EPISODE REVIEW: Batman:The Brave and the Bold: "Menace of the Madniks!"

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This season's Bat-thanatopsis continues apace, with yet another look at death in the DC Universe. However, this week, it was not dreary and fatalistic like last week's Gloom Patrol episode. But how could it be? We get to hang out with Ted Kord again....

Recap

Teaser

Batman is pursuing Ma ... Crime? Ma... Hunkel? I have no clue. Some geriatric grey-hair granny gangster... anyway... She has him in a tough spot when a "Haunted Tank driven by the Ghost of Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart!" crashes through the wall and aids Batman in pursuing Granny.

The Haunted Tank????? Really?

Oh well. This show has always been about the length and breadth of the DC Universe, but that encounter was so random I was expecting a 2d10 saving roll....

Main Story

Batman battles the Madniks as they attempt a bank robbery. He's suddenly beset by cameras and, as he expected, the glory-hog Booster Gold. Batman has little use for Booster and his nonsense and sends him away.

Booster gets a bit depressed, and starts to miss Blue Beetle. Not the new kid with the scarab armor, but Ted Kord, the hero who died in a flashback in "Fall of the Blue Beetle". Well, since he's a time traveller, seeing dead friends is not a big deal, so he thinks. He zips back in time, helps Ted capture the Madniks (as they were Blue Beetle's 'unfinished business') and comes back to the present.

He finds a post-apocalyptic wasteland, and Batman fighting three energy monsters.

Batman still has little use for Booster in this altered timeline, and when he finds out that Booster meddled with the past, they go back to put things right.

When they arrive in the Beetle's lair, Ted nearly spits his coffee out his nose. He had been keeping Booster and Bats separated, because he knew they'd hate each other. Batman is surprised that an extremely competent hero such as Ted would have Booster as a friend. Booster is amazed that Ted is friends with such a stick-in-the-mud as Batman. Beetle explains:"Batman is my 'work friend' and [Booster] is my 'fun friend'".

They figure out that the Madniks were transformed by an accident that occurred when Beetle and Booster captured them. They turned into giant energy sucking freaks (like Joy Behar). They come up with a plan to stop them, but it requires some actual cooperation and heroism from Booster; Batman doesn't think Booster can do it. Beetle insists he can, and so Bats and Gold do some comic book science-y stuff while Beetle plays decoy. The plan works, and the Madniks are brought back to normal... if by normal you mean something that The Creeper barfed up...

Batman and Booster say goodbye to Ted as best as they can while avoiding paradox, and head back to the present. With a newfound respect for Booster, Batman invites Booster to help him round up the 'normal' Madniks

Observations

I make no secret of the fact that I really like the Ted Kord Blue Beetle. It was good seeing him in an episode again.

It was also good seeing Batman actually play a central part in his own show, and actually show some character development as well. The friendship and respect between Bats and Ted was well played, and his surprise at Ted's friendship with Booster actually made sense.

In the recent run of death-obsessed episodes, this was probably the best, although it uses some closure techniques that aren't available to the average folks. After all, if we want closure, we can't zip back in time and have one final adventure as a way to say goodbye. But in the wish-fulfillment comic book world, it works. To be fair, when Booster did it, there were some rather extreme consequences….

So today's lesson is: if you want to have closure through time travel, make sure Batman is along for the ride.

Next Week- I'm clueless. They aren't showing them in production order, so we'll either get Emperor Joker or the Birds of Prey, either of which will be a welcome relief from the dead hero brigade.

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