Within the first few moments of this animated series, you should have a pretty good idea of what you’re in for with the 13 episodes included in Batman: The Brave and The Bold – Season One, Part One. The first episode opens with Batman and Green Arrow tied death trap straight out of an old Silver Age comic, dangling over a vat of acid while The Clock King gloats about his superiority. The two heroes banter back and forth before managing to free themselves and heading off to battle The Clock King! We’re then whipped into a colorful and bright opening sequence, a fun, zippy opening which teases what’s to come.
Batman wings into an exciting new era, teaming with a mighty honor roll of DC Comics Super Heroes in the action-packed series Batman: The Brave and The Bold. Through the show’s first 13 animated adventures in this 2-Disc Collection, the Dark Knight allies with Aquaman, Plastic Man, Blue Beetle, Red Tornado, Green Arrow, Wildcat, Deadman, Bronze Tiger and The Atom to take on an array of evildoers ranging from mad scientists to intergalactic crooks from power-mad dictators to out-of-control teenagers. He even travels to a parallel world and battles the villainous Owlman! In this cool, cutting-edge and often funny series, bring back old-school comic book styling and dry wit to crimefighting, Batman faces and peril – including other heroes stealing the show – in his relentless pursuit of justice.
There’s something many critics call this show, and that’s “fun.” And that is 110% accurate. This is a show that doesn’t take itself too seriously, in any way whatsoever, and is incredibly easy for any viewer to get into. The first episode, “The Rise of the Blue Beetle,” moves along quickly, and gets its point across to the viewer almost immediately, first with the pre-credit sequence and then again with the episode itself. It lets the viewer know that what they’re in for is a half-hour of pure fun. And that’s what you get. And the same repeats for basically the 12 other episodes in this collection. Fans of the Silver Age should definitely enjoy this series, which comes across as a mix of the light-hearted fun of Superfriends and the edgy-action and humor of The Powerpuff Girls. I know, I know, it seems like an odd comparison, but I think it works appropriately for this series. There’s a mix of fun action sequences and sophisticated humor that many viewers will appreciate.
Now, I’m not going to waste time comparing this series to what came before. There’s no need to. Why? Because, right away, the viewer knows this is unlike anything that has come before in recent years. This is a series that we can laugh at and not feel like we’re in some way insulting the characters on the screen. And no, this series doesn’t mock the characters, but, this is a series that plays for laughs. But not once is it at the expense of a character. Yes, we may laugh at what they do or say, but not once is it at the expense of who the character is. And how about this show’s take on Aquaman? It will probably go down as my favorite.
If you’re a fan of the dark, gritty hero who’s currently popular in both the comics and the big screen, there’s a good chance you won’t like what you see here. We have Batman decked out in grey and blue, trading one-liners and quips with a roundtable of DC characters, a far lighter take on the Caped Crusader, but an enjoyable one nonetheless. We’ve been treated to a lot of grim Batman as of late, and this series may be a welcome breath of fresh air. No doubt many will open their arms to this barrel-chested, yellow oval Batman.
For this latest incarnation of the Caped Crusader, Deidrich Bader provides the voice of our hero, a perfect casting choice. He brings a gruff seriousness to the role, but also brings a light-hearted softness to it, as well. Bader is able to flip from being tough to wise-cracking without missing a single beat. Batman also provides voice-over narration for each episode, which serves to basically establish the mood of the episode and give insight into the plot, as well. Going through the first thirteen episodes is almost likely discovering little 20-minute treasures, with each installment packed with little in-jokes that fans of all ages will enjoy.
Episodes included in this collection include “Rise of the Blue Beetle!,” “Terror on Dinosaur Island!,” “Evil Under the Sea!,” “Day of the Knight!,” “Invasion of the Secret Santas!,” “Enter the Outsiders!,” and “Dawn of the Dead Man!” on disc one, with “Fall of the Blue Beetle!,” “Journey to the Center of the Bat!,” “The Eyes of Despero!,” “Return of the Fearsome Fangs!,” “Deep Cover for Batman!,” and “Game Over for Owlman!” on the second disc.
This Batman is a costumed adventurer who can crack wise with the best of them, a Batman who doesn’t take himself too seriously. But, not once, does this show do any disrespect to the character or the DC Universe. This is a Batman where the entire family can gather around the television, pop in a disc, and enjoy his latest fantastic adventures. There’s plenty of action, some flat-out hilarious moments, good dialogue, and an enjoyable introduction story for the show. Batman: The Brave and The Bold harkens back to a pre-“grim and gritty” Batman and it’s actually a bit refreshing to see. This version of Batman isn’t better or worse than what came before, just a different take on a great character, and every bit as valid. Thankfully, it’s also an absolutely fun ride, one that’s suitable for all ages. Batman: The Brave and The Bold is Highly Recommended and definitely worth checking out.
A surprisingly sparse release, Batman: The Brave and The Bold – Season One, Part One arrives in a standard two-disc Eco Amaray case. As to what should be no surprise, there’s no inserts or anything, though the Amaray case is nicely snuggled in a snazzy cardboard slipcase. Disc art is pretty basic and menus are simple and easy to navigate. Outside of a single trailer for Lego Harry Potter, there are zero extras on this set. Incredibly disappointing for those of us who endured the single-disc volume releases hoping for something more substantial than the trailers those releases got. Bizarre how those single-disc DVD releases featured more bonus content than this two-disc collection, and odd given how there is bonus content just sitting around waiting to be added to one of these DVD releases.
While the disc may lack bonus features, the A/V quality here is actually pretty solid. Audio is a standard English Stereo mix and the video presentation is an anamorphic widescreen encode, resulting in a surprisingly stunning image. If you’ve been watching this on Teletoon or Cartoon Network, you should notice an immediate step up in the visual clarity.
Overall, it’s a sparse release but worth picking up for the 13 collected episodes. And sure, it’s not a collection of the full first season of Batman: The Brave and The Bold, but having the first half of the season in one collection bodes well for future collections for the series. That being said, this show really deserves a more in-depth and expansive release, and I’m hoping Warner Home Video will provide actual extras in future releases of Batman: The Brave and The Bold. This series has so much going on for it, and so many great nods for comic fans and Bat-fans alike, and I have no doubt there’s a wealth of material just waiting to be presented to fans and hopefully we’ll see that soon. However, for this release, despite its flaws, Batman: The Brave and The Bold – Season One, Part One is very easy to Recommend and should definitely be sought out by fans. It would’ve been higher had there been actual bonus content, but this release can easily get by on the strength of the main feature.
Batman: The Brave and The Bold – Season One, Part One is now available to own on DVD.