Cartoon Network has been running a new Batman animated series titled Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and I want to get this out of the way: I love this show!
Batman: TBatB is based off the original run of the Brave and the Bold comics that ran from the early Silver Age to cancellation in the early 80s premise of Batman teaming up with a new DC hero every week. It serves as a great introduction to the DC Universe of characters. Every week Batman teams up with a new character along with recurring heroes from past episodes, and believe it or not, the writers on this actually made Aquaman a fun and likable character.
The world has gotten used to the Dark Knight living up to moniker for the last twenty years thanks to Frank Miller, Tim Burton and Chris Nolan. But make no mistake, this isn’t Adam West that you’ll be watching. The show is fun for all ages, but doesn’t condensed down the level of camp like the 60s show did, although there are a few homages to it, mainly the Batmobile.
The voice work done on the show is just as great as the premise. Diedrich Bader voices Bats and he does a fine job at it. His approach to the character is similar to Kevin Conroy’s Batman, but not as menacing. While Bader works admirably well as the star of the show, the guest stars shine as well. R. Lee Ermey is perfectly cast as Wildcat, a scrapper superhero from the Golden Age.
The team ups, the heart and soul of the show, are almost a who’s who of the DC Universe (no pun intended) and this is just the first season. The new Blue Beetle (Jamie Reyes) so far is probably my favorite and most reoccurring guest star and they even found time to get in a flashback team up with the old Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) as well.
It also goes places that other DC shows have never gone before. There is a two part episode that features Owlman, the evil Earth 2 Batman analog, that isn’t confusing and ends up justifying a Batman/Joker team up in the second half!
You don’t have to be mired in DC history to enjoy it, although the show is steeped in it. Aside from one two part episode, every episode is stand alone and does a very good job at introducing the new characters Batman teams up with, several of whom have never seen screen time before. (Guy Gardner Green Lantern! Jay Garrick, the Golden Age Flash!) There are a few characters that you won’t be seeing in the show though due to licensing agreements, so don’t expect to see Superman or Wonder Woman.
If you want to watch a show with your children, this is it. It serves as a great introduction to the characters and DC comics for children and adults alike. There is also a comic book tie in if you need something to get your younger children into reading. Even if you know the characters, its still a great alternative take that doesn’t have years of continuity tied to them. It’s very Silver Agey, very fun, and a great way to waste a half an hour. If you can catch it, you won’t be disappointed.
[tags]The Brave and The Bold, Batman, DC Comics, Cartoon Network[/tags]