Beware the Batman Ep 4 Review: Safe
In this week’s, delayed, review of Beware the Batman: he fights ninjas, Bruce leaves the mansion to do his job, we actually see Tatsu doing her job, she also gets a crush, and Alfred has the badass moment I’ve been hoping for since the series was announced. All that and more from writer Mark Banker and director Sam Liu in Safe.
Dr Jason Burr has invented a device, the Ion Cortex, which will make the entire world more energy efficient and give the planet a surplus of energy in five years. But the Bruce Wayne hosted conference is interrupted by the League of Assassins, who wish to take Burr for nefarious reasons. Batman and Tatsu stop them and Bruce takes Burr to his place for the night to keep him safe while he tracks down who’s after him. Which doesn’t work out as planned as Tatsu must protect Burr against Silver Monkey as the security lockdown shuts Batman out of the mansion.
While last week I wanted them to get around to Tatsu becoming Katana, I’m content with this type of story. She gets to do something in the main plot, show off her fighting skills, and we get more hints to her past. We see she has a more violent streak, with her trying to kill several of the assassins, Batman stopping her, of course. Using that they establish Batman’s ‘no kill’ rule, and Tatsu’s general opposition to it which I imagine will be a bit more of a source of conflict between the two later on. She still thinks Batman is just a nut in a costume, but she also saves his life so she’s slowly coming around.
One thing they could use is Bruce Wayne being one of the last bastions of hope from a corrupt system. He mentions he doesn’t trust the police to protect Burr, which goes back to his comments in episode 2 about the justice system in Gotham creating Magpie. It seems he’s actively trying to make Gotham, and the world, a better place as Bruce and Batman. That’s something that doesn’t happen that much because writers want to do the ‘inept playboy’ with Bruce most of the time. If they do more of this then it would be a way to get Tatsu in on the action and explain why Bruce Wayne would need a bodyguard as skilled as a ninja or an ex-MI6 agent.
The League of Assassins was an interesting addition at such an early point. At the moment we only see Lady Shiva in charge but I imagine we’ll be getting Ra’s Al Ghul before the season is done. I love the addition of Lady Shiva; she’s been a favourite of mine since she appeared in the Batgirl comics. A truly dangerous woman who is one of DC’s top martial artists and able to beat Batman in a fair one-on-one fight, of course Batman never fights fair. So I hope to see a great fight between the two in the future.
Silver Monkey on the other hand was a new one to me, only appearing in about 13 issues in the mid-nineties. From what I could find he did train under Lady Shiva so there is a connection between the two already. In this he knows Tatsu and considers her a traitor. So she was in the League of Assassins and faked her death, taking the mysterious soultaker sword with her. Which probably means Batman’s speech of “Once you cross that line there’s no going back” is a little late. Tatsu also gets called Katana by both Silver Monkey and Lady Shiva; so that’s where the codename comes from when she eventually becomes a hero.
Now for the divisive part of the episode, Jason Burr. He’s very much the comic relief for the episode, having a rather stupid crush on Tatsu because she saved his life. I can tell that’s going to annoy a few fans because it can feel out of place in a story like this. However I found it funny, stupid as all hell, but I still laughed at it. I think it was just over the top enough to be more funny than annoying and it’s Tatsu’s deadpan annoyance at it all that really sells it. He even does the cliché “Stay with me! DON’T YOU DIE ON ME!” which made me laugh more than it had any right to. Even though I found it funny I can imagine it would put people off a little, and probably the main complaining point of the episode. Even though I liked it I really hope it doesn’t become a running gag if Burr appears again, that would wear a little thin.
The mansion’s security system was a rather curious thing to see. It was very big and dangerous, but also easily penetrated by the League before the full lockdown was initiated. That lockdown only made it harder for them to escape and even harder for Batman to get in, so maybe Bruce should work out a better system next time. I did like that he had to break into the mansion rather than just having a shutdown code, which wouldn’t be very secure at all. Also the Bat-computer is becoming another character in its own right at this point. It seems to have its own personality, helps Batman out at times, and even says a little “good luck” when he breaks through the lockdown in a way that was highly likely to get him killed. It’s a little weird having the Bat-computer talk back, but it does beat the neon flashing Batwave from The Batman.
Now my favourite part of the episode, even more so than Lady Shiva’s appearance, was something I’ve wanted since the announcement that Alfred was going to have a more active role and wielding guns no less. After four episodes we finally get to see that and it’s with a shotgun. Alfred’s not a duel pistol man, he should look like he’s from a John Woo movie like the first promotional image suggested, he’s a shotgun man. And looks badass doing it.
I’m letting my inner fanboy have some fun with that image. Though given that and the mansion’s security system having half a dozen missile launchers I don’t think this Bruce is as anti-gun as other versions. He’d obviously never touch a gun but I don’t think he’s that controlling to say no one should ever use them, especially when facing the League of Assassins. So long as they don’t try to kill anyone with them, obviously.
The fight scenes were pretty first rate for standard ‘Batman against ninjas’ fair. Even a motorcycle chase around Gotham, with the ninjas clearly not knowing how to properly ride motorcycles and fight since they got tossed around so much. With a Wilhelm scream for one of them as he fell off a bridge, too. It was also smart to have ninja mooks since they can reuse the same model and have a lot more enemies fight Batman.
The episode did get some good banter between Bruce and Alfred, something the show needs more of:
Alfred: “Perhaps you should search Dr Burr’s lab.”
Bruce: “Thank you, Alfred. You know I’ve done this before, right?”
Alfred: “And you’re getting better at it every day.”
And my personal favourite:
Alfred: “The ones that can dodge bullets are always a bother.”
This episode was Batman and Tatsu fighting ninjas and doing it well. Add in some fun dialogue, learning more of Tatsu, enjoyable comedy, and Alfred with a shotgun, this is a good episode for the show. It just needs to make sure there’s a decent payoff for everything that’s being set up.