REVIEW: ARROWVERSE – CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS

Starring

Melissa Benoist (Whiplash)
Chyler Leigh (Not Another Teen Movie)
Katie McGrath (Jurassic World)
Jesse Rath (The Howling Reborn)
Nicole Maines (Bit)
Azie Tesfai (Superstore)
Lamonica Garrett (The Last Ship)
David Harewood (Homeland)
Stephen Amell (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: OOTS)
Caity Lotz (The Pact)
Brandon Routh (Superman Returns)
Tom Cavanagh (Yogi Bear)
Katherine McNamara (Shadowhunters)
Ruby Rose (The Meg)
Grant Gustin (Glee)
Camrus Johnson (Luke Cage)
Candice Patton (The GUest)
Dominic Purcell (Prison Break)
Matt Ryan (Layer Cake)
Danielle Panabaker (The Crazies)
Carlos Valdes (Vixen)
Hartley Sawyer (The Young and the Restless)
David Ramsey (Dexter)
Rick Gonzalez (Reaper)
Juliana Harkavy (Last Shift)
Katie Cassidy (Black Christmas 2006)
Jes Macallan (Kiss Me)
Nick Zano (2 Broke Girls)

Stephen Amell in Supergirl (2015)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Tyler Hoechlin (Teen Wolf)
Elizabeth Tulloch (THe Artist)
Audrey Marie Anderson (The Unit)
Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men)
Osric Chau (2012)
Erica Durance (Smallville)
Burt Ward (Batman 60s)
Robert Wuhl (Batman 1989)
Wil Wheaton (The Big bang Theory)
Alan Ritchson (Titans)
Curran Walters (Titans)
Russell Tovey (Being Human)
Tom Welling (Smallville)
Kevin Conroy (Batman: TAS)
Jonathan Schaech (Prom Night)
Wentworth Miller (Underworld)
Cress Williams (Reign of The Supermen)
Ashely Scott (Birds of Prey)
Stephen Lobo (Painkiller Jane)
John Wesley Shipp (The Flash 90s)
Dina Meyer (Starship Troopers)
Melanie Merkosky (An Eye for Beauty)
Ezra Miller (Batman V Superman)
Reina Hardesty (The Honor List)
Eileen Pedde (Dark Angel)
Brec Bassinger (47 Meters Down: Uncaged)
Yvette Monreal (Faking It)
Dereak Mears (Friday The 13th)
Teagan Croft (Titans)
Tom Ellis (Lucifer)
Minka Kelly (Friday Night Lights)
Anna Diop (US)
April Bowlbry (Two and a Half men)
Diane Guerrero (Justice League vs Fatal Five)
Joivan Wade (The First Purge)

