Last year’s release of Batman: The Complete Animated Series from Warner Bros. Home Media was, to put it mildly, a Christmas miracle. With all 109 episodes on 10 Blu-ray discs plus animated films Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero plus 25 bonus featurettes plus 12 episode commentary tracks, it was a big, beautiful, nocturnal monster that any fan would be happy to call their own. But it’s the holiday season again—apparently, that happens every year—and once again Warner seems hell-bent on monopolizing our letters to Santa. This time from the far-flung future comes Batman Beyond: The Complete Series Deluxe Edition, and it’s every bit as glorious as its predecessor.
Starting in 2039—okay, technically it starts in 2019, but that’s just to give us some context—Batman Beyond tells the story of Terry McGinnis, a wayward youth who, under the reluctant tutelage of our own Bruce Wayne, revives the long-dormant Batman legacy. It’s a future as grim as it is exciting, complete with familiar faces (Barbara Gordon is now Police Commissioner), new twists (the street gang to beat is called the Jokerz), and good, old-fashioned corporate maleficence (resulting in Terry’s nemesis, the radioactive Blight).
Even more interesting is the show’s impressive pedigree. It was developed by veritable cartoon royalty—Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, and Alan Burnett—while it’s primary voice talent included Will Friedle as Terry, Kevin Conroy reprising his role as Bruce, and Cree Summer as Max Gibson, the future’s tech-savvy answer to Alfred Pennyworth.
Weighing in at only 52 episodes, it is considerably more concise than Batman: The Animated Series. Still, the show managed to make waves by both honoring and fiddling with Batman canon. The “Rebirth” two-parter starts strong, but it really hits its stride around half-way through season one with the return of Mr. Freeze (“Meltdown”) and a brand new take on the Royal Flush Gang (“Dead Man’s Hand”); season two’s standout closer manages to make Bruce’s dog Ace the focal point (“Ace in the Hole”); even the truncated third season shines while examining Batman’s complicated relationship with the Justice League (“The Call, Part 1” and “Part 2”).
Arguably the biggest cultural contribution of Batman Beyond was 2000’s direct-to-video feature Return of the Joker, which is also included. Full of narrative twists and turns—including a second big reveal after it’s big third-act reveal—it features the return of Mark Hamill as the titular Joker, while simultaneously putting a tragic spin on Tim Drake’s Robin.
Alongside the entire run of the animated series and this outstanding film, Batman Beyond: The Complete Series Deluxe Edition also includes four episode commentary tracks, 15 featurettes, and Digital Copy. Add to this a suite of real-world goodies like an exclusive metallic Batman Beyond Funko POP and four handsome lenticular art cards, and you’ve got another irresistible gift idea for the Batman aficionado on your holiday gift list.
Batman Beyond: The Complete Series Deluxe Edition is available now at an MSRP of $99.99 (though Amazon is currently selling it for under $80). Buy it today for a brighter tomorrow.
Review material provided by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. This post contains affiliate links. Inque is cooler than Catwoman. Fight me!