Batman: Brave & the Bold
Episode 13: ‘Game Over for Owlman’
The second part to this two episode finale finds Batman returning to his own dimension just in time to get arrested by Gotham Police for being a crook. For those of you who missed last week, the evil Owlman hopped over to ‘our’ dimension and battled Batman only to get his cowl handed to him by the caped crusader. Owlman rotted in a jail cell in the bat cave while Batman hopped back to the Owlman’s dimension to clean house in a dimension where the heroes he knew and trusted were villains. It turns out that time became distorted due to Batman’s journey, allowing Owlman the opportunity to not only escape his jail cell but also imitate Batman as the world’s most successful super villain. Chased by Green Arrow, Red Tornado, Blue Beetle and the other comrades in arms, Owlman pulled off fantastic crimes dressed up as Batman.
This leads to many problems for the real Batman as he must avoid capture by the police and his friends at the same time. The added complication arrives when he meets an unlikely ally, the Joker. The two embark on a hilarious attempt to thwart Owlman’s crime spree. Batman discovers that Owlman has found a secret data stash in the Bat Cave containing doomsday protocols in case any of Batman’s fellow heroes went rogue. Armed with some of the most meticulously planned deathtraps around, Owlman attempts to take each hero down one by one. Joker claims to really be getting the hang of ‘this hero thing’ as he tries and out-think Owlman’s master plot.
The real treasure here is the Brave and the Bold version of the Joker. Much of this animated series has been inspired by artist Dick Sprang’s take on the Batman mythos and the Joker is no exception. A wild and woolly character, this version of the Joker pulls off a fake hand to reveal a hand grenade hidden in his sleeve. Veteran voiced actor Jeff Bennett makes a character that has become associated almost exclusively with Mark Hammill his own in this episode, making me hope for more to come next season.
Not content with an all-out battle between heroes and villains, the episode concludes with an army of Batmen from alternate realities who vanquish the evil doers each in their own unique way. The vampire Batman (a reference to Kelley Jone’s Red Rain design) was great but I was especially tickled by the Wild West Batman who pulled batarangs out of his gun holsters. It’s that attention to detail that makes this series’ humor so perfect.
I cannot help but think how ironic it is that this episode aired on the same weekend that the grim and gritty Watchmen saw its release in theaters. Not to knock the movie, but this could very well be the perfect antithesis to the film and its brooding cynical nature. Comic books are a vast and comprehensive medium. I find it heartening that it is a medium capable of such extremes.
A fantastic episode featuring flawless animation and some memorable quips, this is probably my favorite story so far. A real classic!
I cannot wait until next week’s episode featuring the Question and Adam Strange!
Showcase Presents Brave and the Bold Vol. 3