- Series Title: Batman the Brave and the Bold
- Season: 2
- Episodes: 25
- Discs: 2 (Blu-Ray)
- Cast: Diedrich Bader
- Original Network: Cartoon Network
- Production Network: Warner Brothers (Animation)
The second season of Batman: The Brave and the Bold was extremely uneven. There were some very high points and some very low points, and some episodes could have been great but they just fell flat. Again, the series is a team-up show, however, rather than having the shorts, followed by the main story – several of the shorts in the first half of the season feature Starro – the psychic starfish from outer space. Starro also gets his own 2-part story at mid-season. The Starro story did work, though it wasn’t quite as effective or as psychologically scary as the character’s appearances in Justice League Unlimited or Young Justice (as Starro-Tech). I kept wondering where Superman was – because there’s nothing scarier that Supes being controlled by an outside force of evil. Still, considering how much lighter in general Batman: The Brave and the Bold is as a series, the two-part story did work, and the League’s eventual win against Starro did come at a cost.
“Chill of the Night” was not only my favorite story for this season but, so far, for all of BtBatB. It was just awesome. First (other than the short) it felt like a Batman: The Animated Series episode – not only does it show That Fateful Night (which, yes, we’ve seen before) and had red skies and dark background, like B:TAS – but Phantom Stranger and Spectre – the spirits of Justice and Vengeance (respectively) were played by Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill. These two spirits were fighting over Batman’s soul (it was very, um, is existential the right word?). AND to top it off, in the flashbacks Thomas Wayne was voiced by Adam West and Martha Wayne by Julie Newmar. Yeah. Nothing like three generations of Batman in one. Color me impressed.
“A Bat Divided” felt very much like a similar episode of Farscape, where Moya (the living ship), was split three ways – each having its own effects on the crew. The episode featured Firestorm, and Batman is split into three Batmen – Action/Battle Batman, Scientist Batman, and Loafing/relaxing Batman. I liked it.
“The Super-Batman of Planet X” has Batman sucked through a wormhole in space to a planet where he has Superman-like powers. To Batman’s credit, it doesn’t go to his head, and he helps that planet’s version of Batman until he can find a way home. The only problem with the episode, is it highlights one major problem of BtBatB which is Batman is completely alone – no Alfred and seldom any Robin/Nightwing. Guy Gardner has to rescue Batman, after putting him in danger in the first place.
“The Knights of Tomorrow” I also liked. Told from the point-of-view of an unseen narrator, who turns out to be Alfred (in only one of two appearances – the other is “Chill of the Night”), and shows the Mantle of the Bat being passed from generation to generation. Bruce Wayne eventually retires from being Batman and marries Selina Kyle. He turns the cape and cowl over to Dick Greyson. Meanwhile, Bruce and Selina have a son, Damien, whom they train in self-defense and fighting. When Bruce and Selina are killed – Damien joins Dick as Robin and eventually grows up to be Batman, with his own Robin. This does play a bit with established continuity, for example, in the universe where Bruce and Selina retired and married – they had a daughter, Helena (who become Huntress), not a son. Damien Wayne is the son of Bruce and Talia Al-Ghul. And the story skips Jason and Tim altogether, as well as cutting out one of my favorite characters – Terry McGinnis (truly, watch Batman Beyond, it’s awesome!) Terry’s a lot like Dick – whom I’ve always liked. The one bit I found almost frightening was Alfred repeating Amanda Waller’s line, “There must always be a Batman.”
“The Masks of Matches Malone” is the story which features the Birds of Prey singing, “No One Does It Better (Than the Birds of Prey)” which is simply marvelous. The story itself is a bit weak – Batman goes undercover as Matches Malone, and gets hit on the head and thinks he really is Matches Malone – a gangster and thief. The Birds of Prey are left to stop crime in Gotham and to try to get Batman back to his own self. It’s fun, and the video is definitely awesome. You can watch the music number here.
On the negative side – two more Batmite stories (ugg), “Cry Freedom Fighters” which was just dreadful, and just several so-so, not terrible, but not bad stories.