LaMonica Garrett in Supergirl (2015)To prepare for the coming Crisis, the Monitor recruits Oliver Queen and sends him on missions to collect various items. He also retrieves the cadaver of Lex Luthor and revives him. Barry Allen and Iris West-Allen learn that the Crisis date has moved up to December 2019 and that to save billions, the Flash must die.To learn more about what happens to him, Barry travels to Earth-3 to see Jay Garrick and Joan Williams, who have been tracking antimatter signatures across the multiverse. They send Barry’s mind forward in time, causing him to see billions of timelines where the multiverse is destroyed and the one where he dies saving it.Tyler Hoechlin, Brandon Routh, Melissa Benoist, Grant Gustin, and Ruby Rose in Supergirl (2015)Meanwhile, on one of his missions, Oliver witnesses the destruction of Earth-2 from an anti-matter wave. Back in Star City, William Clayton, Connor Hawke, and Mia Smoak mysteriously time travel from 2040 to the present, while Oliver and John Diggle learn that Lyla Michaels has been working with the Monitor. Minutes before the Crisis begins, Nash Wells is teleported into a chamber under Central City after being promised a new life. At the start of Crisis, red skies loom over Central City and Lian Yu, where Lyla, now a “Harbinger of things to come”, collects Oliver and Mia.Tyler Hoechlin and Grant Gustin in Supergirl (2015)On an unspecified Earth, the skies turn red over Freeland, causing Jennifer Pierce’s powers to adversely react and tear her between her Earth and those of two of her alternate counterparts. As the Pierce family and Peter Gambi try to bring her back, the antimatter wave overtakes them while Jefferson Pierce is teleported away.Brandon Routh, Audrey Marie Anderson, Caity Lotz, and Grant Gustin in Supergirl (2015)As the Crisis begins, the antimatter wave destroys countless parallel universes. Meanwhile, on Earth-38, Brainiac 5 detects the antimatter wave approaching Argo City, prompting Kara Danvers to warn her mother Alura Zor-El, her cousin Clark Kent, and his wife Lois Lane. Clark and Lois narrowly send their son Jonathan off into an escape pod just as the wave wipes out Argo. Across Earth-1, Harbinger brings Barry, Kate Kane, Sara Lance and Ray Palmer to Earth-38. While Harbinger also rescues the Kents from Argo, Alura was not as fortunate.Tyler Hoechlin, Elizabeth Tulloch, and Ruby Rose in Supergirl (2015)Harbinger briefs the gathered heroes on the threat of the Anti-Monitor as the Monitor raises a quantum tower to impede the antimatter wave while the DEO and Lena Luthor work to evacuate the inhabitants of Earth-38 to Earth-1. Brainy locates Jonathan’s pod on Earth-16, so he, Lois, and Sara leave retrieve him while the others stay behind to fend off the Anti-Monitor’s forces. In preparation for his death, Oliver passes the mantle of Green Arrow to Mia. When he learns Barry is fated to die however, he argues with the Monitor over the deal they made last year. The heroes make their stand at the tower and fend off an army of shadow demons until the Monitor teleports them off-world, deeming the battle to be lost. Refusing to leave, Oliver temporarily nullifies the Monitor and stays behind to ensure the exodus succeeds. Back on Earth-1, Lois’ team returns with Jonathan before the Monitor brings a dying Oliver to say good-bye, commenting that this was not how he was supposed to die. Nash, now a “Pariah” for releasing the Anti-Monitor, appears and announces that events have changed and everything is doomed.Brandon Routh in Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Two (2019)With the Earth-1 Legends unavailable, Harbinger travels to Earth-74 to recruit Mick Rory so the heroes can use his Waverider as their base of operations. In the wake of Oliver’s death, which he cannot undo because of the Anti-Monitor’s growing power, the Monitor consults the Book of Destiny and learns of seven Paragons who could turn the tide. Four of them are Kara, the “Paragon of Hope”; Sara, the “Paragon of Destiny”; the “Paragon of Truth”, another Superman who has suffered “more than any mortal man”; and the “Paragon of Courage”, who is described as the “Bat of the Future”. Clark, Lois, and Iris locate the second Superman on Earth-96, though Lex uses the Book of Destiny to mind-control Clark-96 until Lex is knocked out by Lois.Tom Welling in Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Two (2019)Kara and Kate travel to Earth-99, where the latter fails to recruit an elderly crippled Bruce Wayne, who became a killer. Bruce is in turn accidentally killed in a heated confrontation with Kate and Kara. Elsewhere on Earth-18, Sara, Barry, Mia, and John Constantine