I'm not a huge fan of the CGI Green Lantern animated series, but I must confess that the writing is pretty sharp and the show plays for keeps. So it is with cautious optimism that we glance at this 23-second teaser for Beware the Batman, a CGI Batman toon that will debut on Cartoon Network sometime in 2013. Ironically, that means that there will be no Batman cartoon of any kind on the air throughout 2012, meaning that the 20th-anniversary of Batman: The Animated Series will be celebrated by having a year without Batman on our televisions for the first time since 1996. Batman: The Animated Series ran from 1992-1995, The New Batman Adventures (which was Batman: The Animated Series with streamlined artwork) ran from 1997-1999, Batman Beyond (basically the future-world of the Batman: TAS continuity) ran from 1999-2002. Justice League ran from 2001 until 2004 and Justice League Unlimited (same show, new format and title) ran from 2004 to 2006. Its conclusion brought a close to the 14-year unofficial DC Animated Universe continuity (a world which also included the superb Superman: The Animated Series, the mediocre The Zeta Project and the often terrific Static Shock). The Batman (which was mediocre for 60% of its run and rather good for 40%) aired from 2004 until 2008, while Batman: The Brave and the Bold (which began as a lighter, brighter Batman show but evolved into an occasionally hyper-violent examination of the entire Batman mythos from 1939 to 2011) aired from 2008 until 2011.
The official synopsis of this new show promises a more involved Alfred Pennyworth and (this is promising...) the use of villains that haven't been exploited in animation up to this point. Magpie, Professor Pyg, Anarky, and Mister Toad have been name-dropped, and Robin is apparently being replaced by a young female 'swordstress' named Katana. With Green Lantern not quite measuring up for me (to be fair I have only watched 3 of 6 aired episodes), Star Wars: The Clone Wars on season-break hiatus after the god-awful Darth Maul ressurection episodes, and The Ultimate Spider-Man going to bat for the title of 'worst Spider-Man cartoon in at least 15 years' (it removes everything interesting about the Ultimate Spider-Man comic while making Peter into an entitled obnoxious little jackass), this is a dark time to be a 32-year old husband/father who still watches superhero cartoons. At least Young Justice is still delivering rock-solid character drama and engrossing narratives. Anyway, Beware the Batman is coming next year. Of course I'll sample it.You probably will to.