DVD Reviews, Lead DVD ReviewRating: 4.5 of 5 yaps
Batman: The Brave and the Bold: Season 1, Part 2
A stellar (and criminally underlooked) entry in the already traditionally good TV wing of the DC Animated universe, “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” is, for cartoon fans (especially those of the superhero variety), one that you need to pick up.
With tremendous series dating back to “Batman: The Animated Series” through the late ’90s “Superman” and into “Batman Beyond” and “Justice League,” “Bold” marks a slight shift in tone, but not in quality.
“Bold” is a team-up anthology series that pairs Batman with any number of other heroes from the DC universe ranging from the Jay Garrick Flash and a number of the Green Lanterns to the more obscure characters like the Question, Huntress, Blue Beetle and Adam Strange. This series crosses DC incarnations and universes, and even animated series, with a reference to Bat-Mite, who was a made-for-TV sidekick from the mid-’80s “Adventures of Batman and Robin” that becomes a villain here, and references to the ’60s TV show, all used to great effect rather than for cheap superficial laughs.
Each episode is a self-contained character-driven affair that (gasp) develops character arcs, boasts bombastic fight sequences and features memorable characters, from a publicity-hound Booster Gold to a depressed Aquaman (who was in previous episodes comically heroic). Villains are equally developed…sometimes; at others they’re comically one-dimensional.
Highlight arcs include a young-adult Robin reuniting with Batman, whom he sees as an oppressive father figure rather than a trusted partner, and fighting a villain named Crazy Quilt (I told you these guys were obscure). The show also doesn’t shy away from what are considered sillier Batman villains including the Clock King and King Tut, or even snatching villains from other heroes (Black Manta is featured in a few episodes).
Diedrich Bader is a stellar choice for the voice of Batman, perhaps the perfect choice for the tone of this particular series. He’s serious, but also sarcastic and not above cracking a deadpan joke or two. In fact, the voice work is routinely stellar across the board with some recognizable voices for those with sharp ears.
A couple of issues with the release itself, though: First, I question a two-DVD set for only 13 half-hour episodes, broken into two parts, which seems tailored to milking more money from fans, though this set is reasonably priced (you can pick it up on Amazon for $15).
At the very least, if you don’t want to shell out the bucks for this set, check out “The Brave and the Bold” on Cartoon Network. The series’ second season is every bit as good as the first, and includes an outstanding “what if?”-style episode where Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle marry and have a son, who, through a series of events, grows up to become Robin to Dick Grayson’s Batman.
Series: 4.5 Yaps
Extras: 0 Yaps