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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Brave and the Bold: "Sword of the Atom!"

For some unfathomable reason, the Cartoon Network has decided not to show a bunch of new Batman: Brave and the Bold episodes, even though they are all ready to air, and have been made available via iTunes!

Like many people I'm sure, I've been very frustrated with Cartoon Network's bizarre scheduling of the show: a weird time slot (Fridays at 630--whuh?), very little promotion, difficultly finding out what episodes are airing when, no repeats--and sometimes they don't even air the episode they said they were going to air!

So I started just skipping the CN altogether and purchasing Aqua-centric episodes via iTunes. Lucky for all Aqua-Fans, this episode, "Sword of the Atom!", is chock-a-block with the Aquatic Ace!

First up is the pre-credits sequence, a completely out-of-left-field piece called "The Currys of Atlantis":
Done in the style of a 60s sitcom, The Currys of Atlantis opens with Aquaman singing a song about his family, which of course includes his queen Mera and son Arthur Jr.:

There's also the Currys' troublesome neighbor, Black Manta. Luckily Aqualad is on hand to help out
This "episode" has Aquaman very excited--its Tuesday after all, which means adventure with Batman! But before he can go off on a mission, he has to deal with his neighbor Black Manta, who is mad that Aquaman's dolphin pal Fluke is constantly hanging around his house!
After having a talk with Fluke, Aquaman gets ready for Batman's visit. Except he has forgotten something more important--it's his and Mera's anniversary! Aquaman has to cover, pretending he didn't forget. He even has to shoo the Dark Knight Detective, who shows up ready for their adventure, away so he can spend time with Mera.

After reiterating his undying devotion to Mera, all is forgiven and the studio audience swoons to the sight of Aquaman and Mera making up:
This opening segment is completely insane, and I loved it. Since this is the last (*sniff*) season of Batman: Brave and the Bold, you get the feeling the cast and crew of the show just said the hell with it, let's get as crazy as we can, taking these characters in places you'd never thought you'd see them go. Maybe I'm crazy, but I'd be totally up for a Currys of Atlantis webisode series!

But that's not all the Aquaman in this episode! No, the main plot focuses on The Atom--or more precisely, Ryan Choi, who assumed the mantle of the Tiny Titan from Ray Palmer, but has since most retired, returning to his life as a college professor.

While at work, Ryan gets a call from Aquaman, telling him of an urgent mission. Aquaman says he'll be right there, after he travels through the phone lines to Choi's location. Choi sighs, trying to explain that A)Aquaman doesn't have that ability, and B)This is a cell phone call anyway, meaning there are no phone lines!

Of course, Aquaman knows all this, and is just putting Choi on:
He's here to get help from The Atom: he received a distress call from Batman while Bats was searching for the original Atom, who had gone missing. Now Batman is missing, too! Choi wants nothing to do with this, but Aquaman won't listen, bullying him into coming along.

They make their way to the Atom's ("The fun one, that is" Aquaman chirps) last known location, a remote cabin in the jungle. Choi finds a set of tiny footprints, which they believe are Batman's, who shrank himself to go looking for Ray Palmer.

Using a White Dwarf star shrink ray left behind, Aquaman grabs Ryan and shrinks them both!
They follow Batman's trail, where they conclude he fought a Hercules Beetle, then a Poison Dart Frog, who is still hanging around, and is looking to make Aquaman and Ryan its next meal! Aquaman is less than happy to deal with an amphibian at all:
"Never trust an amphibian: land or water, choose a side!"

Aquaman defeats the frog, and they continue to follow Batman's trail. We flashback to see that Batman had found Ray Palmer, who has been living in a microcosmic world deep in the jungle called Morelade. Its populated by a small community of aliens, who crash-landed on Earth and have been living there for many years, hidden from the rest of the world.

Ray is trying to help the aliens get back home, and the community's princess has fallen in love with him, wanting him to come home with them. But another member of the group, a chancellor to the royal family named
Deraegius, is aghast at an outsider infiltrating their society.

When Ray returns with Batman in tow,
Deraegius has had too much: he promises to take Batman back to his Batjet, but actually knocks him out. When Batman wakes up, he's caught in a spider's web!

Meanwhile, Aquaman and Ryan--who is annoyed at Aquaman's constant insistence that Ryan accept his life as a superhero--climb aboard two silverfish, called into duty via Aquaman's telepathic powers. They continue the search, which delights Aquaman to no end--Hi-yo, Silverfish!
Aquaman finds Batman about to be eaten by a spider, and manages to free his pal with some well-place punches. Together they stun the spider long enough to escape. Batman tells them that Ray is in trouble, and they quickly head back to Morelade, where Ray and his soon-to-be-bride have been put into a death trap by Deraegius.

Batman, Aquaman, and Ryan arrive in time to help The Atom fight off a giant beast and a small army of Deragus' men:
Undeterred, Deraegius uses Palmer's shrink ray to enlarge himself, in an attempt to crush our heroes! While Batman, Aquaman, and Ray Palmer struggle in Deraegius' huge, vice-like grip, it's Ryan Choi who figures out how to defeat him: using the poisonous stinger of the frog, he uses himself as decoy, drawing Deraegius to try and step on him, stabbing himself with the poisonous dart!

