Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Best of "Batman: The Brave and The Bold"!- Ramblings

If you haven't watched it yet, Batman: The Brave and The Bold on Cartoon Network (or... ugh... CN if you prefer) is one of the best darn cartoons on television right now. It's got a fantastic mix of humor, action, and characterization that simply tickles my fancy. As an added bonus for any comics nerd, it features a slew of B- and C-list DC Comics characters who otherwise would never make it to the mainstream media. I could go in depth on why this show is so friggin' awesome, but I won't. Instead, since the new season has started, I'll rank my top five favorite episodes from Season One. These are ranked not by quality but by rough chronological order. I mention this so no one emails me saying "How dare you say episode x was better than episode y!" So, on we go!

Evil Under the Sea!- I'm not one to rank episodes due to "Well, this is important because it's the first appearance of Whoever." In this case, though, I'm making an exception. This is the first B&B episode to have Aquaman. What's great about this is that it's a different kind of Aquaman than has ever been depicted in cartoons or comics. He's no quiet, misunderstood guy or the lone, brooding monarch. This Aquaman is a big, boisterous, warrior king, and boy howdy, do they play it up to great effect. Mad props are due to the voice actor, John Dimaggio (most famous for playing Bender on Futurama) for bringing such character to the ... uh... character.
Another great thing about this incarnation of Aquaman is the look. The take classic elements from all versions of the character. They blend the orange shirt of Aquaman classic with the Suh-weet beard the grim and gritty version was sporting.
Overall, this makes for a fresh, engaging take on a character who is often the butt of jokes. Placing him with the straight-laced Batman made for great interaction.

Fall of the Blue Beetle!- For those naysayers who constantly say nay and such, for those who claim that B&B is straight up silliness, I present this episode. When the crux of the episode is another character's death, you know they're not playing it for laughs. A gripping story about heroism, sacrifice, and acceptance, this episode proves that this series can be, at times, so much more than lighthearted fare.

Game Over For Owlman!- I could go into a long synopsis here, but really all I need to say about this episode is this: Batman teams up with the Joker to take down Batman's evil twin. Boo. YAH! If that's not a recipe for an awesome Batman story, then I may as well hand in my nerd credentials right now.

Legends of the Dark Mite!- "Batman's rich history allows him to be interpreted in a multitude of ways. To be sure, this is a lighter incarnation, but it's certainly no less valid and true to the character's roots than the tortured avenger crying out for mommy and daddy." With that line alone this episode would've hit the list. But, but, BUT! it has so much more. For starters, it was written by Paul Dini, the man responsible for some of the best episodes of Batman: The Animated Series; it's about a 5th-dimensional imp, and they're ALWAYS awesome; and finally, said imp is voiced by Pee-Wee Herman. Also, there's a scene at a trans-dimensional comic book convention, and that's just funny.

Mayhem of the Music Meister!- A Batman musical episode? Oh, joy! Sadly, Batman really doesn't do any singing in this (Fooey!). However, you have Black Canary, Green Arrow, Aquaman, and a ton of villains singing. AND, the bad guy is melodiously voiced by Neil Patrick Harris. The story is solid, the songs are catchy, and there's a cute, touching, musical-style ending. Quite possibly the best episode of the season.

So, there you have it- my (relatively spoiler-free) opinions on the best of what's already a fine show. Go watch 'em. NOW!


  1. I will own up to having been one of those guys that is perpetually making Aquaman jokes. My favorite goes:
    Aquaman: Hello Fish.
    Fish: Hi Aquaman!
    Aquaman: Have you seen any evil doers about?
    Fish: Hi Aquaman!

    Aquaman as a boisterous renn fair reject makes him actually likable to me and that's a HUGE plus to this show.

  2. I know, right? It's such a little thing, when you think about it, but it works so well. It's reminiscent of the Aquaman comic pitch that Mark Waid and the late Mike Weiringo cooked up a few years back.