Written by El Puerquito Magnifico
The Caped Crusader is back in another collection of animated outings. Eschewing the grim n’ gritty Batman of recent years, The Brave and the Bold embraces an incarnation of the Dark Knight that most fans and writers choose to forget. Harkening back to the 1950s era of a smiling Batman who traveled time and was just as likely to fight dinosaurs and ghosts as he was mobsters, this popular series has made Batman fun again and introduced him to a whole new generation of fans.
Not only does Brave and the Bold introduce Batman to a legion of new fans, it also introduces a bevy of other characters from DC Comics. That’s how the series works: in every episode, Batman teams with another costumed crimefighter in order to solve whatever crime is at hand. We not only get a whole bunch of cool heroes, we also get a whole bunch of different interpretations of Batman. This DVD collection finds Batman acting as a mentor to the teenage Blue Beetle, helping the young hero find his way. We see the Caped Crusader give guidance and advice to Wildcat, an aging hero looking for a new path. And of course, there’s Batman’s ever-present rivalry with Green Arrow. The two act almost like sparring brothers: constantly trying to one-up each other.
In addition to the more mainstream heroes presented on this show, each episode opens with a brief segment featuring more obscure characters like B’wana Beast, Kamandi, or Guy Gardener who also threaten to steal the show from our hero. And it’s all done with a combination of dry wit and psychedelic style that will please children and old-school comic book fans alike. The great thing about Brave and the Bold is that despite its cartoony animation style and sense of humor, it also features some really good scripts. While the style might be reminiscent of a more simplistic era in sequential art, it’s got stories and dialogue that’s written well enough for any adult to appreciate.
But it’s not for everyone. Fans who can’t handle an all-ages version of Batman will want to stay away. Comic book readers who can’t handle the fact that their favorite characters might also appeal to children will want to steer clear of this show and anyone who takes themselves too seriously will probably be happier watching old episodes of Batman: The Animated Series. But if you’re a parent who wants to introduce their kids to their favorite costumed crimefighter or if you’re just a superhero fan who appreciates a good time, then this is the show for you.
The four episodes contained on this DVD collection are:
“Day of the Dark Knight,” a medieval tale featuring Green Arrow, the Demon, and Merlin the Magician.
“Enter the Outsiders,” in which Batman shows an old dog new tricks and a team of teenage metahumans that sometimes raging against the machine is counterproductive.
“Dawn of the Dead Man,” an episode in which Batman almost meets his maker and teaches Deadman that he can still have a purpose without having a pulse.
“Fall of the Blue Beetle,” which delves into the history of the men who have been known by the name of Blue Beetle and shows a young man doing his best to live up to a legacy of greatness.
All-in-all, Batman: The Brave and the Bold Volume 2 is a collection worthy of a special place on the DVD shelf of superhero fans of any age.