Review: Batman: The Brave and the Bold - The Rise of the Blue Beetle

Batman has seen his fair share of presentation in cartoon form. The most memorable (and one of the most revered cartoons of all time) was Batman: The Animated Series, which proved that cartoons could take a comic and present it with a mature twist. There were a series of other shows including Batman Beyond and The Batman, all of which have looked at the character from a slightly different angle than the show preceding it. This brings us to the latest incarnation of an animated Batman series in Batman: The Brave and the Bold. The show debuted in November, but I recently had the chance to watch the first episode called The Rise of the Blue Beetle. After watching the first episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, my first impression was that the art style is really unique. The artists seemed to have taken the approach used by Gendy Tartakovsky in that there seems to be no hard lines with the exceptions of the characters. And the lines used for them are thick, black borders, clearly defining them against the backdrops. The show's artisitc style is reminiscent of a stylized 60s comic, and it seems that that is where the direction of the show is heading. The dialogue and story feel seem to be somewhere between the campiness of Batman: The TV Show and the post-modernism of Batman: The Animated Series. Diedrich Bader's Batman is definitely one of the more calm and introspective Batman (which doesn't seem that unique when you think of Batman). But his voice adds the grittiness to Batman that seeing his character in cartoon sometimes takes away. I've never really known much about the Blue Beetle, but Will Friedle did a great job playing the part. He adds the comic relief so to speak that a sidekick would be expected to provide. I'll be honest, the show seems to be aimed at kids. It has a certain childish feel to it that would draw in kids looking for a good Saturday morning cartoon. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but it doesn't quite have that maturity that past episodes of animated Batman shows had. I do like the show though, and feel that it definitely has potential to go far. It airs Friday nights on Cartoon Network at 8 PM, so be sure to check it out. And be sure to check out The Hidden S in Phone Booth from this week as Mark looks at the show as well.