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Monday, December 06, 2010

Brave and the Bold: "Darkseid Descending!"

It's been ages since Aquaman had any sort of significant appearance in an episode of Batman: Brave and the Bold, but last Friday we finally got one!

After an opening segment any Firestorm Fan would be happy with, we find Batman and Aquaman aboard the JLA Satellite--it seems the Justice League, at least in its most recognizable form, is no more(!).
Batman and Aquaman are on hand, though, to welcome a whole new group of heroes as members of the JLA: Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Guy Gardner, Fire, and Ice (somewhere, of in the distance, "Bwa-ha-ha-ha!" can be heard).

Batman explains that there is a grave threat facing the Earth: an approaching army from the planet Apokolips, led by the all-powerful Darkseid!

But none of the heroes seem all that interested in the hero part of being in the League--Booster is focused on putting the moves on Fire and/or Ice, Blue Beetle is awestruck just to be there, and Guy Gardner is...well, Guy Gardner.

Another old hand still with the JLA is the Martian Manhunter, and along with Batman and Aquaman they sit the heroes down and explain to the younger heroes just what's at stake. Months ago Batman sent the Question to Apokolips, undercover, to learn what Darkseid's plans were. But The Question has gone missing, and its up to Batman to piece together clues from his last transmission.

In the meantime, Manhunter shows the new members around the satellite, attempting to keep them interested. But he's an awful storyteller, so bad that Aquaman can't help but interrupt one of Manhunter's could-have-been-exciting stories:
"By Neptune's Trident, you do not know how to tell a story!"

When Booster Gold claims Hal Jordan's old room, Guy Gardner blows his top, and a brawl ensues. It gets so out of control that they accidentally hit Aquaman as he was trying to break them up. This, of course, sets Aquaman off:

Aquaman is able to knock some sense into both Booster and Gardner, at least for a moment. Finally Manhunter changes form into a tentacled creature, grabbing each hero and forcibly separating them.

Then a distress call comes in--boom tubes are appearing over several major cities on Earth, meaning Darkseid's armies are soon to arrive!

Martian Manhunter attempts a stirring rallying cry for his new teammates, which does the trick. Except...when we next see them, in Washington D.C., all the members of the League have been captured and imprisoned by Kalibak and his horde of Parademons. Poor Booster and Beetle have even been stripped of their uniforms!

But as Kalibak prattles on about how much he's going to enjoy killing each of them, Batman picks his lock, setting himself free and then soon the others. Its at this moment the League starts to act like a team, combining their efforts:
This gives the League the time to escape and regroup, courtesy of an alternate BatCave beneath the Lincoln Memorial (love it). With the help of Manhunter back on the satellite, Batman learns that a Boom Tube Generator is being built right there in Washington D.C., which will allow Darkseid to send his armies to Earth en masse.

Batman and Manhunter form a three-pronged plan, with each using the powers of two heroes. Aquaman and Fire are paired up:
But before the plan can be put in place, Kalibak and his Parademons smash their way into the BatCave, and Batman calls for Plan B: improvise!

This is music to Aquaman's ears, who jumps into battle head first:
...this is a great moment when Aquaman grabs one Parademon by the head, swinging him around and tossing him into the air, taking out a dozen other Parademons at once. Outrageous!

The JLA finds the Boom Tube Generator, but before they can get inside they see Darkseid has arrived! The JLAers try to combine their efforts again, this time aimed directly at Darkseid, starting with Aquaman ("En garde!"):
But its no use--with just a few quick energy blasts, Darkseid knocks them all out, and stands astride Batman, ready to deliver a killing blow.

But before he can, he sees that various Boom Tubes have begun appearing in the sky: but instead of sending more of his army to Earth, it is sucking them back to Apokolips!

The force is so strong is grabs every Parademon, every warship, even Darkseid himself inside, leaving only the Boom Tube Generator. A lone Parademon wanders out, but the JLAers soon see its really The Question in disguise! Undercover all this time, he was working in secret to try and figure out Darkseid's technology, which he did at the right moment.

Batman gives his team the order to "go nuts" and destroy the Boom Tube Generator, which ought to keep Darkseid on his side of the universe...for now anyway.

Back at the JLA Satellite, the team has a party to celebrate, which once again quickly dissolves into a fight when Booster takes a slice of cake Guy Gardner wanted. This fight once again drags Aquaman into it, and...
...the end!

This is the third Friday in a row where Aquaman was on Big Time TV, which just a few years ago would have seemed inconceivable. This is truly a great time for the character, and for all of us Aqua-Fans!

I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every Aquaman episode of Brave and the Bold (heck, every episode, period), but I think I'd say this one was probably my least favorite: the comedy--which was very funny (I particularly loved Ice's bizarre hatred of the Greeks)--sat a little uneasily aside the action and drama, which seemed really serious and threatening.

