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Monday, July 11, 2011

Brave and the Bold: "Time Out For Vengeance!"

Once again, the Shrine turns to iTunes to watch brand-new episodes of Batman: Brave and the Bold (since who the heck knows when they'll air on Cartoon Network?). In this case, it's the JLI-centric episode "Time Out For Vengeance!"

After an opening interlude with The Creeper, we open on the streets of Gotham City ('natch), with Batman in a fight with Catman. Just as he apprehends the felonious feline, Batman begins to twinkle all Twilight-like, and then disappears!

Cut to: the JLI Satellite, where its members (Ice, Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, and Guy Gardner, reading a Brother Power The Geek comic) are killing some time. Martian Manhunter arrives to break up a fight between Guy and Booster, followed shortly with Aquaman and Fire:
They bring grim news as well as a guest: Rip Hunter, Time Master!

Rip informs the JLI that Batman has been erased from the space-time continuum, and a team of bad guys have been hopping through the time stream, offing the various Batmen of different time periods, creating a ripple in reality!

Aquaman is in no mood to wait: "We've got Batmen to save!"
The group breaks up into smaller teams with Rip taking them through the time stream. Guy and Ice land in pre-historic time, where they encounter a Caveman Batman. They successfully keep him from being assassinated by a mysterious foe who similarly appears from another time. Guy recovers a small piece of the bad guy when they see it's just an android.

Beetle and Booster arrive to meet Pirate Batman, with the same results: team-up then defeating an android assassin.

Finally, Aquaman and Fire are deposited in Roman times, which delights the Sea King to no end:
Aquaman ignores Fire's theory that they should lay low, quickly drawing a crowd when they see he looks like their god Neptune. Some Roman guards arrest them, and he grudgingly goes along with Fire's suggestion that they acquiesce so they have more time to find the Batman of this era.

Just moments later, Batmanicus shows himself, which means Aquaman can finally bust some heads!
This Batman helps them fight off the Roman soliders, only for another android to attack. It animates a bronze statue to attack, and it does the whole Ray Harryhausen bit until Aquaman rams the beast, knocking it over, crushing the android. It's a two-fer!

Their mission accomplished, they go back to their normal time, but with one major difference: only Rip Hunter and Manhunter remember who Batman even is!

Rip Hunter examines the piece of android Guy brought back, and theorizes that it some future Batman that has been removed, causing unpredictable waves in the time stream. The JLI hops back into Hunter's time bubble, and heads for the future!

They make their way to a massive palace, run by the supervillain Equinox, who has taken control of a very different Batman: an android Caped Crusader!

Equinox fought "our" Batman in a previous episode of B:BATB ("The Fate of Equinox"), and when he was destroyed, a small part of his life energy was sent into the future, where his pure malevolence--freed from all his other emotions--put his Batman-erasing plan into action.

Equinox sics an army of his android soldiers at the JLI, where Aquaman really gets to let loose:
This sequence ends with Aquaman hurling a severed android head into a group of other androids, blowing them all up. Outrageous!

Robot Batman frees himself from Equinox's clutches, hurling a Batarang into the time panel, bringing all the various Batmen into the future, where they collectively defeat Equinox, who has taken the body of one of his androids. Equinox blows up yet again, this time for good?

Moments later, OG Batman arrives along with Rip and Manhunter:
Now back in the time stream, he turns to thank his robot doppleganger, shaking his hand in a scene that screamed out "Batman TV show credits" in its framing and animation style:
...you decide!*

The adventure seems over, until Guy points out that when Equinox was destroyed previously, he was shattered into many pieces that spread out all over the universe, and time itself. That means Equinox is still out there, somewhere...

The Shrine is a broken record when it comes to these B:BATB episodes, since I've yet to see one that wasn't loads of fun, steeped in the rich history of the DCU. This episode was written by comics legend J.M. DeMatteis, and is a lot less, er, cartoony than the previous JLI-centric episode, "Darkseid Descending!". While I enjoyed that episode as well, I was happy to see the team presented here as more of an effective team of heroes, not a sitcom-esque group of squabbling goofs.

Plus Aquaman gets some good, head-busting moments, and that is always welcome!

*Post Script: I asked B:BATB producer James Tucker if the Batman TV show nod was intentional, here was his response: "Well it wasn't intentional, but I never regret camp, intentional or not. Chalk it up to the board guy having some fun and perhaps some stiff animation. I don't know if anyone caught that that Batman robot of the future was drawn to be a call out to the giant Batman robot in Batman #104 'Robin's 50 Batman Partners!'."

That one certainly went over my head!


Anonymous said...

Yeees, Romans ! 8)

Wings1295 said...

Just awesome stuff! Wouldn't it be so great if this Aquaman was spun-off into his own show?

Aaron said...

But I was going to fight ROMANS!!!

Orin's dad said...

This show ROCKS!

David J. Cutler said...

I love that B:BATB never shies away from stories where Aquaman is nowhere near the water. They even had some characters take to the ocean in this one, but sent Aquaman back to fight Romans with Fire.

Tempest127 said...

Great...so now Blue Beetle, Guy Gardner and Booster Gold have officially made more appearances than the more obvious Robin, Speedy and Aqualad. I like this series but I wish they could have incorporated the Titans more often. After all, they actually appeared in The Brave And The Bold comics series and these other guys didn't.