Writers: Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski
Directors: Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski
Release Date: 1992
Here's a secret, my favorite version of DC Universe did not originate comic books. It isn't the Post-Crisis Universe, the Pre-Crisis Universe or even the Dark Knight Returns Universe. My favorite version of the DC Universe is the DCAU. Starting with Batman the Animated Series in 1992 and ending with Justice League Unlimited in 2006, the DCAU was a shared continuity between DC television shows produced by Bruce Timm. Through the course of 14 years Timm explored pretty much every corner of the DC Universe and distilled DC characters into their most iconic incarnations. To celebrate this accomplishment, I decided to introduce DCAU Tuesdays into the Weird Science family of reviews/trash talk. And to begin at an appropriate place, I have decided to review the pilot for Batman the Animated Series; The Dark Knight's First Night. On with the show then..
Our episode begins with police sirens blazing on the distance and then transitioning into the Batman theme as we get closer to the scene of the action. Two crooks are standing there; one of them standing watch and the other smoking like the badass Eric wishes he was. Then a third one walks in, trips and falls to the ground, revealing all the stolen jewelry and money that the three had planed to steal. Above them a creature of the night flies bye. Enter the Batman...
In one hit, Batman turns the badass smoker into Guy Gardner and holding him by his red tie in his hand he stares at the remaining crooks straight in the eye. The camera then centers on Batman's face in such a way that two thoughts immediately spread to mind. First, that Batman's secret identity is actually the Tick. And second, that the two crooks must of shit themselves faster than Jim did when he couldn't find a toilet in the supermarket. Anyways, the crooks shoot at the Batman; and the Dark Night proves why he is a Super-Hero and not just some random vigilante by dodging every bullet. The dodges here are beautiful, by the way, Batman doesn't even have to take his arms outside of his cape.
Eventually, Batman decides that he is done messing around and jumps at them; knocking them down form a single tackle. One of them, has the nuts to stand up and shoot at Batman again; only to be disarmed by a single batarang. A fight ensues. Now, personally I think the fight goes for too long and the choreography is a little messy, but it works, because for the first time we can clearly tell that Batman is a naught, but a mortal man (a comic book mortal man that is).
As the police crash through the door, Batman stays only long enough to give a nod of acknowledgement to the good old Commish and then dives off into the night.
Bit's and Pieces:
As far as pilots go this one does everything that it needs to do; it introduces the main character and sets up the world he lives in. In fact, this pilot was so successful that parts of it were used in the opening credits of all future episodes of BTAS. That being said, the animation quality is comparatively lackluster and there is barely any story. Frankly, as fun as this mini-episode is there is not much point to re-watching it if you have literally any other BTAS episode available. So with that in mind; I give this pilot a 7.0/10. Tune in next week, for my review of the first actual BTAS episode: On Leather Wings.