Batman Beyond, which was set in the futuristic Gotham City of 2039, was the first Batman series to portray the hero as a teenager. The young caped crusader is under the tutelage of an elderly Bruce Wayne, who has his own share of psychological problems that were examined in this “darkest” of the Batman Animated shows that featured cyberpunk tropes and dealt with the dilemmas created by technological innovations and other themes that were “heavier” than the usual Saturday morning cartoons of the turn-of-the-century era.
The top tier vocal casts for the series and the feature-length Return of the Joker included Kevin Conroy, Will Friedle, Cree Summer, Frank Welker, Angie Harmon, Mark Hamill and Dean Stockwell, with numerous guest stars Paul Winfield, Stockard Channing, Johnny Galecki, George Takei, Seth Green, Patten Oswalt, Ice-T, and Pauley Perrette to name just a few. The 52-episodes of Batman Beyond were animated in South Korea, while the feature-length Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker was done in Japan by TMS.
Forty-one of the series’ 52 episodes were re-mastered from the original 35mm, and the re-mastering did result in a loss of about 3% of the screen image, but the enhanced detail and vibrant colors are a definite improvement. Because of damage to the original material, the other 11 episodes were “smart rezzed,” a process that does sacrifice horizontal lines for a clearer image. The episodes that were affected are: “Eyewitness,” “Final Cut,” “Last Resort,” “Armory,” “Sneak Peak,” The Eggbaby,” Zeta,” “Plague,” “April Moon,” “Sentries of the Lost Cosmos,” and “Speak No Evil.”
The release of this deluxe edition of Batman Beyond is part of DC and Warner Bros.’ ongoing celebration of the Caped Crusader’s 80th anniversary (see “DC Plans Global Celebration Events For Batman’s 80th”).