Batman: The Animated Series 25th Anniversary #1: On Leather Wings

Batman: The Animated Series, what more can you say about this classic show that hasn’t already been said? It’s an epic masterpiece of a television show that has been often considered to be the Dark Knight at his absolute best.

It was a great show, it gave us the definitive Batman we’ve known from the comics and it found a way to not talk down to kids and still be an enjoyable series. Batman: The Animated Series is still the best animated superhero series I’ve ever seen. It’s a hard show to top and it helped Bruce Timm to create a great stretch of series based of DC’s most beloved characters from this point on.

It’s hard to believe that this year will be the 25th anniversary of this epic series and so for that anniversary, I figured, what the hell? Let’s do a special retrospective looking at every episode of Batman: The Animated Series from beginning to end.

So, for the next 109 days, each for the number of episodes there were, we’re going to be looking at every single episode of Batman: The Animated Series. So, without further ado, welcome to episode #1 of our Batman: The Animated Series 25th Anniversary retrospective:

Let’s begin with the first produced episode, On Leather Wings, first aired on September 5, 1992 with a script by Mitch Briand and directed by Kevin Alteri.

Batman on leather wings.jpg

A mysterious bat-like creature terrorizes Gotham City, causing the police force to pursue Batman. The Dark Knight must find the real perpetrator to clear his name.

Maybe not the overall best episode for the series to start on but as far as an episode goes, it’s a really solid one.

The animation on this episode alone is downright incredible, this is TMS animation at its’ absolute best and it looks amazing. Their attention to detail in the scenes is phenomenal.

I really do appreciate that they went with a lesser known villain at the time in Man-Bat as the first main villain to take on Batman and Marc Singer, best known for his roles in Beastmaster and V, is perfectly cast as Kirk Langstrom. The design work on Man-Bat is impressive as all hell.

An interesting note about this that a lot of people may not know that this is one of only three episodes where Alfred is voiced by an entirely different actor than what he’d sound like for the majority of the run, Clive Revill plays Alfred in those episodes while Efren Zimbalist Jr. later replaces him for the majority of the run.

The voice cast alone is very good, Kevin Conroy’s Batman is off to a very good strong start, maybe my favorite scene in the entire episode is where Batman gets a call from Dr. March and he changes back into his Bruce Wayne voice while he’s in the batsuit, not only is it a really funny scene but it also shows why Kevin Conroy is such a master at doing the voice of Bruce Wayne because he finds a way to differentiate his voice so well that not even Christian Bale or Ben Affleck could do.

On Leather Wings definitely begins the series on the right note with its’ impressive visual style, spectacular animation, great music by the late Shirley Walker, and great voice work, it stars Batman: TAS on the right note and it would only get better and better from here.

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