take Oliver’s body to a Lazarus Pit in an attempt to resurrect him, but the accumulating antimatter across the multiverse prevents them from bringing his soul back. Back on the Waverider, the Monitor tasks Ray with building a “Paragon detector”, which identifies Kate as the true “Paragon of Courage”. Unbeknownst to everyone, Harbinger is secretly contacted by the Anti-Monitor.Cress Williams in The Flash (2014)With Cisco Ramon’s help, Ray’s “Paragon detector” identifies Barry as the “Paragon of Love”, J’onn J’onzz as the “Paragon of Honor”, and Ivy Town scientist Ryan Choi as the “Paragon of Humanity”. Iris, Ray, and Ralph Dibny attempt to recruit a reluctant Choi, who eventually complies when Iris assures him that ordinary humans can be heroes too. After the Monitor restores Cisco’s powers, he, Barry, and Caitlin Snow meet up with Pariah at the Anti-Monitor’s chamber beneath Central City, where they find an anti-matter cannon powered by the Flash of Earth-90. When Cisco frees Barry-90, the cannon goes critical, so Pariah recruits Jefferson from his recently-destroyed Earth to contain the energy.Brandon Routh, Cress Williams, Osric Chau, Grant Gustin, and Hartley Sawyer in The Flash (2014)Barry-1 volunteers to destroy the cannon, which would result in his prophesied death. However, Barry-90 stops him, claiming the Monitor didn’t specify which Flash would die in the Crisis and takes Barry-1’s place. Meanwhile, Constantine, Mia, and Diggle visit Lucifer on Earth-666 to get his help in entering Purgatory to retrieve Oliver’s soul. Before they can leave, Jim Corrigan appears and bestows the Spectre’s power on Oliver. He accepts, and Constantine’s team is returned to the Waverider without him. While the heroes regroup, the Anti-Monitor sends a brainwashed Harbinger to kill the Monitor so he can absorb his power and finish destroying the multiverse. Before the remaining heroes and Earth-1 are destroyed, Pariah sends the Paragons to the Vanishing Point to keep them safe, where they witness Lex replace Superman-96 with himself using a page from the Book of Destiny.Melissa Benoist and Ruby Rose in The Flash (2014)A flashback to the planet Maltus 10,000 years ago shows Mar Novu experimenting with time-travel to witness the birth of the universe, only to accidentally end up in the antimatter universe and reveal the multiverse’s existence to the Anti-Monitor. In the months since the multiverse was destroyed, the Paragons have struggled to survive. Once Corrigan teaches him how to use the Spectre’s power, Oliver heads to the Vanishing Point to rescue the Paragons and strengthen Barry’s powers. With his increased speed, Barry drops off Kara, Choi, and Lex on Maltus, but is then attacked by the Anti-Monitor, losing everyone else across the Speed Force. Despite an expected double-cross from Lex, Kara and Choi convince Novu not to go through with his plans. Once Barry retrieves everyone, they arrive at the dawn of time, only to learn the Anti-Monitor will always learn of the multiverse’s existence as there will always be a Novu in the multiverse who cannot give up his ambitions. The Paragons battle the Anti-Monitor and his shadow demons until Oliver uses the Spectre’s power to restore the multiverse, with the Paragons providing additional assistance via Lex’s Book of Destiny page. As a result, Oliver dies a second and final time in Barry and Sara’s arms.Jon Cryer, David Harewood, Osric Chau, Caity Lotz, Melissa Benoist, Grant Gustin, and Ruby Rose in Arrow (2012)Waking up in the newly recreated universe, the Paragons discover they are the only ones who remember the Crisis and that both Earth-38 and Jefferson’s Earth have been merged with Earth-1 into a composite universe later designated as Earth-Prime, among other changes throughout the multiverse. While J’onn uses his psionic powers to bring their allies up to speed, Sara attempts to find Oliver, though without success. Later that night, the Paragons are attacked by shadow demons. A restored and remorseful Nash discovers that the Anti-Monitor is still alive and plotting to renew his destruction of the multiverse. To stop him once and for all, Nash, Ray, Barry, and Choi work to develop a bomb capable of shrinking the Anti-Monitor for eternity while the other heroes distract him. Once finished, Kara uses it on the Anti-Monitor and sends him to the microverse. Sometime later, Barry, Kara, Sara, Kate, Clark, J’onn, and Jefferson hold a memorial service for Oliver before agreeing to come together as a league of heroes to protect their new world in Oliver’s memoryCress Williams, Caity Lotz, Melissa Benoist, and Grant Gustin in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)

