Batman: The Brave and the Bold -- "The Revenge of the Reach" & "Aquaman's Outrageous Adventure"
-- Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes)
I apologize for the tardiness of these post games. The holidays are still a blur and I think I have a bit of whiplash from it all. I hope your holiday season was splendid and memorable -- now let's get on to the show(s).
First on the plate, there's "Revenge of the Reach", which teams up the Green Lantern Corps, Blue Beetle and, of course, Batman. Though, the episode starts with a bit from the Challengers of the Unknown. I loved how the writers introduced such an obscure team of characters to non-comic fans. Just as "Prof" (who I always read as PROHF and not PRAWF) is getting a sample of a meteorite, Batman shows up and soon both Challengers and Batman are fighting a spider that was mutated by the meteorite's radioactivity. Now, I like how the Challengers didn't really need Batman's assistance, since Prof handled the situation promptly, and even gets recognition from Batman as he states it seems like they have it under control.
Or so it would seem. As the team advances more on the meteorite, they are in for a nasty surprise: Starro has arrived. However, they did something a little different here. Usually the intro is usually a set up for the rest of the episode or just something that is a bit to introduce a character they can use later on -- just a means to establish somebody. This time, they had an ominous "to be continued..." attached to it to lead into the show credits. I've heard that Superman and Wonder Woman are going to make an appearances later in this season, so perhaps it's a set up for a Justice League? Though, that's basically what happened to the last season of "The Batman" where it became almost like a Justice League show, but that shouldn't be the point of a Batman-centric show, in my opinion.
So, after the snazzy intro music, we see Blue Beetle up against <a href=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evil_Star>Evil Star</a> in outer space and it seems Jaime is a bit overpowered and is reminded by the Scarab that Batman told him he was not ready for a solo mission. So how does a teenager with alien technology beat a villain like Evil Star? He takes advice from a friend who knows how to beat Evil Star on the Blue Beetle video game. Yes. Apparently it can be that easy, and boy does Beetle take down Evil Star. To the point where he is beating up Evil Star, though lucky for him, Batman was nearby and halted the beating. Beetle apparently still has to prove to Batman he's able to perform solo, so he suggests that they take Evil Star to Oa.
It doesn't go exactly how they planned.
After Beetle turns over Evil Star, he is greeted by an ensemble of GLC members who demand that Jaime hand over the Scarab. Of course, Beetle isn’t going down without a fight, and fights back against the GLC members led by Guy Gardner. The two scrap it out until Batman intervenes and both Batman and Beetle get informed by the Oan Guardian Ganthet that the Scarab is actually part of an alien race known as the Reach. Jaime refuses to give up the piece of technology, and the Guardians are actually waiting out to see if the Scarab's programming will take over Jaime or not. Pretty bold move, if you ask me.
Too bad Jaime finds out firsthand what the Reach are all about. Internally, the Scarab confronts Jaime from within and takes him over. He starts going on a rampage becoming unstoppable. He easily takes down G'nort, Guy, Kilowog, and even Batman, and actually manages to shut down Oa's defenses, leaving it wide open for a Reach invasion. Jaime is trying to do his best to conquer the Scarab which has taken over his mind and body, but he is not succeeding. So now we have the GLC vs. members of the Reach in a couple of really well-animated fights, showing what the Reach are really capable of as they take down Green Lanterns left and right.
Of course with Green Lanterns out of the way, Batman is fighting off Jaime with batarangs (which I'm sure wasn't the best idea at the time), and all the while encouraging him to fight off the Scarab’s influence. He finally does so and overcomes the Reach's influence, coming up with an idea on how to stop them: by focusing the remaining Green Lanterns' willpower energy on the Reach members, causing the Scarabs to fall off and melt away, restoring them to their normal selves. With the Reach finally dispatched, the Guardians ask for Jaime's Scarab, but Guy is the one who actually vouches for Jaime to keep it. In addition to that, Batman finally admits that Jaime is ready for solo missions.
Now that fact that Batman finally admits how strong Jaime is after belittling him only when he's kicking his ass is just nonsense. He's teamed up with Beetle how many times now? I just would have thought Batman would have had more faith in his would-be apprentice. Plus, who says Batman is the judge of anybody's preparedness to take on crime by themselves? It just seemed a bit odd to me, and I had hoped more out of an episode written by J. M. DeMatteis.
