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Monday, January 25, 2010

Brave and The Bold: "Sidekicks Assemble!"

Last Friday's episode of Brave and The Bold starred an ersatz Teen Titans, consisting of Robin, Speedy, and, making his Brave and the Bold debut, Aqualad!

The show opens up in a familiar place to longtime comics fans--the JLA Satellite, featuring an emergency meeting of the World's Greatest Superheroes:
Watching from afar are a very young gaggle of sidekicks--Robin, Aqualad, and Speedy. Feeling left out of the conversation, Robin tells his two pals to stay where they are and he'll get closer to learn what's going on.

Aqualad doesn't like being told what to do (just like his old man!) and starts squabbling with Robin, which quickly turns into a fight. Speedy tries to get them to stop before they get in trouble, but...
Batman decides to put the sidekicks into a training mission on the satellite (a sort of JLA Danger Room), involving hologram versions of Gorilla Grodd, Clock King, Two-Face, Joker, Copperhead, and more.

At first, our young heroes aren't great at teamwork (Robin says Aqualad is out of formation, Aqualad insists its Robin who's in the wrong), but they eventually start to coalesce. They decide to become an informal team--with Robin appointing himself as the leader!

Cut to: many years later, and a bunch of hooded crooks are breaking into S.T.A.R. Labs. They are stopped by the team of sidekicks, all grown up:
...their presence comes as a shock to Batman, Aquaman, and Green Arrow who are there on the same case. Everyone gets in each other's way, allowing the crooks to escape.

At the Hall of Justice(!), the six heroes compare notes, and we learn that the crooks at S.T.A.R. Labs were henchmen of the dreaded Ra's Al Ghul:
The sidekicks demand to be included on the mission to find out what Ra's plan is, so Batman gives Robin a choice of two possible locations of Ra's hidden fortress: both of them islands--one of them heavily fortified and dangerous, the other seemingly dull and safe.

Robin assumes this is a case of reverse psychology on Batman's part, and he and his friends purposely take the "safe" island, assuming its actually the dangerous one. Once they get there, though, Aqualad and Speedy are not so sure.

On the other island, we find out that Batman was doing double-reverse psychology, knowing Robin would look for a scam. Aquaman is delighted at Batman's ingenuity, Green Arrow's head hurts.

But no time for that, since our heroes are then attacked by giant, monstrous plant creatures. As they are held, a hologram of Ra's appears, revealing he is indeed on the other island! As Ra's men show up and attack the sidekicks, they have one response: "This is awesome!"
During the first commercial break, there was an ad for the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. I'm such a history nerd (and specifically a Presidential History nerd) that I still get a little charge when I see any of the former Presidents together, whatever I might think of their presidencies. Please visit the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund and make a donation. Okay, back to the show...

Back on the island, the sidekicks are met by Talia, Ra's beautiful, yet dangerous daughter. She flirts with Robin, which frustrates Aqualad, who just wants to kick butt:
Meanwhile, back on the other island, Batman, Aquaman, and Green Arrow try and fight there way through the killer plant creatures.

Batman calls a formation, and, just like his sidekick, chastises Aquaman for being out of sync. Aquaman, also like his sidekick, claims its Batman who's in the wrong:
Ra's henchmen--with Talia's help--get the best of the sidekicks, and after they're knocked out, they find themselves strapped to some posts in Ra's lair.

Back on the other island, Batman, Green Arrow, and Aquaman deal with the plant creatures:
Ra's offers Robin the chance to be his heir (he loves Talia, but insists he needs a male heir), but of course Robin turns him down. Ra's puts the sidekicks into a death trap involving buzzsaws, but they are helped by...Talia!

Robin thinks this is a sign she digs him, but she sets him straight: she intends to take over the "family business", and maybe its time Robin becomes his own man, too. Aqualad and Speedy snicker over Talia's putting Robin in his place.

Meanwhile, Ra's plan keeps moving: the island he's using a base becomes a flying fortress, headed towards Coast City! Ra's then aims a high-tech cannon at the city, shooting a beam straight into it.

Emerging from the blast are more of of Ra's malevolent plant creatures, which begins to attack the citizenry!

As Batman, Aquaman, and Green Arrow focus on stopping the plant creatures, the sidekicks try and stop Ra's cannon. They have to fight their way through Ra's henchmen, plus Ra's hulking brute of an assistant, Ubu.

Robin takes on Ubu, and Aqualad and Speedy try to take over the island's controls. They work as a real team, with Speedy saving Aqualad's bacon at last moment with a well-place arrow:
Outside, Batman finds Ra's and they engage in a one-on-one battle. Inside, Robin keeps trying to subdue Ubu, but it doesn't always go well:
...this shot, of Robin being punched off screen and flying through the air, made me laugh out loud.

Anyway, Robin, with the help of an electric charge from his bo staff, finally knocks out Ubu. Outside, Green Arrow fires some grappling hooks into Ra's flying island, and Aquaman has a school of whales grab them.

Commanding them as the King of the Seven Seas, he has the whales tow the island out to sea:
With Coast City now safe, the only battle left to fight is between Batman and Ra's. But Ra's gets away Talia swoops by in a helicopter, dropping a rope ladder so her father can escape.

Ra's island blows up, but its far enough away from Coast City that no one is harmed. Aquaman's response: "Outrageous!" He tries to console Batman (who is upset Ra's got away), and points out that not only is Ra's island no more, but now that the cannon has been destroyed, "The sea life off Coast City have a chance at renewal."

