A couple of my friends were apparently talking about me recently-- debating whether I would love or hate the new Batman animated series (the third one? fourth one? since 1992), Batman: The Brave and The Bold, and its depiction of Aquaman.
I was hesitant at first. I'd been reading about it for months as it was coming down the proverbial pipe, and it seemed like a poor, watered-down substitute for the impressive (in scope and theory, if kinda scattershot in practice) JLU from Cartoon Network. My mistake was in assuming that the show and its makers wanted you to take it seriously for even a fraction of a second. For Kane's sake, Diedrich Bader-- TV's Oswald from The Drew Carey Show-- voices Batman. Every line he utters is pure... I nearly said "pure Silver Age gold."
And I wonder why no one reads this.
But honestly, every word of the script of B:TB&TB is what I loved about comics when I was ten years old distilled down to something that isn't quite camp but isn't one tenth as serious as JLU was, either. It's the equal and opposite reaction to The Dark Knight... completely guiltless fun. Unlike when I watched (and only sometimes enjoyed) the Legion of Superheroes show, or The Batman! (blech), or pretty much any Marvel cartoon past the original Fox X-Men show and the second seasons of Iron Man and Fantastic Four(seriously, did you see that half-season abortion that was The Avengers? Since when do Hawkeye and Spawn share a voicebox? Argh... I'm losing the point again.)... Sorry. Unlike the aforementioned shows, I don't feel forced into the role of apologist for Brave & The Bold. If you can't have at least a little fun watching this show... I know President Obama was just sworn in fourteen hours ago, and it's a new era of unity... but if you aren't at least fighting a smirk by the time you finish watching the YouTube clip below, I don't want to know what it's like to be you. You must have had a terrible life.
At first you may be tempted to think, oh, it kind of sucks how they don't have Superman and Wonder Woman in any episodes, until you realise, as I did, that that's kind of the point. Batman's the Johnny Carson to Blue Beetle's David Letterman or Plastic Man's Bill Maher. He's running the show, but he's not the main attraction here. To use a better analogy, he's the gateway drug to the more obscure characters like Deadman, Felix Faust, the Atom, Blue Beetle, etc., ad infinitum.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold premieres this Friday, entitled "Fall of the Blue Beetle," guest-starring Wil "(Stop Calling Me) Wesley Crusher" Wheaton as Ted Kord, who is now referred to as (gotta love this considering he first appeared in the '80s) the Classic Blue Beetle. America, I love your completely drug-annihilated long-term memory.
PS-- I forgot to mention, I LOVE THE B&TB AQUAMAN. How do you compensate for a useless character everybody (excepting me and a few other far-flung dorks) hates? Make him an overmuscled male bimbo who's completely in love with a) himself and b) adventuring! For crap's sake, he hugs Batman. I am sold on this beautiful, hilarious vision of the DC Universe, though it's as far from Alan Moore's Twilight of the Gods as it gets. Enjoy. I command you.
6 months ago