Deraegius collapses, and is imprisoned. Ray Palmer marries the princess, saying he's going to stay behind and help the people of Morelade build a world. Besides, he's sure that the world will not be deprived of an Atom.

And he's right: soon after, we see Ryan has taken up the mantle of The Atom once again, much to the pleasure of Batman and Aquaman:
Aquaman tearfully states: "Once a superhero, always a superhero!"

As is usual with Brave and the Bold, this episode is loads of fun, and not just because Aquaman plays such a huge part: the show manages to cram in a lot of action, plot, and characterization in just twenty-two or so minutes. Aquaman is in fine form here: goofy and upbeat, full of brio and courage, and he sort of treats Ryan in a fatherly way, knowing he can nudge the superhero out of him with just a little effort.

And aside from all that, The Currys of Atlantis deserves a special place in the history of the character--once again, the fine folks behind Brave and the Bold take the character to new heights.

I asked Friend of the Shrine (and Brave and the Bold Producer) James Tucker who came up with The Currys of Atlantis. Here's what he said:

"The idea for an Aquaman sitcom was Michael Jelenic's. It was my idea to loosely (very loosely) base the theme song on the short-lived show, The Pruitts of South Hampton. I wrote the theme song too and Michael McCuistion did the music. It was a ton of fun. Fun fact, this teaser was intended to be at the front of the Superman episode, but it wasn't ready in time so we swapped it with The Mummy Batman teaser."

Outrageous! Thanks James!


Wings1295 said...

Going to need to lay my eyes on this episode! Looks like a total blast!

The opening sequence is just amazing!

Straight To DVD said...

Can we get this Currys Of Atlantis on YouTube somewhere? I'd love to have a look!

Tempest127 said...

Oh cool---thanks for that, Rob! I've got to download this tomorrow. (I'm glad I'm not the only one who remembers "The Pruitts Of Southampton," btw). The plot sounds more like out of "Ozzie And Harriet," though--too cool. (As long as Aqualad wasn't forgotten, I'm happy)!

Speaking of iTunes, has anyone else noticed that if you buy "Aquaman" on it, you get the complete episodes as they originally aired in 1968 (not split up as on the official DVD)! They include the "filler" cartoons AND the bumpers. So far, I've only picked up the three episodes with the Teen Titans fillers (since I have all of these on DVD); it was totally worth it to see it as it was when I was a kid!

Rick L. Phillips said...

sounds like it was a good episode. wish i could have seen it.

Orin's dad said...

Sounds absolutely outrageous! I didn't even know these were available on itunes even through they weren't shown. I love this show and am sad CN decided to do away with it. Thanks for the update rob!

Anonymous said...


You have to review "Time Out for Vengeance" also ! Lots of Aquafun and JLI too ! :)

And by the way : Young Justice episode "Targets" was also (shortly) available on CN website, and Aqualad is in it !

I don't understand anything at CN's logic, but after a terrible wait, I was able to see 3 B&B and 1 YJ episodes nearly one after each other.

And it was, it was... OUTRAGEOUS ! 8)


Earth 2 Chris said...

Cartoon Network must hate their corporate sibling, DC. They treated Justice League like a red-headed stepchild, and have done the same to B&B. The only DC show they've given any love has really been Teen Titans. YJ has a Happy Meal promotion going on, but CN didn't even bother to air new episodes they had then!!!

They'd rather pump tripe like "Adventure Time" and "The World of Gumball" and other stuff that looks like it was created by over-sugared 8 year olds.


Andy Luckett said...

I don't get CN's thinking either. Postpone new episodes of two hit shows while heading into summer? Weird. I may just go ahead and check these out on iTunes cuz this one in particular sounds fantastic. I especially like the touch of the "IN COLOR" text on the Currys of Atlantis title card. Maybe iTunes will make it easier for me to track down new YJ episodes to review, too...

Jason Fetterley said...

I just checked and "Sword of the Atom!" is also available on Amazon Instant Video along with the other five of the first six BTBATB Season Three episodes. Outrageous!

rob! said...

Thx for the info Jason!

David J. Cutler said...

Never seen "tripe" and "Adventure Time" together in the same sentence before, Earth 2 Chris. Madness.

Awesome episode, opening had me in tears. Can't wait for the DVD.

Shellhead said...

It's not just BATB, they've delayed Young Justice tremendously. While I enjoy BATB, it does get a bit goofy at times. YJ on the other hand, never stoops to the silliness level.

Tempest127 said...

Cartoon Network is like all the others these days: Far too focused on reality or game shows of the live-action nature. Sure, they are far less expensive to make than cartoons, but they are "Cartoon Network," after all, and what's cheaper than running 60 year old cartoons laced with a few new ones? Holy low overhead, Batman! (Or rather, "Jumpin' Jellyfish!")

David J. Cutler said...

I should also mention how much I love the idea that Tuesday night is Batman and Aquaman's night to hang out and fight crime. Would kill to see that in the 'real' continuity.

saxman1.586 said...

Re: beginning of article: I would just like to point out that Cartoon Network has had scheduling problems for YEARS!! There have been many times where what was scheduled has not been what was shown. Or, the starting time of a show is unexplainably changed at the last minute. I've written letters to them in the past with no response. Since they are still up to their old tricks, I can only guess that they just don't really care about their viewers!!!