EPISODE REVIEW: BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD: "Aquaman's Outrageous Adventure" (Season 2 Episode 4)

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Thanks to Cartoon Network's brilliant publicity machine, the first two episodes of the season got past me. (I'll catch those up as I'm able). So, I'm treating this episode like a season premiere.

Because it is, for me.

More (with spoilers) after the jump!

Play by Play

Teaser

It's World War I, doughboys are in the trenches being bombarded with a cannon that shoots green energy. Out of the skies, a biplane roars-- it's a Batbiplane! It's immediately engaged by a German Triplane- Enemy Ace. After a brief dogfight, Batman convinces Enemy Ace to help him destroy the alien cannon, and they fly off into the cloud cover.

Main Story

Scientists in a research sub are being suspended over a volcanic vent deep beneath the sea. Just as the villain is about to cut the cable that keeps the scientists from cooking, Aquaman comes to the rescue….
…. in his daydreams.

Aquaman (a.k.a. Arthur Curry), his wife Mera and their 'tweenage son, Arthur, Jr. are "RV'ing" across the country. He is going stir crazy on this probably ill-advised vacation… so at his first chance, he calls Batman to see if there's any super-heroin' to be done. Batman has his ducks in a row with the Penguin, but the Arrow signal catches his eye. He aids the Green Arrow in nabbing the Clock King, behind his family's back.

The Aquafamily heads for El Paso, where they engage in the traditional tourist trap: the Old West Town. Aquaman slips away and helps the Blue Beetle bring down the Planet Master, with a host of lovely planet based jokes:
"Hate to break it to you, but Pluto's no longer considered a planet"
"Meet the power of Neptune!"
"I don't want to see when he gets to the power of Uranus"
Unfortunately, this battle is televised, and Aquaman gets busted by his family. He promises to behave himself.

So they tour the DC Universe's version of the U.S., encountering Red Tornado, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), and the Atom… all needing no Aqua assistance whatsoever. They even run across a vacationing supervillan.

Finally, after much tourism and DCU town name-checks, Aquaman discovers that the Penguin actually got the drop on Batman and put him in a deathtrap. He runs the RV into Gotham, among gunshots, muggings and other normal Gotham occurences. He runs to Batman's rescue… telling his family to stay in the RV,windows up, doors locked. Aquaman gets himself trapped, and his family manages to do likewise. In a rather clever action sequence, they break loose and bring the Penguin to justice, finally having a good family vacation.

Observations

This episode was a blast. The informal tour of the DCU was sidesplitting, with both in-jokes and overtly slapstick bits (Aquaman's dispatching the Atom and his opponent with the windshield wipers was hilarious.)

Aquaman is a hard character to deal with, but B:TBATB, and John DiMaggio in particular, have found a great characterization in the bombastic King of the Seas. Putting him on vacation was a stroke of genius. LIkewise, the 'title cards' that evoked the old Filmation Aquaman series.

Trivia- the outfit that Arthur, Jr. was wearing is the 'ocean camouflage' costume that was worn by Aquaman in the 1986 Aquaman mini-series.

Batman was a guest star in his own show… but I really didn't mind. This was a fun diversion.

I'll be playing catchup, and hope to have a review of Episode 2 of this season this weekend.

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