Review: ‘Batman: The Brave and the Bold Season One Part Two’
[[Batman: The Brave and the Bold]]] is just a fun television series that pays homage not only to the joyful comic books of the 1960s but crams in both story and characterization with a verve that is all too often missing from animated fare. Out this week is Batman: The Brave and the Bold Season One Part Two featuring episodes 14-26, which ran on the Cartoon Network between March and October 2009.
Clearly, the highlight of the two-disc collection is “[[[Mayhem of the Music Meister]]]!” with Neil Patrick Harris as the singing villain. The music is fun and bouncy and the story fresh. It was so well-regarded by the producers that they rushed out an eight-track CD soundtrack within a week of the episode’s debut.
The show is a romp through the DC Universe with most of the characters recognizable although they have been given some modern-day reimagining so Aquaman is a pompous doofus and Green Arrow is out to one-up his counterpart. My complaints about the show which I aired when the first set was released remain. Batman has too many gimmicks that fit the needs of the script and his cape converts to a jet-pack (I’d sooner have the dreaded Whirly-Bat). These are really quibbles as the show entertains with amazing consistency.
Batman’s versatility as a partner and team leader are on display literally across the universe (“[[[Mystery in Space]]]!”, on Rann), though time (“[[[Last Bat on Earth]]]!”), and in other realities (“[[[Legends of the Dark Mite]]]”). They’ve nicely captured Blue Beetle’s enthusiasm and learning curve while adding his puppy crush on the Huntress. It helps that many of the stories here come from the experienced minds of Paul Dini, J. M. DeMatteis, Adam Beechen, and Matt Wayne.
The classic rogues are nicely handled but the originals leave me cold, especially Babyface and his wife Mrs. Manface. We also have the overall arc of Equinox and the threat he poses to Batman and Earth until the final episode when things get a tad too cosmic. Similarly, “Duel of the Double Crossers!” features Jonah Hex in the thrall of Mongul, a gladiator in games that shows the gunslinger taking on some of the Female Furies. There’s also the odd “When OMAC Attacks!” which sends Batman, Hawk and Dove against the Controllers and the Warlords of Okaara.
Better are the smaller stories that focus on action and character as we see Robin operate once more with his mentor but having grown on his own, there’s some unease between the two.
The animation is solid, the voice casting spot on and the teaser/main story structure stuffs plenty of heroes and villains in every 22 minute episode. Unfortunately, the set comes with no extras which is a shame since there are no doubt great stories to tell about how some of these pairings and episodes came about. This set is well worth it for Bat-fans everywhere.