby-Doo for a lot of fans the last couple of years with his revisionist retconning. Clearly, Watson is a fanboy whose roots are in the 80's, but by ignoring Robin and Batgirl, he's removing a large chunk of the Bat-mythos, and for no other reason than to put his own stamp on another icon that doesn't need this sort of abuse.
Look, I get that Watson thinks the viewers are tired of the Joker and Catwoman. The truth is, they're also a big part of Bat-history. Catwoman, one would think, would be a hot commodity again after the blockbuster success of "Dark Knight Rises" earlier this year. I've never met the guy, but so far, I've gotten nothing but bad vibes out of his work. Bear in mind, CN screwed viewers by scheduling Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated on weekday afternoons for season 2, as if they're saying they're just washing their hands of the show, but if that were a reason, why give Watson another iconic character to mess with?
The CGI looks nice, but the writing, if it isn't solely Watson (pray there are others involved), needs to be first-rate. The DC Nation block is on hiatus from CN, and they're not exactly forthcoming with the rationale on why, be it ratings or something else, though they're airing reruns of Young Justice on Boomerang lately to appease angry fans. However, the comics version of that series is ending, also in February. Clearly, Beware the Batman is being posited to move into the block, if not to expand it, but to replace Justice, but CN is remaining coy about their plans.
Those of us who've been detractors of Watson have but two words for supporters and fans anticipating Beware:
Caveat emptor. I will paraphrase the translation: Let the viewer beware.