“Off Balance,” is the story that introduces us to “The Society of Shadows,” as they are called in “Batman: The Animated Series,” We get to see Talia and Ra’s al Ghul and just how far reaching their power is.
The story begins with Twitch Batman’s underworld informant beginning to tell him about the Society before some Society agents take him out. From here Batman begins investigating them after a powerful drill is stolen from Wayne Enterprises by Vertigo.
Here is the assessment of the story:
Pros: Vertigo – Vertigo is like DC’s Baron Von Strucker. He has an eye patch with abilities and speaks with an outrageous German Accent, but is actually quite a big threat given it takes Talia and Batman to take him down. He is there to show that division within the Society and how they are not united and have a habit of division.
Talia Al Ghul – She is a femme fatale is in this but at least she saves Batman in the beginning, and she is one of the few to know his identity. She is largely competent though I would have expected them to write her better given she is the second in command of the Society of Shadows. Still better than “The Dark Knight Rises,” Talia.
Batman/Bruce Wayne – Is great in this. We get to see his investigative chops again and creative thinking, such as when he gets through Vertigo’s vertigo ability by closing his eyes and going by instinct. He also puts trust into Talia after she learns who he is (even if it is only for a time) which is more than can be said for most of his rogues and love interests.
Ra’s Al Ghul – Appears briefly at the end and is established to be the mastermind. His design is fantastic and the fact that he knows who Batman is gives him one over most of the other rogues. Liam Neeson’s was better though. Clearer agenda and personal connection to Bruce Wayne.
Okay: The music – It wasn’t terrible, just don’t have much of a memory of what it was. It was forgettable.
The story does a decent job introducing the Society of Shadows and establishing Talia and Ra’s as a threat…the problem is that the plan with the drill is never fully established and known and Veritgo’s agenda is also unknown. I get having mystery but too much mystery is what brought this story down. We don’t know anyone’s agenda which makes character drives weak.
Final score for this episode is 8 / 10.