In a weird way, the show almost does its job too well, making some bad guys seem really menacing--Darkseid and his armies are very imposing, so where are all the other heroes Batman has met in the last two seasons? Maybe I'm over thinking it, but I, er, question Batman's judgment when all he brings to face the god-like Darkseid is a couple of jokers like Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, and Fire and Ice.

But hey, I'm happy to see Aquaman added to this JLI-type line-up, and he gets to bust some Parademon heads here, and I always enjoy that!


JRainey said...

I liked this episode because it showed AQ kicking some major butt. He can take on Booster and Guy without breaking much of a sweat. He can pick up a battleship and toss it like nothing. And I like that he is given aquatic-kinetic powers, which I have always thought he should have, and can use them with great affect. But a few things I didnt like. I didnt like that he seemed on par with Booster and Guy and the rest when he is and should be on the same level as Batman and J'onn J'onz. I also think he should have had a better relationship with J'onn. I have always thought they were friends like Superman is with Batman and Green Lantern is with Green Arrow. I understand this is the Batman Brave and the Bold version, which has the version of Aquaman I like the most, however I wish he was given more of a prominent status among the other heroes. I mean when The Question comes out more on top then he does I kind of feel he still gets the second tier treatment. But overall I enjoyed this episode. It was silly but fun and it included my two favorite superheroes AQ and JJ so it is definitely one I will remember.

Joe Slab said...

Loved it all. The humor, Aquaman's powers, the insidiousness of the invasion...another great B&B episode!

Brent said...

I have 2 nephews (age 4 and 7) who both love Aquaman, and only know this version of him. I'm encouraged that they'll grow up knowing him as a leader, fun, powerful, etc. Although I grew up on the Filmation and Super Friends versions and am still a fan. :)

And I echo JRainey's sentiment that they should add kinetic water powers to Aquaman's arsenal. Haven't they expanded others' powers in the past? Could Wonder Woman always fly for example?

Anonymous said...

C'mon, a Green Lantern is one of the most powerful forces in the DC Universe. Aquaman is not more powerful than a Green Lantern.

HollyH said...

I'm going to have to track this one down; I forgot to TiVo it!

I assume that Anonymous is addressing JRainey's comment about "I didnt like that he seemed on par with Booster and Guy and the rest when he is and should be on the same level as Batman and J'onn J'onz." But I don't think the point was about Aquaman's power-level; Batman is not more "powerful" than a Green Lantern, either. I took the point to be that Batman, Aquaman and Martian Manhunter should all be shown as peers in terms of "founding members of the JLA", as opposed to Booster Gold and Guy Gardner, who are a "younger generation" of hero. (A point I agree with.)

I know it would be a bigger departure than anything Peter David ever did to the character, but I have to say that Johns would have been smart, in "Brightest Day", to just say, "Hey, upon resurrection, Aquaman now has hard-water powers similar to Mera's", the way he does in B:TB&TB. It seems like the best opportunity to do it -- forget explaining it, reader disbelief is already suspended by the entire "coming back from the dead" thing, so if the guy wakes up with a "new" power (that could be somewhat explained as some kind of remnant from the old Water Hand days) it just adds to the mystery.

Not that I'm one of those people who thinks that Aquaman as he is doesn't have enough going for him. I'm obviously a fan of the set of powers that he has, when they're written to good effect. But TK power over water seems like an addition that has meshed with the character nicely in this show, at least.

Orin's dad said...

This is such a great show. I thought it was an interesting group that they used for the JLA, but certainly enjoyed watching Aquaman kick serious parademon butt. Throwing the tank was awesome. And you can't go wrong with a good old fashioned team brawl over trivial matters. Lol Ice's Greek references kept cracking me up as well.
I felt they did a good job of portraying Aquaman as the powerhouse that he is, instead of the "water guy" from a lot of other older cartoons (Superfriends, I love you, but you did make Aquaman seem rather weak by comparison)
Will hate to see this show end, it's been a lot of fun.

Ken O said...

Loved the JLI reunion. Was hoping Guy and Ice would have gotten some time together. The episode was very rushed when it actually came to fighting the bad guys. I think it would have worked better as a two parter.

Anonymous said...

This is the true power of Aquaman: I showed the clip of Aquaman interrupting Martian Manhunter's anecdote to my non-comic geek wife. She laughed out loud at Aquaman's outburst.

I'd rather not see Aquaman with hard-water powers, or "mastery" over water. He's powerful enough in my opinion, considering his strength and telepathy. And breathing under water? That's a pretty damn cool ability. Giving him hard-water powers just makes away from Mera's uniqueness to me.

James Chatterton