There have been a number of animated series featuring Batman, including Super Friends, Justice League, The Batman and what has become the gold standard of Batman series – Batman: The Animated Series. The current series is Batman: The Brave and The Bold and like the comic that it draws its name from it features Batman teaming up with various heroes from the DC Universe.
The series harks back to its Silver Age roots and is definitely campy, but very entertaining. Each episode starts by showing the end of an adventure, the opening credits, and then a full length adventure with a hero to team up with. The heroes for this batch of episodes include The Question, Adam Strange, Aquaman, The Demon, Sherlock Holmes and Watson, Black Canary, The Huntress, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Wildcat, Robin, Ace the Bat Hound, Bat Mite, Green Arrow, Red Tornado, The Outsiders, Jonah Hex, Mr. Miracle, Kamandi, Hawk And Dove, OMAC, Dr. Fate, and more. Their adversaries include Gorilla Grodd, Two Face, The Music Meister, Scarecrow, Scream Queen, The Gentleman Ghost, Catwoman, Babyface, Mrs. Manface, Solomon Grundy, and Bane to name only some.
I definitely like that they do a teaser with an adventure, but truth be told, sometimes the teaser seems to be more interesting than the rest of the episode. But this allows producers to get even more characters to team up with Batman, and we’re not even talking about well-established characters like Superman, Flash, or Green Lantern; the adventures involve B-Z list characters.
To date no series has been able to surpass the brilliance of Batman: The Animated Series; the fact that Kevin Conroy who voiced The Dark Knight for that series and has been tapped here and there for direct-to-DVD releases to reprise his role shows how he’s identified with this character. That said, Diedrich Bader has made this incarnation of Batman his own, and I look forward to watching the remaining episodes of this series.
The highlights of these 13 episodes on Batman: The Brave and the Bold – Season One, Part Two include “Mayhem of the Music Meister!”—a mostly singing musical episode featuring Neil Patrick Harris as the Music Meister—and “Legends of the Dark Mite” where Bat Mite, an imp from the fifth dimension and Batman’s biggest fan (voiced by Paul Reubens), puts Batman through hell. Writer Paul Dini (Batman: The Animated Series) also touches upon the campiness of the show in this episode through a great Batman panel taking place at Comic-Con and shows why this series is as valid as any other.
My only complaint is that there are no extras, and a commentary or three would have been nice; it would have been great to include some featurettes about the show, or creators/historians of DC Comics talking about the style or what was going on at DC Comics during the ’60s when The Brave and The Bold was at its most popular. Hopefully when the remaining episodes come to DVD they’ll include some extras in those releases.