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Excellent trip back to the Silver Age

9/10
Author: grendelkhan from Xanadu
15 November 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

So, like many fans of Batman The Animated Series and Justice League, when I first heard about BTBATB, and saw the character designs, I thought it was going to be aimed squarely at young kids, more like Teen Titans. I ignored it for a bit. Then, curiosity got the better of me. It certainly had a lighter tone, but I found myself enjoying it immensely, especially after I watched several episodes. This isn't a "dumbed down" version; it can be just as complex as BTAS. However, it doesn't take itself too seriously, which is something I felt was wrong with a lot of more recent era comics and adaptations. I grew up in the Silver and Bronze Ages and lamented that comics generally weren't taken seriously in other media and that the cartoons were often watered down. At the same time, the comics weren't afraid to poke a little fun now and then. It seemed like they (and by osmosis, their adaptations) they overcompensated when they finally got serious attention and acclaim and lost their sense of humor. Thank heavens someone at WB thought maybe the cartoons could stand to lighten up, yet still tell darn good stories.

The show follows the format of The Brave and The Bold comics of my youth: team-ups between Batman and another hero. Some of them are no-brainers, some are inspired wackiness, like Detective Chimp or Bat-Mite; just like the old comics. Though the stories have a lighter tone, they still have serious elements. Death has been addressed more than once, so have relationships. Much like the classic Looney Tunes cartoons, there are elements for kids and elements for adults. It's also nice to see the various easter eggs for fans, whether it is a Batcave entrance that recalls the Adam West series, or a Batcomputer that looks a lot like the old Filmation cartoons, or just a nod to the opening of BTAS. Then, there are the wonderful appearances by even obscure characters. Not only do we get to see fan favorite characters, like the Teen Titans or Red Tornado; we also get to see cult characters, like the Challengers of the Unknown and Bronze Tiger, as well as the really obscure ones, like Detective Chimp, B'Wanna Beast, and Ambush Bug.

If you are fan of comics, there is plenty to love, just keep your sense of humor intact. If you have never read a comic, there is plenty of action and adventure, with engaging characters and great voicework. If you want a good laugh, you'll find that too. And if you enjoy song and dance numbers, there are even a few of those on hand! So, where else can you find a brooding avenger who can still throw out a quip, a collection of guest stars from the inspiring to the bizarre, and the best showcase for musical numbers since the heyday of MGM?

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