Sunday, December 14, 2008

Batman: The Brave and the Bold Episode 4

Episode Four: Invasion Of The Secret Santas - I liked this episode more than the last one. I'm not sure how it would rank against the others, but it was better than the Aquaman episode. The intro this time features Batman and Blue Beetle again, and they face off against the Sportsmaster, who has apparently been around for a good long time. There is a lot of humor in this one, and it is mostly visual. It also has some of the darkest moments of the series so far. The main story is Batman and Red Tornado vs Fun Haus, who most internet chatter seems to say is the Toyman without any pesky ownership issues.

I never cared much for Red Tornado. I don't have any great thing against him, but he never did much for me. In this episode he is played completely as the robot trying to get the human experience. He doesn't really have any personality, and speaks in 'robot speak' like 'Observation: my character is a robot stereotype"... Ok, not that phrase specifically, but you see what I mean.

So... Fun Haus has an extremely convoluted plot to steal presents from what appears to be a small town where Red Tornado lives. First he sends aliens to attack, then he sends Santas in to attack, then he relies on every kid in town getting a specific action figure that will come to life on Christmas day 'Small Soldiers' style and then steal presents for him. I imagine that he spent way more money making all the stuff for this caper than he could ever recoup from it.

Running through this are two themes that are interwoven. The first is that Red Tornado wants to feel 'the Christmas spirit' that people feel, and the second is that Batman for some reason is avoiding it. During the course of things we see a yet again conveniently altered version of the origin story where this time young Bruce is a brat who doesn't get what he wants for Christmas, so his parents take him to a movie to make up for it, and get killed on the way home... Yep, right in the middle of the goofy show that doesn't feature Bruce Wayne is the very serious double murder, and this time it is Christmas related AND it is even more his fault.

The particularly good parts of the episode to me are:
  • When Blue Beetle KO's the Sportsmaster's goons, all the bowlers trapped in giant see through bowling pins clap for him.
  • Each time there is a new attack by Fun Haus's creations you get the close up of the same lady screaming in the style of old monster/invasion movies.
  • Red Tornado giving Batman a 'World's greatest detective' mug.
  • Red Tornado overloads himself and blows up, and then attributes it to the 'Christmas spirit' that he has been so desperately seeking.
  • All the little action figures transforming into a giant robot.
  • Batman goes through roughly 1000 batarangs in this episode, I swear.
  • Blue Beetle inviting Batman over for Christmas dinner.
  • Batman riding a reindeer to catch up with a runaway sleigh.
It all came together to form a pretty enjoyable episode, despite containing a combination of what I saw as weak elements. I am still enjoying this series.

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