Some of you might remember my review of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, the first thirteen episodes which can be found here. I found it to be a great little series that was rich in its roots. Well, six months have passed and we finally get a chance to look at the next thirteen episodes. With a little bit of luck, maybe they will be just as good if not better than our first look into the series.
When we last left the Batman, he had taken part in a two part episode where he was having a lot of trouble with the villain known as Owlman. In order to restore balance to the world, Batman had to not only become Owlman but then turn around and partner with the Joker to defeat Owlman who had donned the cape of Caped Crusader. Wrap your head around that one. Anyway, all is safe and we continue on to the next set of thirteen episodes.
One will notice a very familiar style to this set. We open with the classic two minute teaser followed by a full length cartoon that goes about twenty minutes. Typically for the teaser, we would get a villain or super-hero buddy that Batman isn’t commonly with. As explained before, to test the waters. An example of this would be the Black Canary, a female who has the power to emit a piercing scream. She works with Batman to stop Solomon Grundy in the episode 16 teaser. As fortune would have it, she later returns in full episode 24 to help out with defeating the Music Meister.
The show doesn’t stop with one or two super-heros to help out Batman either. It runs a full gambit from Adam Strange to Red Tornado to Aquaman to Sherlock Holmes. Yes, you read that right. The Caped Crusader actually travels back in time to team with Holmes (and Watson too) to take on Jim Craddock (better known as the Gentleman Ghost) and the demon, Astaroth. They threw in Jason Blood (Etrigan the Demon) as well. As I mentioned before, Robin is used sparingly but does show up in episode 18 as they take on Crazy Quilt.
Jonah Hex shows up in another episode as well. Villains are also numerous and go from the silly such as Babyface and Mrs. Man-Face to those that have a little more serious tone such as The Equinox. Let me stop on the Equinox here. Equinox serves as a reoccurring villain in this set. He first appears in a teaser in the 14th episode only to show back up in the 23rd and 26th full episodes as the central villain. His aim seems to be setting the balance between good and evil. However, in this goal he not only goes against Batman but at times oddly helps the Dark Knight.
It is an interesting paradox and sets up a well done story. That’s what we see time after time in this show is some clever writing and a ton of different and well executed characters to support Batman. Some of the stuff is silly, it is hard to take an episode seriously where there is a villain with five o’clock shadow and wears a dress. But more often than not, the episodes have depth and transcend far beyond the silver age era which it is intended to emulate.
It might also be just me, but these thirteen episodes at least in a small part take on a slightly more mature tone. The Sherlock Holmes episode in particular had demons and people who took on a catatonic state which basically looked like death (until the souls were returned). The show played the fine line between a kid’s animated show and something more mature. It was welcomed by this reviewer but at the same time might be questionable by a few parents.
The video is framed in 1.78:1 widescreen presentation. As with the rest of the cartoon, the video has a very Silver Age feel to it. So, unfortunately it comes down to personal preference. The animation is clean and most fans will be happy with the color palette. I’m not so happy with it personally, but I like my Batman dark and gritty as previously explained and this is a little toon-tastic for my tastes. But overall, it does the job.
For the audio portion, we get a 2.0 English Dolby Digital Track (French & Spanish mixes also included). Truth be told, I was expecting a 5.1 track since that since to be the norm for major cartoon shows these days. However, this 2.0 track has more life to it than many of the fancier tracks. Building explode, punches fly, and sound effects actually move from left to right and back again. It is definitely a fun track. Subtitles are included for English and French.
- Preview: All-Star Superman
A little bit of update on the series, it is ending its run but it appears that the number of episodes has been revised a bit from my previous mention, 65. Which basically accounts for 2 and a half seasons. We are only 26 episodes in, so that means a lot more of Batman: The Brave and the Bold to go. I, for one, hope to be reviewing the rest of the episodes as I have really enjoyed the run so far. The stories have variety and there is a lot of interesting characters yet to be explored. The audio and video are very good, I just wish there were some extras to explore. That aside, this set is highly recommended and should be enjoyed by all.
Mystery in Space
Trials of the Demon
Night of the Huntress
Menace of the Conqueror Caveman
The Color of Revenge
Legends of the Dark Mite
Hail the Tornado Tyrant
Duel of the Double Crossers
The Last Bat on Earth
When OMAC Attacks
The Fate of Equinox
Mayhem of the Music Meister
Inside the Outsiders