Batman: Bad Blood (2016) [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]


Bat people! Bat people! So many Bat people! Back when I was a young lad, there were only two or three Batman oriented characters. Now there is practically a whole legion of masked vigilantes by the time “Bad Blood” comes to a close. Who even needs the Gotham Police Force, anymore? It’s admittedly kind of ridiculous, but also kind of fun to see how many people have been influenced by The Dark Knight to keep going forward and fighting crime. Gotham needs as much as help as it can get, obviously, so why not have a Batgirl, a Batwoman, a Nightwing, and a Batwing, amiright?

When villains Electrocutioner, Blockbuster, Firefly, Killer Moth, and other criminals hold a man hostage, they’re interrupted and beaten by a brand new iteration of Batman. Named Batwoman, she’s a vigilante who works on her own moral code, and violates the primary principle of Batman’s mission. She uses many fire arms in her battles against powerful villains, prompting Batman to take immediate issue with her tactics. Surely, she’s a skilled warrior, but Bruce is conflicted on what to do about her. During the battle, Batman helps out Batwoman and is shot with tranquilizer darts in an attempt to save his new ally. Batwoman manages to escape mistakenly leaving Batman behind in an explosion. Two weeks later, Batman is nowhere to be found and many of his comrades are convinced he’s died. Absolutely desperate, Alfred calls upon Nightwing who begrudgingly steps up to the plate to take on the cape and cowl.

Meanwhile Damian Wayne returns as Robin to help out his mentor’s former protégé and figure out if Bruce Wayne is dead or just being hidden. Damian is still a cocky snot nosed little shit, but at least he’s willing to help out for the sake of the team and not to fulfill his own ego. So begins a massive mystery involving Bruce Wayne, Talia Al Ghul, the Mad Hatter, and a brand new villain named Heretic who is a definite force to be reckoned with. Much of “Batman: Bad Blood” revolves around Dick Grayson trying to take Batman’s place despite his bitterness toward Bruce, as Batwoman also tries to sort out her own tortured past and help find the inspiration for her quest to fight crime. “Bad Blood” is filled with a ton of characters and a lot of back story, but it is surprisingly a tightly written and well paced action thriller with a slew of twists and turns that kept me watching until the very end.

Along with the ace animation, the voice cast are all top notch, with most of the original cast from the previous films returning, including Jason O’Mara as Batman and Sean Maher as Dick Grayson/Nightwing. There’s also a fine turn by Morena Baccarin as Talia Al Ghul, and Yvonne Strahovski, who takes on the role of Batwoman. I really hope that “Bad Blood” carries these characters in to the next animated film, as it’d be a shame to see so many people established for nothing. Batwoman is a very fascinating character who is openly explored as a lesbian, while the introduction of Batwing offers a new sleeker hero of the Bat family who jumps in to the fray to avenge his father Lucius Fox. While the animated DC movies lost a lot when Bruce Timm stepped down, I still really enjoy the truncated adaptations of the Batman story lines that often translate in to entertaining action films in their own right.

The release from Warner comes with the Blu-Ray version and the DVD version of “Bad Blood,” as well as the Digital copy. There are two animated episodes from the DC Vault. There’s “Batman: The Brave and the Bold: The Knights of Tomorrow” and “Batman: The Brave and the Bold: The Criss Cross Conspiracy.” “Putting the Fight in Gotham” is a twenty six minute look at the making of “Bad Blood” with really good interviews with the cast and crew, and how the animators give Batman his movement during combat. “Expanding the Batman Family” is a thirteen minute look at the large cast of Bat heroes introduced in the movie. Finally there’s an eleven minute Sneak Peek at the new Animated Film from DC “Justice League vs. Teen Titans.”