I don’t hate Beware the Batman. However, I also don’t love it, and “Hunted,” the show’s first episode, doesn’t really give me much hope that I’m going to love the series by the time I reach its end. The episode focuses on Professor Pyg and Mr. Toad’s attempt to hunt down Gotham businessmen and make them pay for disrespecting nature in the course of their business dealings.
I’ll gladly admit that I wasn’t the biggest fan of Grant Morrison’s Professor Pyg and Mr. Toad when they first appeared in Batman & Robin back while Dick Grayson was in the cowl. But even I can see that the villains have been clearly mishandled for this show, with their motives and M.O. being switched to make them eco-terrorists. I understand that this is a children’s program, and being true to the characters would have undoubtedly been a bit more adult than something Cartoon Network would be willing to feature on such a program, but in that case, why feature the characters at all? If you wanted eco-terrorism, why not use Poison Ivy, or some other character who actually fits the bill for that?
While I wasn’t thrilled with Pyg and Toad, I did very much enjoy the way this series treats Alfred. I’m a big fan of Batman: Earth One, so seeing an interpretation of Alfred that’s more in line with the younger, Ex-MI6 Pennyworth we meet in that comic was enthralling. Unfortunately, he gets sidelined with a broken ankle toward the end of this episode, and it doesn’t look like the injury is going to heal quickly enough for him to be a part of the show’s action again anytime soon.
Overall, “Hunted” is not a bad first chapter to Beware the Batman, but it also is not a great one. It introduces us to a show that certainly has potential to be an interesting look at the Batman universe, but definitely needs to up its game if it wants to be remembered as one of the better interpretations of the Bat-lore.