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San Diego Comic Con: Mystery of the Batwoman Review

On Friday July 18th, at San Diego Comic-Con, Warner Bros. decided to have the world premiere of the new Batman: The Animated Series movie, Mystery of the Batwoman. After the movie there was an open Q&A session with Alan Burnett (story), Curt Geda (director), Kevin Conroy (Voice of Batman) and Michael Reaves (script).

The movie will be a direct-to-video/DVD, and will be released on October, 21st, 2003. You can Pre-order your copy at Amazon.

Warner home video describes the movie as:

?When a new vigilante in the guise of Batwoman appears in Gotham City, she is so ruthless and destructive that Batman feels compelled to stop her. As he tries to uncover her secret identity, he comes to realize that she has targeted a criminal consortium headed by Penguin, who is trying desperately to export a cache of high-tech arms out of Gotham City.

?Eventually, Batman comes to suspect that Batwoman is Kathy Duquesne, the spoiled daughter of criminal kingpin Carleton Duquense, who is Penguin's partner. But just when Batman thinks he's got the goods on her, evidence points to another woman, and then another. By the time Batman realizes who the mysterious Batwoman really is, she has been captured by Bane, whom Penguin has hired to oversee the export of arms. It's up to Batman to save her, defeat Bane and stop the shipment of arms before it leaves Gotham Harbor.?

I don?t want to spoil the movie, but I thought I?d try and voice my opinions without revealing any of the ?Mysteries.?
First of all, the movie is good. It?s worth both your time and your money when it comes out. The entire audience seemed to think so as well, as many people complimented the panel during the Q&A session. Do yourself a favor and preorder it now, you won?t regret it.

As the title indicates, the movie focuses on Batwoman quite a bit, and unfortunately many of the other characters get pushed to the side. Robin doesn?t play a big role, and even though Batwoman has a big part Batgirl is limited to a cameo appearance (albeit an amazingly funny one). Bane and Penguin, who were B-Level villains at best, don?t really get much of a spotlight in this movie.

Where the movie does shine, is in the portrayal of Batwoman and how Batman deals with her. They keep Batwoman?s secret identity a pretty good secret well into the third act. At San Diego, when it was finally revealed who she was, the entire crowd gasped. Nobody saw it coming, and hopefully when you see it nobody will spoil it for you either. The action is animated well, and is the same quality that you?d come to expect.

The downsides of the movie aren?t really downsides either. Sure the movie lacks a blockbuster villain like Joker or Catwoman, but adding a big name villain would have taken time away from Batwoman. Penguin and Bane play their parts well, even though they have small roles. The movie doesn?t seem to be on as big a ?scale? as Mask of the Phantasm or Return of the Joker. We don?t get any startling discoveries or final battles with the Joker. What we do get is a well told story that is pretty damn entertaining to watch. I can?t touch more on why the movie is good, without spoiling too much.

Basically the movie is similar to a longer and better normal episode, and that isn?t a bad thing. It isn?t a Batman movie to end all batman movies, but it isn?t trying to be one. It?s a welcome return to the characters that we haven?t seen for a few years, and hopefully it?ll mean we get a chance to see more of them in the future.

After the movie was over, there were a number of interesting questions asked at the Q&A.

I asked if Batman Beyond would make a return, since Batwoman?s bat symbol was very similar to Terry?s. Curt Geda basically told me no, and that Batman Beyond was done with.

The WB representative told us that they know we want DVD box sets, but they just aren?t sure what to do with them yet. She said we could probably expect Batman and Superman box sets sometime soon.

The panel told us that they picked a new voice for Penguin to get more of a ?big boss? feel.

Kevin Conroy mentioned that Mark Hamill was one of the most amazing voice actors he had worked with, and that he really just gets into the part of the Joker. When Conroy was asked why he used to do two different voices for Bruce Wayne and Batman, but later combined them into one, he said that it was a decision by the producers to give the cartoon a ?darker? feel.

A little girl asked Kevin Conroy to say "I am vengeance, I am the night, I am ? Batman!" Naturally he complied to the delight of the crowd.

Overall the panel was very friendly, and answered everyone?s questions. Hopefully next year, they?ll be another DC animated movie for us to enjoy as well!

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