Season twos tarts off with Death Race to Oblivion!, written by one of my favorite writers, Greg Weisman (Gargoyles, The Spectacular Spider-Man, Young Justice). In this episode, Mongul pits heroes and villains against each other in a race against each other. The winner gets to see their hometown stay alive. And the losers? Well, I'm sure you can figure that out. It kinda reminds me of Wacky Races only more serious and with DC characters. Seeing the Joker take out the competition with a giant whoopee cushion and then saying "He who smelt it, dealt it!" makes me chuckle every time I watch it.
I don't think I've said so in previous write ups of this series, but this version of Aquaman is my favorite in any medium. Up until I saw the Aquaman in the DCAU, I had very little respect for the character, but his appearances in Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League and Justice League Unlimited showed me that Aquaman could be a worthwhile hero. And then I saw Aquaman in this series and he was... Is there any other way to put it? No, I don't think there is, so I'll just go on and say it. Aquaman is OUTRAGEOUS in Batman: The Brave and the Bold. It is a riot every time he's on screen. John DiMaggio has long been one of my favorite voice actors and as Aquaman, he just hams it up in spectacular fashion. In Aquaman's Outrageous Adventure!, the spotlight is cast on the titular hero as he goes on vaccation with his family. Or ties to. He finds it increasingly difficult to resist the call of super heroing, often taking off to team up with other heroes, much to the dismay of his wife. This isn't the first time, the spotlight has been cast on Aquaman in this show, but to me, it's the best of the Aquaman focused episodes. Also, the funniest.
|There goes the neighborhood.|
The Golden Age of Justice! gives us of the Justice Society of America, which consists of Wild Cat, Hawkman, Jay Garrick, Hourman, and Dr. Midnight. This episode also shows us that they were mentors to Batman and Black Canary, showing them the ropes in their early days. We even get to see Batman wearing his original Bob Kane costume! Of course the episode has far more going for it than that. I knew nothing of Black Canary's history prior to watching this episode, so it was surprising to learn that she was not the first to use that name. Basically, the original Black Canary was Dinah's mother and her dying wish was for Wildcat to look after her daughter. I was really shocked to see that her death was shown on screen. It wasn't overly brutal, but it was still a sad scene and marks the second time a hero has been killed on the show.
Revenge of the Reach! brings back one of my favorite heroes of this series, Blue Beetle. He's been a wonderfully developed character since the show debuted. When the true nature of the Scarab is revealed, it throws an unwilling Jamie into a war with the Green Lanterns and the Reach, the creator of the Scarab. This episode also has a teaser unlike any other. It ends with the appearance of Starro and the words "To Be Continued."
|The detective vs. the demon.|
|To quote Bruce Timm "He's Batman. What|
CAN'T he do?"
Robin once again gets a chance to shin in Sidekicks Assemble! He along with Aqualad and Speedy go off on their own to foil a plot by Ra's Al Ghoul. Yes, Batman's other most dangerous foe is in this series and he's just as obsessed with killing off a large portion of humanity to preserve the Earth here as he is in any other medium. Talia and Ubuu are also at his side. At the end of this episode, we see Robin make the jump to Nightwing. He's even wearing that disco-like costume, which fits in perfectly with the tone of the show.
Batman has been no stranger to visiting other worlds in this series, but in The Super-Batman of Planet X!, his unplanned trip to Zur-En-Arrh is unlike any other. On this planet, Batman gets powers very similar to Superman. We even get characters that are stand ins for Lois Lane and Lex Luthor in the form of Vilsi and Rohtul, voiced by Dana Delany and Clancy Brown respectively. In fact, the whole episode seems like a Superman episode, only with Batman substituting the role for the Man of Steel. Or perhaps I should say Batmen since this planet also has a Batman. The Batman of Zur-En-Arrh dresses far more flashy than our Batman and he has no powers. And the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh is voiced by the most famous Batman voice actor of all-time, Kevin Conroy. Two Batmen for the price of one? YES!
|Two Batmen means more hammers of|
justice to go around.
|Serious Batman is serious business.|
The original Blue Beetle died in the first season and in The Golden Age of Justice!, we saw Black Canary's mother meet her end. Batman: The Brave and the Bold is still chock full of Silver Age goodness and tongue in check humor, but it's during this season that the series throws in more touches of darker and edgier. I'll tell you right now that this show is not finished with the hero killing. Not by a long shot. But even without offing anyone in tights, the show still manages to stray from it's lighter and softer roots without suffering in quality.
The Paul Dini written episode Chill of the Night! is one of the best Batman episodes in the Caped Crusader's history of animation. It's also pitch black dark. I mean that both in terms of color scheme and the story itself. In an effort to match the tone of the story, Batman's costume isn't the usual light blue we're used to seeing. The opening teaser starts off lighthearted as usual with Batman teaming up with Zatanna to stop Cadabra. After that, we see Bruce as a child walking out of a movie theater with his parents. Shortly after this, Joe Chill appears, two gun shots ring out and Bruce's life is never the same. Let me just say that even for what is essentially a kid's show, the scene where Thomas and Martha Wayne are murdered is pretty dark. You see their shadows reflecting on a building as they get shot with little Bruce looking on, horrified. For the most part, Batman works alone in this one, save for the brief moment where he travels to the past and meets his parents. While in the past, he works with Thomas Wayne to save Martha Wayne from Moxon and Chill. Moxon was sent to prison and blamed Thomas Wayne. As payback, he had Chill kill them. Batman is furious when he finds this out and his confrontation with Chill is, pardon the pun, chilling. This entire episode is proof that Diedrich Bader can pull of a gritty Batman just as well as he can a cheerful one. Actually, the way Batman acts in this episode is very much how he acts in Batman: The Animated Series and modern age Batman comics. He's not spouting one-liners, his methods of getting information are just as you'd expect from the aforementioned Batman mediums, and the you do not wanna be Chill's face when you see Batman punch him. Speaking of faces, this is the first time we actually see Bruce Wayne's face. Not counting an alternate reality Bruce or his Matches Malone disguise. In a very powerful moment, Batman reveals his identity to a very shocked Joe Chill. This being the first time we see Bruce's face make it all the more powerful. This episode could have easily been done for Batman: The Animated Series and it would have fit perfectly.
There aren't any extras on these discs. Some episode commentaries would have been nice. But little in the way of extras should be expected by this point. And the episodes presented here are so good that I'm not really gonna hold that against it. Pick his one up, watch the first half of season two and be amazed.