The boy has been watching Batman: The Brave and the Bold on Netflix lately. I knew about this series and may have watched it once or twice during it’s original run (2008-11), but I didn’t recall how fun and well-done this show was.
This is four-color era Batman, with a definite nod to Adam West and Burt Ward and the lighter comic styles of the Silver Age. From its bright color palette to its jazz-infused score and music, the show gives us a less dark and more fun version of DC’s famous detective. The basic premise goes back to the old Brave and the Bold comic, which featured some form of super-heroic team-up (usually, but not always featuring Batman). And they weren’t always the A-list/Justice League-type heroes. So with this series, the producers took a bit of a gamble to include lesser-known heroes like Red Tornado, Phantom Stranger, Blue Beetle, etc.,as well as some of the more obscure (and silly) villains. You will also see Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Robin and more familiar faces, but a lot of the show’s charm is in seeing the full breadth of DC characters.
The writers have done a nice job of introducing the many characters without over-explaining it, and like most of the WB/DC animated series, the episodes are a little deeper than simple good-guy/bad-guy. Batman seems to know everyone and he always has a plan or an objective. Maybe it’s helping the Outsiders learn to be better crime fighters or trying to avoid Green Arrow’s oneupsmanship. There’s also quite a bit of wit and humor. The jokes are there, and Batman uses the deadpan to good effect to comment on some of the more outrageous scenarios.
Both kids have really enjoyed this series so far. Part of it has to do with their absorption of comics lore over the years. They really like the character encyclopedia-type books. The boy has looked at his DC Universe (and Marvel for that matter) handbook over an over. He seems to like seeing guys like Booster Gold and Jonah Hex in action, having only read about them.
Think they also like seeing Batman portrayed a little differently. There are so many versions – and while the Brave and Bold Bats is a little less dark and brooding than earlier animated versions. That said he’s still Batman: he uses his brains and his gadgets in addition to his brawn and he tries to do right by his allies (and even the villains at times).
It’s a fun mix with this show – fun being the primary word we keep circling back to. So if you’re super hero-inclined – and especially if you’re a Batman fan, check out Batman: The Brave and the Bold.