EPISODE REVIEWS: Batman: The Brave and the Bold: ""Game Over for the Owlman" (Season 1, episode 13)

Republibot 3.0
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Hi there! Republibot 3.0 here, filling in for R2, who's had an unfortunate confluence of movie tickets and VCR malfunctions and hence can not be with us today reviewing this show, even though it's his beat. I'll be pinch hitting on his behalf, but he'll be back next week.

Today's episode was the second half of the two-part season finale. If you're not up to speed, R2's review of part 1 is online here http://www.republibot.com/content/tv-review-batman-brave-and-bold-deep-c... and if you are up to speed, here we go:

Batman returns to his own world from the paralell earth that was, until recently, ruled by the Injustice Syndicate - that is, evil alternate-world versions of Bats, Green Arrow, Blue Beetle, Red Tornado, and people who's names don't revolve around colors as well. Having overthrown them with the help of the only surviving superhero in that universe - the Joker - he comes back here and is immediately beplagued by cops who want his head for his "Reign of Terror."

Bats escapes, and quickly figures that the inter-dimentional planar pal he's been using is actually a time-and-space machine as well, so he got back 3 weeks after he left, despite only being gone for a day or two. In his absence, Owlman (The evil Bruce Wayne from Universe 23) has stolen one of Bruce's spare costumes and is running around commiting crimes in his name and being chased by a rather befuddled and outraged group of superheroes including Green Arrow, Blue Beetle, Red Tornado, and people who's names don't revolve around colors as well.

Once again, he is assisted by...The Joker, but of course this is the same old psychotic Krusty the Klown we all know and loathe, not his heroic (Yet still slightly nuts) Earth 23 version.

After some chases, comedic reversals, and assorted running gags, Bats squares off against his evil twin, and is predictably betrayed by the Joker. However, he escapes from the trap using the interdimentional Pocket Planar Pal, and then re-appears a split second later with five good alternate-world versions of himself. (There was a Gorilla batman, a vampire patman, Batmite [!}, a wild west batman, and a zorro-esque Batman). These then kick everyone's arses and save the day.

The end.

OBSERVATIONS

Easily the best episode of a generally-pretty-good debut season. I was impressed, it was a lot of fun. I liked the bookend/mirror aspect of this two parter, where you had essentially the same teamups but with entirely different significance.

In part 1, Bats and Red Hood (the good Earth 23 version of The Joker) team up to take down Green Arrow, Blue Beetle, Red Tornado, (and people who's names don't revolve around colors as well) and succeed by releasing the neutralized heroes of that universe, who are analogous with supervillains from 'here.' In part 2, Bats and The Joker( The Evil Earth Prime version of The Red Hood) team up to take down the bad guys from this universe, and they do it by releasing Green Arrow, Blue Beetle, Red Tornado, (and people who's names blah blah blah. You know) in a battle royale against the Earth 23 Superheroes, who are, of course, bad guys here. It's fun and clever!

On top of that, I thought the team up between Bats and Joker was - for a breif moment there - just about the cleverest thing since The Killing Joke all those many years ago. Not only are they opposite sides of the same coin - as been driven home a zillion times in the last two decades - but they actually compliment each other. Bats and Joker actually make a great buddy-cop team, and Joker really was about the best partner Bats ever had.

It was an interesting approach to a dynamic that has, frankly, been done to death. I wouldn't have laid odds on anyone finding anything new to do with it, much less interesting, but they proved me wrong.

And of course the introduction of Joker in this two-parter was well done, cleverly well done too: we haven't seen him nor heard mention of him all this season, so when he turned up in Part 1 as a good (But still rather crazy) guy, he's a hero, but he's also sympathetic, and there's some definite similarities between the trauma Red Hood suffered at the hands of Owlman and the one young Bruce suffered at the hands of Joe Chill. It's surprsingly subtle for a cartoon of this nature, but definitely there. Right on the heels of this, we meet the Joker, who's as evil as ever, but we meet him with much more understanding than we ever had before. It's a clever way of taking a stock character and turning our expectations of him on our ears, then turning them on our ears yet again. I mean, I for one really didn't expect Joker to betray Batman until, you know, after the mission was over. I actually felt rather hurt and surprised when he did, though it was completely in character, and the way Owlman set it up was pretty clever.

Good episode, good series, good fun. Can't wait for next season to begin next week (Oddly enough, when I was a kid they had these little things called 'summer hiatuses when you had to wait three months for new episodes...If You Were Lucky! And you tell kids that today, and they don't believe y- Hey! Put down my cane!)

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