Batman the Animated Series: Volume 2 and Superman the Animated Series: Volume 1
The 1990s were a golden era for intelligent, uniquely designed superhero animation series
Reviewed by Rick Klaw, Fri., March 11, 2005
Batman The Animated Series: Volume two
Warner Home Video, $44.98
Superman The Animated Series: Volume one
Warner Home Video, $26.99The 1990s were a golden era for intelligent, uniquely designed superhero animation series. Leading this generation of tales were the Batman and Superman cartoons from the Warner Brothers team headed by Bruce Timm. Influenced by the classic 1940s Fleischer Studios Superman, designer Timm purposefully rendered his 1992 Batman in a timeless, bleak art deco world with flying dirigibles, black-and-white TVs, and 1940s fashions. By contrast, Superman The Animated Series, released in 1996, was bright and colorful with futuristic architecture (influenced in many places by Frank Lloyd Wright); the series inspired a more utopian vision of the world.
Batman The Animated Series: Volume Two (volume one was released last summer) and Superman The Animated Series: Volume One are part of the DC Comics Classic Collection line, which presents the original episodes in chronological order. Both sets are handsomely packaged with lavish use of the animation art and filled with extras. The Batman set contains 28 episodes and Superman 18. Each has a commentary track for four episodes. The Batman set features three original documentaries and Superman two. Additionally, Superman contains a pop-up trivia track (similar to VH1's Pop Up Video) for one of the episodes.
The documentaries on both sets are a little superficial. Most of the information from these extras is easily gleaned by watching the shows. "Voices of the Knight," a piece on voice actors, is the exception. This fascinating look at the voices of the Batman universe not only introduces the actors, but also demonstrates how voice work is done in its relation to the animation. That Timm and company gave much consideration to both series is evident in the documentaries and commentaries. It is obvious from the commentaries that Timm is proud of his Superman work, but Batman was his first love.
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