Batwheels is headed to Cartoonito on HBO Max and Cartoon Network later this year, but DC is introducing fans to the new crew of characters and setting the stage for the series in the special episode Secret Origin of the Batwheels. As its name implies, Secret Origin of the Batwheels reveals what led to the creation of the Batwheels and their lineup of villains, but also establishes the lighthearted tone and slick visual style fans can expect from the full series. While I can't judge the full series just yet, the Secret Origin of the Batwheels cheerfully lays the foundation for the series to come and delivers thrills and laughs with a stellar voice cast, and it's all wrapped with an adorable yet sleek visual style that all Bat-fans should enjoy.
Fans are quickly introduced to the Bat Family and their vehicles through a chaotic and colorful chase through Gotham City, and the stellar visuals and cartoonish character designs immediately catch your eye. There's definitely a Pixar-meets-Fast-&-Furious vibe in Batwheels, and so far, it works brilliantly and should be a hit with its target audience.
You'll also quickly run through the various characters and voice cast, and while it always takes a minute to get used to a new version of these iconic characters, the cast knocks it out of the park, with impressive work from Ethan Hawke (Batman), Jess Harnell (Penguin), Regi Davis (Mr. Freeze), and more. That said, the true heart of the show reveals itself when the Batwheels crew finally makes their way into the spotlight.
Soon, fans meet BC (standing for Bat Computer) and Moe, who keep things running at the Batcave, and, not too long, after Jacob Bertrand's Bam (stands for Batmobile) is introduced and it's difficult to see the character (and this particular Batmobile design) not being a hit. The character of Bam is endearing and heroic, and the fun ramps up once the other characters and their personalities are brought in. Bam, Redbird, BB, Buff, and Batwing all feature modern designs that all feel contemporary and cool while also feeling unmistakably Batman, and it won't be long before every fan has a favorite (though Buff is unquestionably the best and I won't hear anything of it).
The villains have their moment to shine, too, yet I wasn't quite as taken with them as I was the heroes. More time with them should change that, though, and I enjoyed that the human characters still play a role in the series and that they aren't aware the vehicles are sentient. There's even a lovely message about discovering your inner hero and comparing yourself to others, which is perfect for the age range the show is aiming for but is also something parents who watch with their kids can appreciate.
As far as toys, those should happen ASAP, and if they do happen, please have them go into superhero mode as well, which gives the Batwheels their own masks, as the switch is so perfectly executed in the show.
Secret Origin of the Batwheels knows what it wants to be and delivers on that promise with slick designs, charming characters, and colorful action that's full of fun, and the full series can't get here soon enough.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Secret Origin of the Batwheels premieres on Cartoonito on HBO Max on Batman Day, September 17th.0comments