With each new episode, Batman: The Brave & the Bold producers Mike Jelenic and James Tucker face a truly serious challenge. They have to somehow manage to keep their series fast and fun while not forgetting the action and easter eggs the fans also come to expect. To their credit, they usually pull it off with aplomb.
This latest episode, “Menace of the Conqueror Caveman,” which makes its debut Friday on Cartoon Network, is one of those cases of a glass half-full (or half-empty).
As always, the show is composed of two segments. The first teaser segment features Wildcat (R. Lee Ermey) as the guest hero. The aging JSA'er is ticked because the Caped Crusader asked for an assist on an escaping villain. The former boxer thinks he has liver spots bigger than Pain (a non-verbal roll). Of course, that’s before Pain pumps up.
When the South American merc then uses his two hands as the side of a bell and Batman’s head as the clapper, Wildcat finds out he’s kind of underestimated his opponent. See if you can find the reference to Knightfall before the preview is over.
The main event is the introduction of Booster Gold (Tom Everett Scott). In true form we first meet Booster when he’s trying to convince a toy manufacturer that he’d be deserving of a licensing deal. We also see Booster go flying out said company…in the most undignified manner possible.
That’s when Booster gets the idea the Dark Knight needs a partner. A few escapades with Gotham’s greatest should “boost” his Q rating considerable. You don’t even have to hear Deidrich Bader to see Batman’s shorts chafing over the concept. Then again, Booster does come with his robot companion Skeets (Billy West), and the little ‘droid has some handy features, as well as a much more sensible attitude.
Quite frankly, all of this would have been grand except for Tucker and Jelenic’s choice of the villain of the segment. Even though Michael Dorn does an incredible job of voicing Kru’ll the Caveman, the character and his “immortal” henchmen are so ridiculous it’s hard to take him as a threat. By the time this segment is done, you will ask just where in the world is Vandal Savage when you need him.
Does this mean this is the last time we will see Booster and Skeets? Personally, I don’t think so. The basic concept of Booster Gold is sound and can add some fun resonance to future episodes. Also, as Dorn did do such a fine job given the character he’s handed, he deserves another round as a different villain.
As said before, Tucker and Jelenic have set quite a challenge for themselves. Considering their overall solid ratio of good episodes versus bad, one can live with this marginal miss.