EPISODE REVIEW: Batman:The Brave and the Bold: "The Last Patrol"

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Sorry for the tardiness of this review, but I was rather conflicted about this episode. Maybe they oughta rename this show "Batman: The Quick and the Dead".

Recap

Teaser

Killer Moth has Batman in a deathtrap- standard carniverous moth in a giant bell jar stuff. Out of the blue, another bat-silhouette appears:Batgirl! Batgirl battles Killer Moth's gang and triumphs while Batman frees himself. We then see that this was a flashback, Batgirl was reminiscing about their first meeting while Penguin lowers them into yet-another-umbrella themed scenario. Apparently, deathtraps make Batgirl nostalgic....

Roll Theme Music!

Main Episode

Niles "Chief" Caulder is watching a retrospective on the Doom Patrol, a group of freakier than normal superheroes. This upsets him; he was once the leader of the Doom Patrol, and he just wants his team left alone. This is not to be, as Brain and Msr. Mallah break into his mansion and try to kill him. Batman has learned of this plot, and arrives to foil it. They realize that the whole Doom Patrol is targeted, and run off to warn the others.

Apparently, none of them answer their phones anymore.

We go next to a party at a Mod California Mansion, where a fat and indolent woman is attacked by bizarre mutants and the Mutant Master. Chief and Batman arrive and start to take on the monsters, and they call the woman by name:Rita. The woman grows, absorbing all the fat and becoming the comely, if very tall, Elasti-Girl. She whines a bit about not wanting to be a part of the Doom Patrol, and then joins them as they go to warn....

...Negative Man. He's a freak at a circus, owing to a lack of imagination. The attacker in his case is Animal-Vegetable-Mineral man, named for his stunning abilities at Twenty Questions. No, I kid. He's named that because part of his body transforms a member of those particular classifications. So, Batman gives Negative Man a pep talk, making him slightly-less-Negative Man and they defeat Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man. This leaves only...

Cliff Steele, the Robotman. He's rather busy being a crash test dummy, frustrated that he hasn't yet found a way to kill himself. He's attacked by The Arsenal... and doesn't fight back until his would-be-rescuers are endangered. After they defeat the Arsenal, the real villain appears: General Zahl.

Apparently, the reason they broke up originally was in defeating Zahl's seige of Paris, they allowed a hostage to die in order to defeat the General. The guilt from this incident caused the schism between the Doom Patrollers.

To exact his revenge for his defeat, Zahl wants the Doom Patrol discredited as heroes, so he has a deathtrap set up where the Doom Patrol can either save their own lives or the lives of fourteen inhabitants of Codsville Island.

After some speechifying, they go with the suicide option. Batman tries to save them by grabbing the detonator, but is unable to stop Zahl from blowing the Doom Patrol to bits. Zahl had been televising the whole thing, hoping to display the Doom Patrol's cowardice, but instead as martyrs, they become bigger heroes.

Observations

Well, that was cheery, wasn’t it? A half hour of whinging anti-heroes meeting a martyr’s death. Batman (again) was a guest star in his own show.

It was nice to see the Barbara Gordon Batgirl. I hope that they bring her back soon. She’s much more fun than the Gloom Patrol. She knows how to deal with a deathtrap!

Although this episode paid homage to the classic comic where the Doom Patrol died (Doom Patrol #121, 1968) saving a small town, and I appreciate that, it just seems that the show has become rather dark of late (We’ve had five heroes die, and one believed dead in the last three weeks), and it’s not because of the inherent darkness of the Batman character. Batman has really been a guest star in his own show recently.

Although I generally enjoy Batman: The Brave and the Bold, this episode was probably TOO faithful to the Doom Patrol source. That said, my teenagers really liked it.

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