The CW Arrowverse will never be the same again, this crossover is amazing on an epic level. Witth nods to such classic shows and movies as 60s Batman, Smallville, Birds of Prey, Titans, Doom Patrol and Batman 1989. Even a sneek peek at the upcoming Star girl. It’s an end of era for the franchise with the death of Green Arrow, but with his sacrifice starts a new era with the CW version of Super Friends (Justice League, and after 3 Seasons Black Lightning finally joins the Arrowverse. Green Arrow will be missed but Crisis shows that his legacy will live on.

REVIEW: TITANS – SEASON 1

Anna Diop, Ryan Potter, Brenton Thwaites, and Teagan Croft in Titans (2018)

Starring

Brenton Thwaites (Pirates of The Caribbean 5)
Anna Diop (Us)
Teagan Croft (Home and Away)
Ryan Potter (Big Hero 6)

Teagan Croft in Titans (2018)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Minka Kelly (Just Go With It)
Alan Ritchson (Smallville)
Reed Birney (Gossip Girl)
Curran Walters (Girl Meets World)
Rachel Nichols (Alex Cross)
Conor Leslie (Chained)
Sherilyn Fenn (The Wild Life)
Brendan Fraser (Bedazzled)
Matt Bomer (Chuck)
Lester Speight (Faster)
Elliot Knight (Life Sentence)
Marina Sirtis (Star Trek: Generations)
Seamus Dever (Hollywoodland)
Alain Moussi (Pompeii)
Lindsey Gort (2 Guns)
Jeff Clarke (Downsizing)
Melody Johnson (Jason X)
Jeni Ross (Stage Fright)
Logan Thompson (IT)
Tomaso Sanelli (Detention Adventure)
Meagen Fay (That’s My Boy)
Bruno Bichir (Che)
April Bowlby (Twp and a Half Men)
Zach Smadu (Miss Sloane)
Richard Zeppieri (Earth: Final Conflict)

Melody Johnson, Zach Smadu, and Brenton Thwaites in Titans (2018)After all the hype over the past 12 months, the DC Universe streaming app is finally here – and with it, its first original production, Titans. In the lead-up to its debut, there’s been a lot of controversy about the show’s violence and infamous “F**k Batman” line. Many detractors complained about its edginess and DC’s doubling down on darker superhero material.Brenton Thwaites in Titans (2018)The simple fact is this: The MCU isn’t the be all and end all of everything comic book-related. Yes, it’s a proven formula that works, but there’s enough room for all sorts of superhero programming – including darker ones. Heck, just look at Marvel’s Netflix series as perfect examples of how it can work and exist in its own vacuum. Titans isn’t nearly as violent or obscene as some people anticipated. Remember how everyone was freaking out about Robin using guns and killing thugs? Well, DC gotcha. It was all clever editing in the trailer. While the Boy Wonder brings the pain to the criminals, he never crosses the line.Anna Diop in Titans (2018)That isn’t to say that there aren’t a few deaths in the show, because there are. Raven shows the darkness in her, while Starfire also displays what happens when you cross her. Even so, these actions aren’t inexplicable. They make sense in the context of the story, and you’ll understand better once you watch it.Brenton Thwaites in Titans (2018)In the premiere titled “Titans”, the focus is on Dick Grayson, Raven, and Starfire.  Raven is the central point of the series and is what brings the team together. Her gift – or curse – is what sets off the series of events, and she seeks out Grayson’s assistance. At the same time, we get insight into Grayson’s new life as a detective in Detroit after his split with Batman. There’s still a lot more to explore, but it lays down a good basis of Grayson’s inevitable transformation into Nightwing. Starfire is a bit of a conundrum here, as she struggles to remember her memories and embarks on a quest to find out more about her “forgotten” life.Anna Diop, Ryan Potter, Brenton Thwaites, and Teagan Croft in Titans (2018)From a structural point-of-view, the series introduces these characters in a fluid way. While team-up series always run the danger of stuffing too many characters into an episode, Titans avoided this by focusing only on three of them. In fact, Beast Boy only made an appearance at the end of the first episode, but when you keep watching he becomes a more fleshed out character and is key to the introduction of Doom Patrol. Brenton Thwaites in Titans (2018)The story grips you from the get-go as well. There are a few narrative threads that need to be unravelled and you’ll want to tune in to see what happens next. Raven’s arc, in particular, looks to be like something out of a horror movie as she has numerous people after her, and you know things will take a turn for the worse at some point.Anna Diop and Teagan Croft in Titans (2018)Look, this isn’t a beat-for-beat reimagining of Marv Wolfman and George Pérez’s New Teen Titans; it takes influence from the source material but introduces its own twists and turns. While too much talk has centred on the series’ violence and F-bombs, it’s not as gratuitous as you’d think. There will be many people eating their words about Titans, that’s for sure. It’s something different, promising, and the premiere works in establishing this new universe. It leaves you pondering about a few of the mysteries it introduces and wondering what’s next. Isn’t that the purpose of any good show.

