When I first heard of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, I was excited. Then I saw some pictures and got worried. Then I saw a video clip. My fears were confirmed. This wasn't my Batman.
So I never watched it. I did hear good things about it though, and considering my favorite C-list DC comic characters appear in it, when the opportunity came up for me to review Batman: The Brave and the Bold: Season One , Part One , I decided to give it a chance. And now I regret not watching this show earlier. It's fantastically entertaining.
More than that, it's fun. Batman: The Brave and the Bold exists in the present the way 80's action cartoons exist in the memory. That is: You remember them being good, but they don't hold up when you actually watch them. But Batman: The Brave and the Bold does hold up, right now and today, and it feels just like you remember the 80's action cartoons feeling like.
I was worried a light-hearted take on Batman would make him into a joke like Adam West did and I'm sure I wasn't the only one. Thankfully, Batman is played straight and given only a dry sense of humor, pretty much the way the modern fans remember him. He just throws around a few on-liners, and that is all. Even if that turns you off, this show gets so much right. Aquaman is played for laughs here, just like he always should be, and it also introduces tons of awesome C-list characters like Blue Beetle, Deadman, Red Tornado, Wildcat and many others to a public who probably never heard of them. In fact, if you're a DC comic fan, one of the best part of this show will be the insane number of obscure characters from the comics that show up, which will be sure to make any geek happy.
Puncheminnaface!The show deals with some pretty serious subject matter as well, such as death. Examples include the episode "Invasion of the Secret Santas!", which shows the death of Thomas and Martha Wayne, and my personal favorite episode of the collection, "Fall of the Blue Beetle!", where it's shown that not every hero always makes it, and sometimes one has to die. Pretty heavy stuff for a supposedly light, colorful looking kids show.
The finale uses Owlman as the main villain. I don't know if Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths came out before this episode or not, but thankfully even though both utilize the same villain and both involve multiple earths, both feel like separate stories. Owlman's plot in Batman: The Brave and the Bold does feel oddly similar to the plan of the Justice Lords in the Justice League episode "A Better World". Still, it does make for an entertaining episode and a satisfying finale.
The voice work is fantastic, and while nobody will beat Kevin Conroy, Diedrich Bader does a brilliant job as Batman. John William DiMaggio plays a hilarious Aquaman and Batman Beyond's Will Friedle plays Blue Beetle III wonderfully. In fact, all of the voices seem spot on. It would seem Andrea Romano did a fantastic job, as always.
Someday, my son, this will all be yours!The designs are well animated and the style seems to fit the mood of the show. Not to mention it looks absolutely stunning in widescreen. The discs have English and French subtitles, but unfortunately this set has no special features aside from a LEGO Harry Potter trailer (on the main menu for some reason), which is a real bummer. It really could've used a commentary or two, or perhaps a featurette on the wide array of heroes who guest starred in the episode included here. At least we got a stunning transfer.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold isn't my Batman, but that doesn't mean I can't watch it and enjoy it for what it is. It's like the Adam West version of Batman. That's my dad's Batman, and even though I don't consider it mine, that doesn't mean I don't watch it and enjoy the heck out of it. Give Batman: The Brave and the Bold a chance. It may not be your Batman, but it will be someone's. See if you can enjoy it for what it is.