Combustible Celluloid
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With: (voices) Diedrich Bader, Will Friedle, Tom Kenny, John Di Maggio, Corey Burton
Written by: Michael Jelenic, Steven Melching, Joseph Kuhr, Adam Beechen
Directed by: Ben Jones, Brandon Vietti, Michael Chang
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 83
Date: 03/18/2013

Batman: The Brave and the Bold - Vol. 1 (2009)

3 Stars (out of 4)

The 'Bat' in 'Team'

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

When I was a kid, "The Brave and the Bold" was, for a time, my favorite comic book. Every week, it featured Batman teamed up with some other hero, ranging from major stars like Green Lantern to minor characters (Nemesis, The Hawk & The Dove, etc.). It was like a bonus, two-for-the-price-of-one deal (plus it had artwork by one of my favorites, Jim Aparo). I guess in retrospect, it is kind of ridiculous how Batman, the ultimate loner, somehow winds up palling around with some other hero each month. Now the powers that be have adapted this comic (which ended its run in 1983) for television. For some reason, Warner Home Video chose to release only four episodes of this TV show on a sampler DVD rather than the entire season, but in this case, I can't say I minded much. The episodes included feature the Blue Beetle, Aquaman, Red Tornado and Plastic Man. (Each one comes with a prologue with other guest stars like Green Arrow.) I didn't care much for the Aquaman and Blue Beetle episodes, but the other two were quite interesting. I liked the Red Tornado episode for its Christmas theme, which makes it nice for some low-key holiday viewing. But the Plastic Man episode struck me as exemplary because it's the first time I've ever seen that hero captured in animated form with anywhere near the bizarre exuberance of the original Jack Cole comic books. He's one of the few heroes that started out as a villain, and in this episode, he's still fighting off his evil tendencies (moderated by Batman). The animation work on him is crazy and funny, aided by the brilliant voice casting of Tom Kenny ("Spongebob Squarepants"). For only $14.95 retail, this isn't bad.

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