If it's crap ... We'll tell you
2008 was an odd time for the Caped Crusader in the media. THE DARK KNIGHT was the highest grossing movie of all time. Yet, at the height of this popularity, when Batman-fever would be driving newly curious readers to venture into the comic book stores, the Batman comic books were embroiled in "Batman R.I.P."; a storyline so convoluted that even the diehard fans were scratching their heads. Marketing-wise, it's
the very definition of bad timing.
Even more baffling is that Warner Bros. released a new Batman animated series that could not have been more opposite than the “Why so serious?” tone set by THE DARK KNIGHT. Granted, eversince Batman: The Animated Series ended Waner Bros tried to launch a Batman series aimed at younger kids- Batman Beyond didn't do it, and The Batman wasn't quite there either- but it's funny that right when the darkest version of Batman is all the rage they should get it right with BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD.
BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD is based on the long-running, on-again-off-again DC Comics series "The Brave and the Bold" which always featured two or more super heroes (usually one of them Batman) teaming up to solve a crimes or foil a super villains. Here the team-ups are more often than not with B-list and C-list superheroes, or many cases are de-aged so that Batman (perfectly voiced by Diedrich Bader) tends to take on more of the role of mentor. Even when the show features A-listers such as the Green Lantern and the Flash, it goes with the less popular incarnations, such as Guy Gardner and Jay Garrick,
rather than Hal Jordan or Barry Allen.
BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD is so much more colorful and lighter in tone than almost every Batman animated series since the 70's cartoon where he and Robin were partnered with Bat-Mite. B & B depicts the Dark Knight as more lighthearted and playful with a "dry, ironic wit" most similar to campy 1960s TV series Batman. In fact, in an interview the creator mentioned how as a kid we all (meaning me) watched the 60s TV show not realizing it was a joke. BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD is an imagining of what the further adventures of THAT Batman would be like. For all the old school fans who felt the Adam West cloudof dread lifted by the ultra-serious Batman of the movies and were ready to hate BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD, I got news for you: Do your history and you'll discover that this version of Batman is just as legitimate as Christopher Nolan's; more so, in fact because the stories are pulled from the comics AND he wears the official Batman costume.
BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD - Season One, Part One DVD set features the first thirteen episodes:
1) Rise of the Blue Beetles - featuring the new teenage Jaime Reyes version of the Blue Beetle but also a
little Ted Kord thrown in.
2) Terror on Dinosaur Island - it's tantamount to 'geek blasphemy' to admit that I've never really liked Plastic Man, but this episode turned me around on him
3) Evil Under the Sea - a verrrrry different take on Aquaman as a boisterous, larger-than-life thrill seeker. Not the least bit brooding
4) Invasion of the Secret Santas - ugh! Red Tornado in an episode I wouldn't have liked even with a character I don't hate
5) Day of the Dark Knight!6) Enter the Outsiders! - Black Lightning, Katana and Metamorpho all as teenage runaways. meh.
7) Dawn of the Dead Man!
There's been a lot of controversy
disk DVDs, even here you're only getting half of the full 26 episode season. A fair complaint since there seems to being no reason for it other than to make money off the anxious fans who don't take the time to notice they didn't just buy the whole thing. On the other hand, if there is another reason this was the perfect place for the cut-off. When the show originally aired, the 2-part storyline of episodes 12 &13 (the best ones here) felt very much like a season finale to me.
While I don't love BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD I do have a great fondness for this show. As with the last cartoon series, Batman tends to be more of a kung-fu gadgeteer than a genius-level detective, scientist, and strategist. But when it gets it right (at times much better than Grant Morrison does) it's a fun exploration of Batman's past and a welcomed breath of levity. Sadly, what I consider to be the best of the entire series
are waiting to be released on a Part Two DVD.
BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD - Season One, Part One DVD can be purchased here.