I've been reading comics for over 40 years, and in that time I've seen Batman portrayed in many ways, both in comics and other media. I've seen him light, I've seen him dark. I've seen him whimsical, I've seen him serious. I've seen him brilliantly utilized, I've seen him squandered and pandered. "Batman: the Brave and the Bold" is a case of respect for his legacy.
"Brave and the Bold" was a long running comic series that featured team-ups, often between characters who ordinarily wouldn't be found teaming up. In this case it's "Batman and...". While visually stylized after a solid silver-age (50's and 60's) version of the character, they've blended in touches of the more modern hard-nosed version in personality.
As far as the DC mythos goes, this is actually one of the few places you'll see animated versions of many characters, including the Metal Men, the JSA, Batmite, and Plastic Man, amongst others. The writing sways from adequate to pitch perfect, imbuing each character with a distinct personality, and relationship to Batman.
The structure is fairly standard: pre-credit wrap up (kind of like a Bond film, where Bond is already up to his neck in something before the opening credits, usually unrelated to the primary storyline), credits, then the episode, thus allowing two team-ups per episode.
I, for one, am going to be very sorry to see it go (a new computer animated Batman series is in the offing, and word is that B&B is ending).
Some things to watch for, particularly in the 3rd season:
- A musical episode, featuring Neil Patrick Harris voicing the lead villain.
- Aquaman as you've never seen him before - as a laughing barrel-chested braggart who thinks everything is OUTRAGEOUS!
- Aquaman, sent back in time to defend earlier incarnations of Batman, lamenting "But I wanted to fight Romans!" (spoiler: he DOES get to). This episode also lifts from "The Return of Bruce Wayne" series of comics, featuring various "Batmen" of the past.
- A Batmite episode where he tries to do a makeover on Batman, and you see a variety of Batman styles, including the Frank Miller version.
- A pre-credit "Life with the Currys" - Aquaman and Family in a vintage sitcom, with their irascible neighbor, Black Manta.
- A Superman team-up, with dozens of references to actual Silver Age Superman comic covers (I particularly liked the bit where he picks up Kandor, the shrunken city in a bottle, and shakes it like a snow-globe).
- "Batman's Strangest Cases" hosted by Batmite, and featuring a perfect animated version of Wally Wood's "Batboy and Rubin" parody from the pages of MAD back in the 60's. An adaptation of one of Kuwata's "Bat-Manga" stories done in 60's anime style, complete with awkward dubbing. And they close with "Scooby Doo meets Batman and Robin" - not the original Scooby Doo episode, but done in the exact same style, with Superfriends versions of B&R, the Joker& Penguin, and to keep it modern, Weird Al as the celebrity guest in peril. Watch for Batmite to break the 4th wall a few times, including pointing out that people weren't allowed to throw punches back then, so he remedies it, and you are treated to Scooby and Shaggy joining in the donnybrook.
- a brief appearance by Wonder Woman, complete with Lynda Carter's WW theme-song.
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