It’s been a good three-season run for Cartoon Network’s series Batman: The Brave And The Bold, its most recent reimagining of The Caped Crusader’s adventures. When it first came out in mid-2009, The Dark Knight has just had its day in the sun, presenting a well-received but hardly kid-friendly take on the Caped Crusader that KO’d the lingering stench left by Joel Schumacher’s camp-leaning sequels. It seemed time to put some of the fun back into the franchise – and boy, did Batman: The Brave and The Bold deliver that (in spades!!!!)
For starters, you got Diedrich Bader playing The Caped Crusader in all his primary-colored glory. Having followed his career from Office Space to The Drew Carey Show and Outsourced, Bader has proven his comic chops time and again; obviously, WB & Cartoon Network were just taking cues from Tim Burton‘s inspired choice of Michael Keaton in the first two Bat-flicks.
B:TB&TB sees Ol’ Bats being paired up with a revolving cast of DC’s top-line and second-string superheroes, the most well-received of which was Aquaman (voiced by John DiMaggio) and Plastic Man (voiced by Tom “Spongebob Squarepants” Kenny). From the first-season opening episode, “Mystery In Space!” (Batman….IN….SPACE!!!!!) there was no doubt that the series’ eyes were set toward The Silver Age of comic books, when anything can happen – and could!
Surely enough, future installments of B:TB&TB would play up on the excesses of the Silver Age concepts as well as that of the 60’s TV show (one first-season episode even featured a number of cameos by Bat-villains from said series). I myself was initially sceptical on how a “Looney Tune”-ised Batman would pan out, with all the primary colors and merchandise-friendly situations The Caped Crusader faced; however, my view warmed up with the series’ subtle winks and nudges toward my inner fanboy. The entire series was very much a mine for YouTube memes as its “campy” live-action predecessor was.
In its entire run, B:TB &TB got Batsy working not only with the DCU but also Sherlock Holmes (and Watson), the Scooby Doo gang, and even Space Ghost (SPAAAACE GHOOOOOOST!!!!!!!!!). On its most recent season, it even caved in to fan pressure and decided to pair him with the other two of the DCU’s “Holy Trinity” (not a Robin quote, mind you) – Superman and Wonder Woman.
For all its lightheartedness, it also knew the value of restraint (that is, not stretching the joke past its funny date), so it was with much trepidation that Cartoon Network has recently pulled the plug on the series, just in time for the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises film. Nevertheless, a good (nope. Not good. OUTRAGEOUS!!! – Aquaman) time has been had by all by Batman and the DCU, amping up the action-packed fun spiced up with ample fanboy-baiting. That was a Batman series meant to bridge generations…kids can relish the focus on action and adventure, while dads will enjoy spotting the nostalgic references.