After reviewing the entire first season of Batman: The Brave & the Bold, it looks like I am back for another season of that Silver Aged Guardian of Gotham. Outrageous adventure and more kooky villains await this reviewer every episode. We get twelve episodes to sink our teeth into and it looks like there will be some interesting plots for us to tackle this time around. Let’s go Boy Wonder, to the Batcave!
These twelve episodes of the Batman, Brave & the Bold are all over the map. As explained before, there is some minor continuity but pretty much we can jump into any episode we darn wish and not feel like we have missed anything. Remember, the setup is one two minute teaser, followed by a roughly twenty minute full length cartoon. Without further adieu, let’s look at this half of season two with four episodes of my choosing.
The first episode this season is Death Race to Oblivion. The teaser is an interesting one which involves a villain named Blockbuster who tries to steal a diamond but alas, Batman and Captain Marvel are there to thwart him. The main cartoon we see Mongul holding the fate of Earth in his hands as he forces the heroes (in this case, Batman, Green Arrow, Guy Gardner, Huntress, Plastic Man and Woozy Winks) and the villains (Black Manta, Catwoman, Gentleman Ghost, and Joker) take part in a deadly race.
This episode was a fantastic way to start out the season and anytime we can get Joker playing commentary for most of the race and Guy Gardner being corny and entertaining, we have a good time. It is one of those episodes where they throw a bunch of characters together but we get some really entertaining results. No surprises here, just a bunch of wholesome fun.
Then we touch on the episode, Sidekicks Assemble. The teaser is a flashback of a very young Robin, Speedy, and Aqualad who take on lots of villains in a simulation (think X-Men Danger Room) while their mentors watch on. In the main plot, the three sidekicks are back and join forces with Batman, Aquaman, and Green Arrow to go off to a couple of remote islands. There they will find themselves against Ra’s al Ghul and his daughter Talia who are up to no good.
Most people know I am a huge Robin fan. This is especially true when he is allowed to shine and not be treated as comic relief or fodder for Batman to play demanding father type against. Here, it kinda starts out that way but as the episode progresses, he is able to lead Aqualad and Speedy against some stiff competition and bring the show to a favorable conclusion. Also, check out the last scene, we will see Robin don the guise of a very famous alter ego.
Disc two provides more action when we look to A Bat Divided. The teaser is rather bland with Booster Gold becomes a contestant on Riddler’s gameshow. The prize? Saving Batman from doom. The main toon takes the Caped Crusader against Doctor Double X. A nuclear reaction goes wrong and two important things happen. One, Batman gets split into three different Batmans and also we witness the origin of the atomic superhero, Firestorm.
It was not too long ago that I had the opportunity to pick up a Firestorm action figure from this very series. Unfortunately, I ended up putting it back. I have read Flame dude off and on for a while and have really enjoyed his character. Here, they do play with the character’s origin but he stays true to the vision. The three Batmans were cliché (one is smart, one is strong, one is stoned and eats nachos) but were effective in moving the plot to its conclusion.
The final episode we will explore is a very important one, Chill of the Night. The teaser we get to see Zatanna and Batman thwart the likes of Abra Kadabra who is up to no good at a museum. In this cartoon, we then see the likes of Spectre and Phantom Stranger make a strange bet on Bruce Wayne’s soul. If Batman was to be given the information of the man who killed his parents, what exactly would he do with it? Bring the man to justice or kill him where he stands?
This is perhaps the darkest episode I have seen of Batman: Brave and the Bold. We actually see gunfire and the murder of Batman’s parents. We see Batman pushed to the limit of his mental capacities as Phantom Stranger and Spectre play angel and devil. Batman also unmasks in this episode for the very first time in the series. Furthermore, there are plenty of guest voices in this episode. Adam West, Julie Newmar, Kevin Conry and Mark Hamill all take part.
As one can probably tell, this is a very exciting twelve episodes. We get plenty of characters to play with on both the hero and villain side. Sure, there are a few silly villains to mess with like Fisherman and Kite Man but overall part one of the second season will produce plenty of thrills and good old fashioned Batman adventure. The show always has a wonderful balance of keeping Batman as an old school character but swapping in some modern day dynamics.
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 (Portuguese & 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, Spanish, Portuguese and French.
- Previews: Young Justice, Thundercats, Green Lantern TV Show, and Mad Season 1, Part 1
The series to this wonderful show actually ended recently. The final episode aired on August 8th, 2011. The next Batman show will return to a more serious tone, but I have certainly enjoyed this trip through this Silver-Age themed Caped Crusader. There will be two more sets of Batman: Brave & the Bold released before they make it through all sixty five episodes. I still am not in love with the way WB has decided to release these episodes but hopefully they will finish out the sets in short order.
Video and audio are as strong as the other sets in the series. Unfortunately, there are no extras in this set again except a few previews. Furthermore, the holey eco-case also rears its ugly head. At the end of these sets, I hope they think about re-releasing a mega set of all episodes. It would be ten discs, but I think that fans who held off during these parts would gladly pick up the whole thing at once. The show is brilliant and it is a Batman that many people have forgotten about but love just the same. Recommended.
Death Race to Oblivion!
Long Arm of the Law!
Revenge of the Reach!
Aquaman’s Outrageous Adventure!
The Golden Age of Justice!
Clash of the Metal Men!
A Bat Divided!
The Super-Batman of Planet X!
The Power of Shazam!
Chill of the Night!
Gorillas in Our Midst!