Monday, May 25, 2009
Batman: The Brave and the Bold -- The Color of Revenge!
"Speedy sharpened arrows, Aqualad scraped off barnacles, everyone earns their stripes." -- Batman
From the start of this episode, I knew I was in for a treat. The opening sequence mimicked that of the 1960's Adam West Batman show. Red phone, Shakespeare's bust, Bat-poles! The whole shebang! They even used the Batmobile from the 1950's, the one with the large Bat-fin down the middle. Batman and Robin are on the hunt for C-lister villain, Crazy Quilt (voiced by Jeffrey Tambor). Yeah. Really threatening, huh? Quilt and his "Color Guard" (Red, Blue, and Green) are after this light emission ray. No one really explains what it does, so I guess it uses highly-intensified light waves to destroy things. Anyways, much like the C-lister Crazy Quilt is, he's taken down pretty quickly, though Robin uses the ray against Quilt and ends up blinding him. Crazy Quilt prides himself in being an artist, so this is the motivation for his revenge and the build-up for the episode.
After the theme music and title, we cut to Solomon Grundy robbing a bank. The cops seemed out-forced and start to call back-up when suddenly Robin bursts on the scene. However, this isn't the prepubescent boy with the elf shoes, this is grown-up Robin (voiced by Crawford Wilson), who sort of has the characteristics that I think Nightwing would have, but with the infamous Earth-2 Robin costume. While Robin dukes it out with Grundy, he goes off on a little rant saying it feels good to not have a boss, there's no lectures, etc. You can hear the bitterness in his voice. He takes down Grundy, is thanked by the police, and we learn that he's in Blüdhaven, which is another Nightwing reference. Later, on patrol, Robin catches a signal in the sky. It's a blinking eye that is blinking out Morse code. Just as Robin is trying to figure out what it means, Batman pulls along side him with the answer.
Turns out it's an old warehouse where Crazy Quilt has left a red herring (literally, watch the episode to see what I mean), but it turns into a killer kaleidoscope that sort of resembles a Gravitron you would find at a county fair. Quilt's out for revenge on Robin for taking his sight. Batman dismantles the machine and the duo head out, however Robin's bike has been destroyed. Luckily, Batman has the solution: the side-car on the Bat-cycle.
"I thought you liked the sidecar," says Batman.
"Yeah, when I was 8," replies Robin.
Batman inquires about Quilt's next clue (he ALWAYS seems to be speaking in clues), and Robin says in fact Van Gogh's "Starry Night" and deduces that Quilt must mean Star Labs. That's when Batman chimes in with the exact same answer! Now, this is where I'm siding with Robin. Did Batman honestly not hear him? He's RIGHT next to him. So the Dynamic Duo race to Star Labs and another skirmish breaks out. Batman tells Robin to go after the henchmen. Wow. Not even back together for a few hours (give or take) and he's already ordering Robin around. So, Batman goes after Crazy Quilt and his light emission ray, however, not everything goes according to plan and Quilt takes Batman and destroys Star Labs and it collapses on top of Robin, but he manages to come out alive, scraped up a bit. He remembers that Quilt had told Batman he was going to make a carpet out of him and walk all over him. Since he knows Quilt's weakness for leaving clues, he heads to Blüdhaven Textiles.
Sure enough, Batman is tied to a giant weaving machine. That's right, a giant weaving machine. If there was any one reason why I love this show, it would be scenarios like this. If he ever fought Cluemaster, you'd half-expect for them to fight on a giant typewriter or something. Anyways, Robin notices Quilt's obsession with him: across the room there are tons and tons of Robin-inspired art. Robin takes out the goons and in the meantime, Batman has freed himself and tells Robin the only reason why he has him going after the henchmen is because he was good at it. I guess that's a compliment, yet Robin goes off an on a tangent about how he wants to be treated like an adult.
That moment is interrupted by Quilt who has modified his laser so now he can use it with only his thoughts. Batman and Robin seem to be outnumbered, but Batman lets Robin decide how to take him down since Quilt's "his villain." Now that's teamwork! While Batman distracts Quilt and his device, Robin goes up and uses a blowtorch and uses a rafter to impale the tank's barrel. "Once a Flying Grayson, ALWAYS a Flying Grayson." Good thing he said that after Crazy Quilt was knocked out cold. Soon after, Quilt is quickly taken into custody. The two makes amends and answer a call from the Commissioner to stop Killer Moth.
Now, I understand this show is supposed to be appealed to kids, but it harks back so many memories of the Super Friends and the Super Powers Team. Anybody remember those shows? They took place during a time in comics when almost anything can happen, and usually did. This show incorporates all that is good with comics and doesn't make one think too hard, so they can sit back and enjoy it. Superhero team-ups, great action, one-liners, etc. There are constant nods to fans and plenty of Easter eggs to look for, such as the Earth-2 costume Robin wore as a grown-up. It doesn't have to rely on A-list villains to be good. It's just good storytelling that doesn't take itself too seriously (a la Grant Morrison). The voice acting is great, and I hardly recognized Tambor as Crazy Quilt. He had the perfect mad scientist voice and both the Robin's were top notch, too. I am very much looking forward to Batman: The Brave and the Bold on DVD.