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STUDIO: Warner Home Video
RATED: Not rated
SPECIAL FEATURES: None
Batman lightens up, goes retro.
Diedrich Bader: Batman
James Arnold Taylor: Green Arrow
John Di Maggio: Aquaman
Dee Bradley Baker: Clock King
Jeff Bennett: Joker
Kevin Michael Richardson: Black Manta
Will Friedle: Blue Beetle
Tom Kenny: Plastic Man
Greg Ellis: Cavalier
Grey DeLisle: Black Canary
and a shload of others
The Caped Crusader has given the Dark Knight a vacation as a lighter Batman is back in the house in a very retro-futuristic inspired take on the voluminous mythology. Also, Batman is getting some weekly tag team action with superheroes like Aquaman, Blue Beetle, Captain Marvel, Plastic Man and others.
It took me a while to get with The Batman, the most recent animated show featuring Batman, who has seen almost half a dozen variations over the last 20 years. But when I did I liked it. That show ended with essentially a Justice League weekly team-up final season, so it seemed a natural evolution for the newest incarnation for Bats to do the same. Things was, though, The Batman was great; Batman: TAS is simply iconic, and Justice League Unlimited an excellent extension of that series. So really, what was left? What new ground would there have been for a character who, if you go back to the ’70s, the Superfriends, etc, had been well covered before? The answer is to indeed go back, go retro, go with the Marvel Team Up formula. And most importantly, to lighten Batman up, because the Dark Knight had been done to death toon-wise. And that’s exactly what Batman: The Brave and the Bold does.
And it works, too. The cartoon has a delightful yesteryear quality to Batman. The styling and animation are a nice departure from the designs and tone of the most recent incarnations. Whereas TAS was very ’30s in style, this one goes for more of the vibrant colors and style of the swinging ’60s. You half-expect them to have dug up Caesar, Burgess, Frank and Julie (yeah, she ain’t dead, but have you seen her lately…?) to voice the characters. It’s also punctuated by very thick lines for definition.
And in terms of the characters, they have dug up some guys who haven’t been seen in decades. I’m old enough to barely remember the old Plastic Man cartoon, and it’s a trip seeing him portrayed here, very much like he was back in the day. They’ve dusted off Kamandi, Guy Gardner, Jay Garrick, Adam Strange…and friggin’ Bat-Mite. Holy New Adventures of Batman, Batman… I almost couldn’t believe it when I saw it the first time. So yeah, the show is very reverential to Silver Age comics, prior Batman animated incarnations, and even the Batman ’60s TV show. It also features a dual format where there’s a short opening adventure with Batman and a hero against a villain. Usually it’s separate from the main story, and a way to explore if a sometimes very obscure character would work in a larger adventure.
The episodes offered here are as follows:
– Episode #14 – “Mystery in Space!” – Opening: Batman and the Question vs. Equinox. Main: Batman, Aquaman and Adam Strange vs. Gordanians on Rann
– Episode #15 – “Trials of the Demon!” – Opening: Batman and the Golden Age Flash vs. Scarecrow and Scream Queen. Main: Batman, Sherlock Holmes, Etrigan vs. Jim Craddock.
– Episode #16 – “Night of the Huntress!” – Opening: Batman and Black Canary vs. Solomon Grundy. Main: Batman, Blue Beetle II and Huntress vs. Baby-Face and Mrs. Man-Face.
– Episode #17 – “Menace of the Conqueror Caveman!” – Opening: Batman and Wildcat vs. Bane. Main: Batman and Booster Gold.
– Episode #18 – “The Color of Revenge!” – Opening: Batman and Robin vs. Crazy Quilt. Main: Batman and Robin vs. Crazy Quilt
– Episode #19 – “Legends of the Dark Mite!” – Opening: Batman and Ace the Bat-Hound vs. Catman. Main: Batman and Bat-Mite.
– Episode #20 – “Hail the Tornado Tyrant!” – Opening: Green Arrow and Batman vs. Joker. Main: Batman & Red Tornado and a Tornado-bot.
– Episode #21 – “Duel of the Double Crossers!” – Opening: The Outsiders vs. Despero. Main: Batman and Jonah Hex vs. Mongul.
– Episode #22 – “The Last Bat on Earth!” – Opening: Batman and Mr. Miracle. Main: Batman and Kamandi vs. Gorilla Grodd.
– Episode #23 – “When OMAC Attacks!” – Opening: Batman and Hawk & Dove. Main: Batman and One Man Army Corps (OMAC).
– Episode #24 – “The Fate of Equinox!” – Opening: Batman and Two-Face vs. henchmen. Main: Dr. Fate and Batman vs. Equinox.
– Episode #25 – “Mayhem of the Music Meister!” – Batman and Black Canary vs. Music Meister. Musical episode.
– Episode #26 – “Inside the Outsiders!” – Opening: Batman and Green Arrow vs. Catwoman. Main: Batman and the Outsiders vs. Psycho-Pirate.
Considering that they even go so far as to have a musical episode fer chrissakes, and that the toon features clever and action-packed writing, as well as a delightfully dry-witted Batman, there’s a lot to like about Batman: Brave and the Bold.
Episodes look great. Sound is similarly crisp in English and Spanish Dolby Surround. No special features.
Rating: Out of a Possible 5 Stars
Out of a Possible 5 Stars