“Night of the Batmen!”
Series 3, Episode 56
The third and final series of Brave and the Bold has been like a dream come true. The program has been hit and miss in the past, for every insanely inventive and entertaining episode (or anything with Aquaman) there are three that are only so-so or feature the new Blue Beetle (sorry, fans, his episodes are somewhat lackluster in my opinion). Only four episodes in and we already have Joker: The Vile and the Villainous!, Shadow of the Bat and the no-doubt amazing Battle of the Superheroes! (if CT ever re-runs it I can confirm). A wonderful blend of over the top action and hilarity, this is exactly what I want from Brave and the Bold.
Night of the Batmen opens with a bizarre short adventure featuring The Vigilante voiced by Futurama’s John DiMaggio, singing a ballad that will no doubt stick in your head forever more, ‘Gray and Blue.’ I ordinarily dislike musical numbers but this ditty won me over.
Of course the main adventure centers on Batman being put out of action in a space battle against Kanjar Ro. Teaming up with Aquaman, Captain Marvel, Green Arrow and Plastic Man (with Martian Manhunter as his secret weapon inside), Batman is shown to be the most powerful of them all as he takes on robot crabs, a heavily-armed space craft and a deadly bomb as if they were purse snatchers. The other heroes marvel at his prowess and wonder how he can be so affective in combat when he possesses no superhuman abilities (answer: it’s his show). In the end, Bats takes on too much and ends up getting caught in the blast of Ro’s bomb, putting him out of action.
Refusing to rest, Batman insists that Gotham needs a Batman and that his absence will alert the criminal element that it is open season on justice, but Manhunter is adamant that the caped crusader must sit this one out. Manhunter regales Bats with old war stories and administers therapy that causes far more damage than any healing. In the meantime, Captain Marvel, Aquaman, Plastic Man, and Green Arrow decided to take Batman’s warning to heart and take to the streets, each donning their own warped version of the gray and blue uniform.
The results are hilarious, especially in the case of Aquaman (far stronger than Batman but possessing none of his agility or fighting skill) and Plastic Man who encounters Catwoman wearing a newly designed costume. The Catwoman scene is a real show-stopper, it is so outrageous. A devotee of Batman, Catwoman can easily see through Plas’ disguise and is furious, revealing that she had intended to show off her new revealing outfit to Batman.
Of course when the Joker decides to take part in the mayhem all bets are off. The four crime fighters show up at the same time, criticizing the absurdly mis-designed costumes (Plastic Man has no pants, Captain Marvel looks like ‘Bat Elvis’) and are taken out by the Clown Prince of Crime in the confusion.
Thanks to Batman’s determination to escape the care of Martian Manhunter in a hastily designed exo-suit/cast, the heroes are saved. The conclusion is a splash page on screen of the other-dimensional Batmen (from 2009’s Game Over for Owlman), exploding across the screen for a one-night only assault on crime.