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Thursday, November 21, 2013

'Batman the Brave and the Bold' S1 Blu-Ray: Best Gathering of Super Friends Ever

Batman Brave & The Bold: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
Warner Archive's Blu-ray release of the 26-episode complete first season of the 2008-2011 Cartoon Network original series "Batman the Brave and the Bold" is batastic regarding both the quality of the episodes and the sharp bright images and clear sound. Any fanboy would love to find it under his tree or in his stocking.

This series has the Dark Knight teaming up with fellow well-known and some lesser-known superheros on a mostly one-on-one basis to battle well-known and lesser-known super villains. Most of us know of Green Arrow, Aquaman, and Green Lantern; the media representatives of Blue Bettle and the Red Tornado do not do as good of a job representing their clients.

The show also benefits from an updated version of the modern animation style of the uber-awesome "Superman: the Animated Series" and "Batman: the Animated Series" that breathed exciting new life into those (hopefully) eternal characters.

Each pre-opening credits action sequence of "Bold" is a fast-paced Bond-style segment that teams the Caped Crusader up with a  fancifully clad long-time companion who may or may not be his partner for the rest of the episode (feel free to read between the lines) in an adventure that may or may not relate to that episode. The only disappointment is that we do not see Batman reunite with Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Incorporated gang until an episode later in "Bold's" run.

The pilot episode gets things off to a good start by having Batman and the Spider-man (yes, this is a reference to a Marvel hero in a post about a show full of DC heroes) like teen-age superhero in-training Blue Beetle battle an outer space tyrant who viciously picks on innocent amoeba-like creatures. Watching the little guys go all Ewok on the big bad is awesome.

Another particularly fun episode has the Atom and a terrifically arrogant and dim-witted Aquaman enter Batman's body to wage an inner battle against the effects of said superhero's ingestion of toxic waste. A third camptastic adventure pits Batman and Green Arrow against each other to acquire Excalibur of Arthurian legend.

A very special holiday episode has the robotic Red Tornado seeking the holiday spirit while helping Batman battle mayhem that super villain Funhouse has created.

The holiday episode and one in which Batman goes toward the light provide a sense of his origin story and family bonds.

A thoroughly awesome two-parter that wraps up the first half of the first season has our primary hero travel to a "Sliders" style bizarro parallel earth in which the heroes of our dimension are the bad guys and our villains are the heroes. This makes for one particularly hilarious scene featuring Batman getting confused during a fight.

The second part of the episode has Batman dealing with an revised reality on our personal big blue marble and results in most of his crime-fighting chums banding together.

The genuine elan of the voice actors for their roles is part of what makes these adventures so terrific. "The Drew Carey Show's" Diedrich Bader nicely portrays a very Michael Keaton style Batman, but his distinctive voice and intonation makes not picturing his "Carey" character Oswald the doofus challenging.

Similarly, John DiMaggio makes a great Aquaman. However, this Aquaman's persona and DiMaggio being associated so closely with voicing "Futurama's" Bender has audience members waiting for him to instruct "Batman's" titular character to kiss his wet scaly posterior. This same association also adds to the fun of DiMaggio essentially asserting that Aquaman is awesome and the other superheros are losers.

The wonderful association of "Batman" voice actors having roles that evoke thoughts of their better known characters continues with sitcom "Boy Meets World's" and Disney animated series "Kim Possible's" Will Friedle bringing the Blue Beetle to life. Both Possible's Ron Stoppable and "Batman's" Beetle have wonderful shades of "Boy's" charmingly goofy Eric.

Although Spider-man voice actor Josh Keaton would have been a better choice than the very good Friedle for the Beetle role, Friedle remains the top choice for the best celebrity with whom to play a round of mini-golf despite the strong possibility that he comically cheats at that game.

The following clip, courtesy of YouTube, of the episode titled "Fall of the Blue Beetle," illustrates the great aspects of Friedle's performance and the series' awesome aspects of juvenile humor, superhero collaboration, and self-awareness.

Other voice talent includes Tom Kenny of "Sponge Bob Squarepants" fame as Plastic Man and Grey DeLisle, who currently voices Daphne on "Scooby-Doo" incarnations, as Black Canary.

The even better news regarding "Bold" is that it gets even more awesome in later seasons, which Archive will almost inevitably begin releasing in early 2014. It takes on an even stronger (and darker) Super Friends vibe and ramps up the hilarious high school style bickering among earth's greatest defenders.

As stated above, this is a great release of a terrific show; anyone with even a touch of fanboy sensibility will thoroughly enjoy.

Anyone with questions regarding "Bold" is welcome to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.