The adventure over, Batman, Aquaman, and Green Arrow tell their young charges how impressed they were with their efforts. Only Robin is missing...until he shows up in a brand-new costume:
Claiming he is no longer Robin, he's...

But Batman interrupts, assuming he was about to say "Nightwing."
Robin...er, Nighwing, is momentarily flummoxed, because that wasn't what he was going to say. But he decides to go with Batman's suggestion. Now, Robin the Boy Wonder is known as Nightwing!

Yet another really great episode under the show's belt, I loved having the two sets of heroes on the case, and the characters of Ra's Al Ghul and Talia were captured perfectly.

I liked the change up of having Talia into Robin, and the good-natured-but-still-there competitive tensions between the sidekicks. And the oh-so-fleeting glimpse of the Classic JLA was flat-out fantastic. Oh, and I think its a testament to how comfortable I've gotten with the Brave and the Bold version of Aquaman that seeing him here without a beard looks...weird!

Like we did for "Aquaman's Outrageous Adventure", tomorrow we're going to have a talk with Brave and the Bold Producer James Tucker, to find out more about this episode! Be here!


IADW said...

Nice run down! This was a great episode, and It's awesome that of the titans the three chosen were Dick, Garth, and Roy.

Who in the Satellite cameo though is the woman on the left in green? Fire?

Josh Hill said...

Yes, I would say that is definitely Fire.

Wow, this was such as awesome episode! I knew I would enjoy it, but didn't expect to love it this much! From that opening shot of the JLA (Martian Manhunter!) to Robin graduating to Nightwing, it was just...dare I say it? Outrageous!

I have really grown to love the Batman/Aquaman/Green Arrow trio. They make for some fun interaction, and it's interesting to see Batman in a different sort of "Trinity" from the one he is usually associated with. Here, Batman sort of takes on the Superman role of the inspirational hero, whereas Green Arrow is more tactical (Batman's usual role) and Aquaman is the warrior (Wonder Woman). Kinda cool.

Russell said...

I missed the very beginning, with the JLA shot!!!

Otherwise I LOVE how this show features Aquaman and Aqualad: tough as nails, and terrific hand-to-hand combatants. No wussy "Oh, I don't feel appreciated" crap here!!!!!

But why wasn't Kid Flash included? I especially wonder that when you can see The Flash standing in the JLA scene...! I hope you asked James Tucker that question, Rob.

Randy said...

Yes, it certainly was another great one this past Friday. Me, I loved seeing the JLA satellite (22,300 miles in orbit above Metropolis) and (Meanwhile at) the Hall of Justice.

Wings1295 said...

Sounds like a great episode! Gonna check the guide and record it now. Fun stuff!

Earth 2 Chris said...

No offense to "Aquaman's Outrageous Advenutre", this is now my favorite B&B episode! Even seeing Superman and Wonder Woman from the back was a kick, since it's their first appearance on the show. The JLA satellite was seen in the very first episode, but only in the background in space.

I nearly plotzed when they showed the Hall of Justice!

I really liked their take on Aqualad. It's funny that Speedy is the "dweeb" in the B&B Universe, since he was always the "cool" one in the comics.

And Nightwing! 'Nuff Said.


David said...

One of the awesome things about this show is the way its character designs suggest classic artists while keeping its own style. Batman has a Sprang feel to him, Plastic Man has a definite Jack Cole vibe and now Superman is shown with the short cape and huge yellow "S" Mike Sekowsky always gave him in (appropriately enough) the Justice League book.

Great stuff. If we can't get good comics any more, at least Warner's animation division knows how to do superheroes.

Joe Huber said...

I have to agree with Chris, this episode has knocked Aquaman's Outrageous Adventure from my top slot. I was so afraid that Garth was going to be characterized wimpy like he was in the Titans Year 1 mini, but he wasn't! I also like the fact that they don't have Arthur or Garth feeling the "fish out of water" effects. This show definitely plays up character strenghts, not weaknesses.

David J. Cutler said...

@Russel - I image they left out Kid Flash for the same reason they left out Wonder Girl. Aquaman and Green Arrow might be the most-recurring characters in the show, and other than cameos, Diana and Barry have yet to appear so there's no dynamic established to play with with the junior versions.

But man, I cannot wait to buy this DVD.

wich2 said...

Some great Presidential Team-ups here, Rob:


(Check out HST tinkling the ivories for JFK!)

-Craig "sometime Abe" W.

Scott Bryan said...

The little nods to other things is always great. I loved "Sit, Ubu, sit", which is the closing mark on several TV shows like Night Court.

I loved the nod to Dick's 1st Nightwing costume just like I enjoy his Earth 2 Robin costume.

It's great seeing Aquaman again, and seeing Speedy and Aqualad, too.

Having both the JLA Satellite and the Hall of Justice was perfect, too.

My fav part, however, was the JLA at the beginning. We even got cameos of Superman, Wonder Woman, Martain Manhunter and Barry Allen as Flash, a B&B first for all of them!

hobbyfan said...

I caught the last part of the show. Ultimately, it's going to wind up On Demand, and we know CN will play it into the ground otherwise. I'm finally warming up to B & B, and you have to know that there are going to be people practically demanding Superman and/or Wonder Woman in a full-length ep before it's all said & done. Swank!

Adama said...

Awwww man, that episode was amazing! Yeah, I actually like Speedy being a bit of a dork. Growing up with GA as a parent figure, you're bound to be a bit abnormal :)