It’s the ultimate in villain-thwarting, Gotham-saving superhero action as the Dark Knight stars in 13 all-time fan favorite Batman animated episodes! Together for the first time on DVD, these are the very best episodes chosen from multiple animated Batman series. In “Bane,” Batman faces the double threat of chemically enhanced uber-assassin Bane and crime boss Rupert Thorne. Then, “Avatar” finds the Dark Knight battling an ancient Egyptian sorceress unleashed by the fiendish Ra’s Al Ghul. In “Mad Love,” bad girl Harley Quinn falls for the Joker, with complications for the Caped Crusader that are definitely no joke. And that’s just the start of the richly animated, non-stop thrills loaded into this must-have collection featuring the best of the Bat!
Review (by James Harvey):
I don’t know if I’d call this “The Best of Batman.” Given the episodes on here, this seems more like a DVD release to tie into the theatrical The Dark Knight Rises movie than anything else. Now, don’t get me wrong, we do get some really good episodes in here, but I wouldn’t call what’s included here the best of the best. In my opinion, there are some better Batman cartoons that could be plunked on here. Everyone has their own opinion and chances are the “best” episodes included here aren’t going to be the favorites of everyone who picks this up. What you do get from this release is a nice selection of Batman adventures that range from average to fantastic! Thankfully, no real stinkers are included.
The episode selection makes it pretty clear this is more of an impulse buy for those excited about The Dark Knight Rises. We get a couple Bane episodes, a couple Catwoman episodes, a couple Joker episodes and one focused on Ra’s Al Ghul and another on Gordon. Mixed in with those are some actual ‘best of’ episodes. I sincerely doubt an episode like “Cult of the Cats” is on the top of anyone’s ‘best of’ list, but it features Catwoman so...it’s included. Why not include something like “Catwalk?” I suppose “Cult of the Cat” plays up the thief angle a bit more.
And what are the episodes? This release includes “Off Balance,” “Bane,” “Old Wounds,” “Cult of the Cat,” “Legends of the Dark Knight,” “Avatar,” “Over the Edge,” “You Scratch My Back,” “Mad Love,” “Heart of Ice,” “A Matter of Family,” “Joker’s Millions,” and “I Am The Night.”
Another bizarre thing – “A Matter of Family” is included. Now, don’t get me wrong, that episode is likely the best episode of The Batman, but it’s also the only episode of The Batman included here. Why include it? 12 of the 13 episodes are from Batman: The Animated Series ... why not have the whole collection be from that one show? It’s just a weird thing for Warner Home Video to do. If they wanted to include all different Batman shows, they should have gone all out. Heck, include that Superfriends episodes which features The Scarecrow and Batman relives his parent’s death? That would be an awesome episode to have in this set! But what we get here is nothing to scoff at. Every episode is enjoyable, some more than others, and worth watching. We get some real gems like "Heart of Ice," "Mad Love," "Over the Edge," and the divisive "I Am The Night. " But, to be honest, I enjoy all the episodes on here, so everyone is worth a spin! However, this is coming from a huge Batman: The Animated Series fan (obviously), so your mileage may vary. Still, a solid and fun collection of episodes.
It’s a fair collection in terms of presentation. The audio and video is on par with the previous releases featuring these episodes and the packaging is nice (though the artwork is oddly comic-inspired, weird given the content). For the type of release, it looks good. If I have any complaint, it’s the horrible new standard menus Warner is starting to implement on their home video releases. The terrible buttons, the generic menu screens and bland text – it looks so, so cheap. Just look at those menu screens above. Simply awful. Everything else is just fine about this release, except those menus.
I suppose if one is looking for a good sampler of episodes – a mix of genuine ‘best of’ episodes and those featuring characters from The Dark Knight Rises - this is a good place to start. The price is cheap enough that it won’t make any real dent in your wallet. With the Batman: The Animated Series collections still going for around their original retail price, this might be a fine alternative for those looking for a small taste of some of the best Batman animation out there. That being said, this is strictly a release for casual viewers and the die-hard Batman fans. Nothing new is brought to the table here. The episodes are in the same condition as their original assorted DVD releases and there is no new bonus content to speak of. I would Recommend it to those who don’t own any of the previous DVD releases and just want some Batman cartoons, or if you’re looking for a quick impulse buy to appease the kids (of course, you could pick up the new Batman: The Brave and The Bold release for the same price...), but this can be skipped without the worry of missing anything.