X-Men ’97 Puts Extra Pressure On Upcoming Batman Series

By Zack Zagranis | Published

X-Men ’97 has been an incredible success for Disney, and for kids of the ’90s, the show is proof that we can go home again. Unfortunately, some fans are looking at how good X-Men came out and preparing themselves for the upcoming Batman: Caped Crusader to capture all of the same feelings. I, too, would love nothing more than for the series to recreate the magic of Batman the Animated Series, but maybe the fans should set their expectations a bit lower?

X-Men ’97 Raised The Bar

I’m not saying the show is going to be bad, but it’s unfair to compare it to X-Men ’97. X-Men ’97 picked up right where the old X-Men series left off with most of the same voice actors, a similar art style, and (so far) writing on par with the original. That’s a lot of pressure to put on Batman: Caped Crusader when it won’t do any of those things. It literally can’t.

RIP Kevin Conroy And Arleen Sorkin

Batman: Caped Crusader can’t pick up exactly where BTAS left off because that version of Batman went on to feature in several other DCAU properties, such as Justice League: Unlimited and Batman Beyond. It can’t have the same writing style because Paul Dini, the man who wrote all of the best episodes of BTAS, isn’t involved. Lastly, it can’t bring back the most important voice actors—Kevin Conroy and Arleen Sorkin have passed, and Mark Hamill retired his Joker—so it might as well not bother bringing any back.

Not A Direct Sequel Like X-Men ’97

x-men 97

Batman: Caped Crusader isn’t even connected to Batman the Animated Series the way X-Men ’97 is to its predecessor. If anything, Caped Crusader is a sort of spiritual sequel to BTAS, which, in this instance, just means the guy who drew the original is drawing this one in a vaguely similar style. I don’t even think it’s on purpose so much, as Bruce Timm just kind of has the one art style.

A Dark And Gritty Batman

batman the animated series

All I’m saying is, don’t look at the art style and assume the show will be anything like the one you grew up with. It won’t. The series’ three creators, Bruce Timm, Matt Reeves, and J.J. Abrams, have described the upcoming series as  “thrilling, cinematic, and evocative of Batman’s noir roots while diving deeper into the psychology of these iconic characters.

In other words, it’s going to be dark.

A Comic Book Legend

The fact that Ed Brubaker—famous for writing dark, true crime-style comics—is the head writer further supports the idea that this will be a pulpy, gritty take on The Dark Knight. And thank God because I, for one, hate how silly every screen incarnation of Batman has been since BTAS. Between the Nolan movies, the Snyderverse, and Matt Reeves’ The Batman, I’ve been waiting for someone to come up with a dark take on Batman. Oh, and to quote Homer Simpson, “I was being sarcastic.”

X-Men’97 Is A Near Perfect Comic Adaptation

x-men 97 reviews

One thing that X-Men ’97 really nails is the tone of the old X-Men cartoon. A slightly softened version of the comics with largely bloodless fight scenes. To be fair, the revival has been just the teensy, tiniest bit more mature—there’s been a drop or two of blood, and Wolverine said “damn” once—but it’s still nothing you couldn’t watch with your kids.

From The Writer Of The Killing Joke Movie

Do not expect the same thing from Batman: Caped Crusader. It’s been rumored that Bruce Timm is using the series to do some of the stuff he wanted to do with BTAS that the network vetoed. I’ve seen the two Batman projects Timm worked on without Paul Dini, The Killing Joke, and Batman and Harley Quinn, and frankly, I’m scared of what he’ll create given all of the freedom working for Amazon affords.

Potential For Complete Disaster

I’m not saying it will be The Boys, but Killing Joke features Batman hooks up with his adopted son’s girlfriend—in costume!—and Batman and Harley has a part where Harley assaults Nightwing and then later farts in the Batmobile. Yikes!

The bottom line is that X-Men ’97 is great, but don’t expect the same level of quality or nostalgia from Batman: Caped Crusader, or you’ll be setting yourself up for major disappointment.

robert downey jr

Subscribe For

Marvel News

Expect a confirmation email if you Subscribe.