So, with that episode behind us, let's talk about "Aquaman's Outrageous Adventure" which most watchers will either despise or call it the best episode to date for one simple reason: it clearly shows the direction this show has been going and probably headed to. I, for one, loved it. Really, really loved it. It's amazing what this show can do on your perception of a character.
The episode starts out a bit puzzling. It's World War I, and troops are being beaten by squid-like humanoids using alien technology to beat them, when all of a sudden, Batman shows up piloting a bi-plane. Aviator goggles, scarf and all, the Dark Knight is in a dogfight with Enemy Ace. My face was all sorts of quizzical by the goings on. The two briefly team up and destroy the alien weaponry, and Batman makes his exodus. I don't think this opener worked unless there is perhaps another time-traveling episode later on in the season that would explain it, but it was cool to see Enemy Ace for a minute.
With that out of the way, we see Aquaman fighting long time rival <a href=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fisherman_(comics)>Fisherman</a>, but the fight quickly is revealed to be a dream as his wife Mera snaps Aquaman out of it. That's right, the Aqua-family is going on vacation! I love how his son is the typical teenager, but the best part was how the writers put him in the Craig Hamilton "oceanic camouflage" costume. Now that's a wonderful Easter egg for fans! Mera is excited that they can finally visit the surface world as a family, but soon we see that Aquaman is bored and hungers for the excitement of a good superheroic adventure.
At the family's first stop, Aquaman tries to call Batman and vent, but Batman is fighting henchman and Batman hangs up. Though, as luck would have it, the Clock King is nearby and Aquaman aids Green Arrow in taking him down. Another good part was how these mini-adventures were noted: by similar styles to the cover of old Brave and the Bold issues. Oh, just how awesome and creative was all of this? Just classic stuff going on here. So after Aquaman stops Clock King by summoning lobsters, he runs back to his family to enjoy a piece of apple pie.
Next stop for the Aqua-family is an Old West-themed venue with Aquaman trying to excite his family. "Hey, is that Jonah Hex?" Priceless. He sends them on a stagecoach ride while he checks out a saloon to call Batman again, but is met with the same response as before. Well, lucky for Aquaman again, Blue Beetle is nearby fighting the Planet Master. I think myself well-versed in DC lore, but I had never heard of that guy and just thought it was a sort of parody of Marvel's Captain Marvel, at least esthetically. Turns out, he's an old school baddie who made his first appearance back in 1961. Just proves to show that even the most hardcore fanboy can be taught something by this show.
So, as with Green Arrow, Aquaman invites himself to the skirmish and helps Beetle take down the celestial-powered villain. Though time around, Beetle is star-struck that he actually teamed up with THE Aquaman. Later, with his family checking into their hotel, Aquaman is outed by news coverage of his team up with Beetle, and of course Mera is not amused. Aquaman then promises his queen that he will forsake the adventuring for the rest of their vacation.
What comes next had me laughing out loud and squealing at the screen at all the cameos and winks and nods to fans: Atom fighting Bug-Eyed Bandit on Aquaman's van's windshield; the family traveling to Smallville and Fawcett City, Star City; the Sportsmaster riding next to Aquaman who turned out was also on vacation. Just on and on, and so much fun. When Aquaman does receive a call from Batman he admits that he's actually loving the adventure of the vacation, but Batman is calling in genuine distress this time since the Penguin has captured him. Aquaman packs the family up in the van and heads towards Gotham, where there's even a nod to
Aquaman goes to find Batman, but he and his family are all caught by the Penguin, who is launching umbrella missiles. Only in Gotham, folks. Mera forgives Aquaman and that this adventure isn't over yet. Aquaman then summons crabs to assist in getting Batman's utility belt from the Penguin. Batman reverses the umbrellas, and sides with the Aqua-family who really gives it to the Penguin and his goons. Aquaman's family accepts that he has adventure is in his blood and they promise to go on more then, this time, Arthur, Jr. gets to name the adventure, appropriately titled "The Time My Dad Saved the World Again."
I couldn't be happier with how this episode presented Aquaman, his family and the fact that Batman actually played a minor part. Despite the fact that I'm not a huge Aquaman fan, I still had so much fun and hopefully you readers did, too.