The Cat and the Claw may have aired first, but this was the true series pilot. Heck, this is the episode that began the DC animated universe and it holds a special place in my heart. I still remember watching this for the first time and being completely blown away. This was like no other cartoon I had ever seen. It was like I was watching the debut of a new Batman movie and I knew that this new Batman cartoon was going to be something special. I just didn't realize how much of an impact it would have on me for years to come.
I really enjoy the introduction of Man-Bat in the episode. It rests well with me as the perfect gateway into some the supernatural corner's of Batman's universe without being too over the top. Man-Bat is obviously not the "grounded" type of villain you would expect in a Christopher Nolan movie, but he has a sort of nostalgic vibe like something out of a werewolf or Frankenstein movie that seems to fit perfectly with the shadowy tone established in this pilot.Then of course there are the obvious comparison to the Bat Man.And for the record, this is pretty much the pinnacle of Man-Bat's onscreen career.
As for other introductions, a pair of Harvey's made their debuts as well. Harvey Bullock would play a recurring role in the series, and although he made just a cameo, Harvey Dent would all too soon cross the line and become the villainous Two-Face.
While I wouldn't say this episode was slow paced, it was leisurely paced; it was nice that things were allowed to build slowly allowing Batman to demonstrate right of the bat (pun intended) his detectiving and evasion skills and not just his fighting abilities. Overall, this is just an amazing episode and one of the strongest starts to any animated superhero show. I love it today as much as I did on the day it first aired over 20 years ago.
Episode Count: 0536
Series Count: (2 of 81)
First Appearance: Harvey Bullock
First Appearance: Man-Bat
First Appearance: Harvey Dent (Two-Face)