Alright, time to go on record about the pink elephant in the room. I know Aron will disagree with me, and I hope this inspires a bit of debate, but after this Saturday’s episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, I think it’s time to go on record and let you guys know that I really like this show. I know, I know…we always compare it to Batman: The Animated Series, which really isn’t fair. It really is hard to compete with that, and I’m not entirely sure that we’ll ever see another Batman incarnation as perfect as that one. But the two series that have followed it, The Batman and Brave and the Bold have had the unfortunate circumstance of following a Batman incarnation that was allowed more time than either one of them combined to build up an elaborate universe and a continuity that was unlike we’d seen in American animation before.
Neither one of the following series had the same intentions. The Batman was meant to be more action-driven, but was ultimately far more adult than originally intended (especially if you’ve ever seen The Batman vs. Dracula – probably the best Batman animated movie next to Mask of the Phantasm). Brave and the Bold had no intentions of repeating either of the series that came before. It’s not perfect – it’s too adult and easter egg-filled to really be enjoyed by young children, and it’s too kiddie to be enjoyed by fans of the more adult aspects of the previous two series.
So, if you haven’t been giving The Brave and the Bold a try, or if you watched an episode and hated it, maybe it’s time to give it another shot. After all, this week’s episode, Legends of the Dark Mite, confronts fan’s anger towards the show directly, noting that the rich history of the character lends itself to many different interpretations, all of which are true to different aspects of the same character (and this episode was written by The Animated Series’ Paul Dini). So which episodes should you check out? Well, some downright suck (which is true of every incarnation of Batman), but others have been well written, fun, and a real blast. Read after the jump to see which ones you want to see first!
The Rise of the Blue Beetle! (Season one)
The first episode of the series, this episode introduces us to Jaime Reyes, the current young Blue Beetle. It’s a lot of fun, and quickly introduces you to the main differences between this series and the one’s prior. This one is fun, and the type of series where Batman will fight aliens, on their alien spaceship. You also get a glimpse at series mainstay, Green Arrow, who pops up every couple of episodes.
Evil Under the Sea! (Season one)
Here, we meet the series’ Aquaman, a braggart who loves telling stories of his adventures and, really, someone who Batman finds incredibly annoying. A fun episode that also features The Atom, Felix Faust, and Black Manta.
Invasion of the Secret Santas! (Season one)
It’s hard to pull off a good Christmas episode. But when Batman and Red Tornado (filling a very Martian Manhunter-esque role in the series) team up to battle an army of robot Santas, you end up getting a fun episode that’ll probably be played in my house every holiday season (Just like The Animated Series’ “Holiday Knights” and Justice Leagues’ “Comfort and Joy.”)
Dawn of the Dead Man! (Season one)
Batman teams up with Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth. Seriously. Then he gets buried alive by Gentleman Ghost and has to team up with Deadman, Green Arrow, and Speedy to dig out his body before he runs out of air. They battle an army of skeletons too. Lots of fun.
Fall of the Blue Beetle! (Season one)
A call out to the original Blue Beetles (Ted Kord and Dan Garrett), we get to learn why Jaime Reyes is worthy of the title.
The Eyes of Despero! (season one)
Batman teams up with Guy Garnder, G’Nort, and Sinestro (who’s still a Green Lantern) to stop Despero from destroying Mogo. A real great interpretation of the Green Lantern Corps, and even a quick guest appearance by Hal Jordan, who does not get enough animated screen time!
Deep Cover for Batman! and Game Over for Owlman! (season one)
The season finale of the first season, you get to see multiple universe versions of Batman (including the Red Mist Batman), who team up WITH THE JOKER to stop the alternate universe version of Batman, Owlman.
The Color of Revenge! (season two)
Brave and the Bold takes on the Dick Grayson storyline as we get to see Robin as young and as a bitter adult, angry at Batman for holding him back. A little more Jason Todd than Dick Grayson (especially since he stays Robin as an adult, instead of Nightwing), but a pretty good episode overall.
Legends of the Dark Mite! (season two)
We get to see Batman team up with Bat-Mite in a Paul Dini scripted episode of hilairous hijinks that also includes an appearance from Ace the Bat-Hound and Catman. Good times!