Animated cartoon produced by Paul Dini. Set about 40 years in the future, Bruce Wayne had to give up being Batman years ago after suffering a heart attack while trying out a new high-tech Batsuit. As a predatory corporate raider named Derek Powers works to take over more of Wayne's company, his long-buried secret identity is discovered by a troubled teenager named Terry McGinnis. And after McGinnis' father is murdered by Powers, Terry takes the high-tech suit out of mothballs to go after the killers. Afterwards, Wayne hires McGinnis as an assistant and offers assistance and technology as the new Batman takes on bizarre criminals like Inque, Curare, Shriek, the Royal Flush Gang, Spellbinder, Mad Stan, Blight (a highly-radioactive Derek Powers), and the Jokerz street gang (inspired by a certain long-time Batman villain).

The new Batsuit is a solid black outfit emblazoned with a red bat-logo. It completely covers Terry, including his entire face. It increases the user's strength and speed, gives him a limited ability to fly, and includes lots of gadgets, including mini-rockets and built-in Batarangs. The new costume also lets him stick to walls and ceilings, has a camouflage mode that makes him nearly invisible, and is fairly bulletproof. Wayne monitors McGinnis from the Batcave to offer advice and research clues.

Like the regular Batman cartoon, the animation is top-notch, and the writing, dialogue, and action are much better than the average superhero cartoon. Half the fun is noticing the little tidbits that are occasionally dropped about whatever happened to various old characters. Barbara Gordon, who was once Batgirl, is now the police commissioner, Bane is a drug-addled vegetable in South America, and Mr. Freeze's cryogenically preserved body allows him to make an occasional guest appearance. Of course, we haven't yet found out what happened to Robin, Nightwing, Commissioner Gordon, Alfred...or the Joker...

Bruce Wayne is voiced by Kevin Conroy, who also does the Dark Knight's voice on the regular Batman cartoon. Will Friedle is the voice of Terry McGinnis.
Batman Beyond is a Spiderman analogue. He is an angst-ridden teen with superhuman abilities (in McGinnis' case, conferred by the armor he wears) who fights crime in secret, and suffers for his time spent doing so instead of getting good grades or being around when his girlfriend wants him to be.

The animators and writers involved in the show know this perfectly well. If you watch carefully, you can catch many visual hints and in-jokes that tip their hand. From the three-frame, primary-color dancing scene at the nightclub in the opening credits (which is almost a shot-for-shot from the 1960's Spiderman cartoon) to a number of the poses McGinnis strikes, they show up in pretty much every episode.

No aspect of the show makes this more obvious, though, than the villains he contends with. The Spellbinder is essentially Mysterio. Inque is a female Venom. The Terrific Trio are the Fantastic Four minus one. Etc.

It seems, though, that the similarities (at least in terms of the artwork) are meant more as fun-loving pokes and tributes more than anything else. The show is too well-made and skillfully executed to be relegated to the nasty realm of the knock-off.

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