Batman: TAS – S1 – On Leather Wings

I will be reviewing the episodes of Batman The Animated Series in the order they appear on Google Play and the Blu-ray.

Gotham at night (get used to that) and the GCPD Blimp is patrolling the city. A young officer notices an object with bat wings fly past. An older officer suggests they fly above the clouds to take a look but they find nothing. Who or what could it be?

A few minutes later at Phoenix Pharmaceuticals we see a night watchman recording a voice over for an advert while he is doing his rounds. He is suddenly confronted by a mysterious bat like creature hiding in the shadows. The creature screeches at him and he drops his recorder in horror. The creature throws him through a window and he lands in the water below.

The next day its front page news “Giant bat injures night watchman” and “Gotham Police Declare War on Batman” because obviously it was him even though he has never done anything like this before. The most corrupt Detective on the force Harvey Bullock asks the mayor for a taskforce to take out Batman but Commissioner Gordon objects as he believes Batman is innocent. The mayor and D.A Harvey Dent back Bullock and they give him what he wants.

Batman feels he is being framed so he decides to find out who attacked the night watchman at Phoenix Pharmaceuticals and bring them to justice. Batman visits the crime scene and finds a few strands of hair and the night watchman’s recorder which has recorded the creature screeching. Bullock’s taskforce tries to stop Batman but I think you how that went (not very well for the task force).

Bruce Wayne visits a bat expert the “friendly” Dr March at Gotham Zoo, Bruce asks him to analyse the strands of hair and the recording of the screeching which he begrudgingly agrees to do. The Doctor’s daughter Dr Francine Langstrom introduces herself and her husband Dr Kirk Langstrom to Bruce.

Batman is in the Batcave trying to analyse the screeching himself but there are no records of it in the bat computers database. Alfred informs Batman that Dr March is calling for Bruce Wayne. Batman changes the tone of his voice, its higher pitched and really laid-back. The Doctor tells him that the hair is from a common brown bat and the screeching is two different animals, starlings and brown bats. Batman knows that the doctor is lying and he is going to find out why.

Back at the zoo Kirk burns the hair sample and the recorder. He then receives a visit from Batman. He explains to Batman that he has discovered a new formula to create a new species. A combination of a man and a bat you could say a Manbat. Kirk is addicted to the formula and turns into Manbat. He attacks Batman and they fight through the Gotham sky. The police in the GCPD blimp finally see Manbat and Batman; they call the police choppers to intercept them. The Commissioner and Bullock see the Bats fighting and the Commissioner tells Bullock the real criminal was the giant bat not Batman. Batman manages to cover Manbat’s eyes so he flies into a building and is knocked out.

Batman takes Manbat to the batcave and he discovers a cure for Kirk’s addiction to the Manbat formula. Rather than dropping Kirk off at the police station Batman carries the now cured Kirk to his lab at the zoo and leaves him in the care of Francine. So not only does Batman take care of Gotham’s Manbat problem but he also took care of the Langstrom’s Manbat problem, now that’s a real hero.

The real highlight of this episode for me was the way voice acting legend Kevin Conroy played both Batman and Bruce Wayne as two totally different characters. It was very similar to how the late great Christopher Reeve played Superman (confident with good posture) and Clark Kent (shy and bumbling) respectively.

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