REVIEW: DOOM PATROL – SEASON 1

Doom Patrol (2019)

Starirng

Diane Guerrero (Justice League vs The Fatal Five)
April Bowlby (Two and a Half Men)
Joivan Wade (the First Purge)
Alan Tudyk (Firefly)
Matt Bomer (The Magnificent Seven)
Brendan Fraser (The Mummy)
Timothy Dalton (Flash Gordon)

Doom Patrol (2019)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Julie McNiven (Mad Men)
Julian Richings (Man of Steel)
Kyle Clements (2 Guns)
Alan Heckner (The Mule)
Ashley Dougherty (Dynasty)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Curtis Armstrong (American Dad)
Alec Mapa (Ugly Betty)
Lilli Birdsell (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Mark Sheppard (Battlestar Galactica)
Ted Sutherland (Rise)
Will Kemp (Reign)
Alimi Ballard (Sabrina: TTW)
Jasmine Kaur (Ender’s Game)
Lesa Wilson (Stargirl)
Anna Lore (Doom Patrol)
Bethany Anne Lind (Flight)
Ethan McDowell (The Gifted)
Jon Briddell (Nightmare Tenant)
Tommy Snider (Baskets)
Max Martini (The Order)
Joan Van Ark (Knots Landing)
Pisay Pao (Z Nation)
Susan Williams (The Accountant)
Devan Long (Bosch)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Haley Strode (Gangster Squad)
Victoria Blade (Chicago Fire)

Penultimate Patrol (2019)When I watched the first episode of Doom Patrol, I was immediately excited by what I saw: a great-looking, well-written story about surprisingly human superhumans with powers that were more than power fantasies. With the finale in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to look back and see if the show stuck to its ideas and made good on its promises.
In short, Doom Patrol is an incredibly special show – as a superhero/comic-book show, as a DC Universe show, and as just, you know, a dang TV show.April Bowlby and Joivan Wade in Doom Patrol (2019)At its roots, Doom Patrol is a show about people with disabilities. People with differences that separate them from “normal” people. They hide their disfigurements, struggle, and shame themselves. They stand out not as a matter of choice, but just by existing. And the show, the story, never loses sight of that. Through their adventures, the Patrol meets a sentient, teleporting, genderqueer street, a guy who gets special powers from eating beard hair (it’s gross), and a cockroach with a god complex. They get sucked into a donkey that farts words, end up inside a snowglobe with characters that would freak out the people who made Return to Oz, and break into a government facility that houses, among other things, carnivorous butts.Doom Patrol is a show that fully embraces its weirdness in a way very few shows manage. But throughout this, our characters continue to struggle and fight against the forces that work against them: a reality that wants to write their narratives for them, a government agency that wants to track, monitor, and use them because they don’t fit neatly into the idea of normalcy, and a few overprotective father figures with questionable ideas of what it means to protect their children or their charges.Diane Guerrero in Doom Patrol (2019)Together, the team validates each others’ struggles. Cliff immediately accepts Crazy Jane, and the eventual dive into her mind helps him understand that only she can put herself back together – and that it’s with the strength of her relationships that she can start to try to do it. Larry Trainor was a gay man living in mid-century America. When he was forcibly united with the Negative Spirit, the idea of hiding his real self from his loved ones became very literal, and the disfigurement he held for himself in his mind became real – and toxic. It wasn’t until he started to communicate with the spirit that he was able to find peace with his own truth. Cyborg, who I’ve previously described as a Justice-League-grade hero had to push his way out from under his helicopter-parent father to truly become himself and to find an even ground on which he could communicate with that father. The group went through therapy together, even if there was a rat inside Cliff’s head for it.Brendan Fraser, Diane Guerrero, and Riley Shanahan in Doom Patrol (2019)And while these characters were working through their collective and individual traumas, we got an incredibly good-looking show with stellar character designs and great visual effects. The arc that took the characters to Nurnheim stands out as an especially good-looking part of the show with some wild monsters for the characters to fight off, making them look like a superhero team for the first time.Riley Shanahan in Doom Patrol (2019)And few shows are so compassionate toward their characters. No show is perfect, especially when handling as many sensitive issues – disability, mental and physical trauma, sexual assault, hate, internalized ableism, just to start the list – but I don’t know if I’ve seen any show do it with such aplomb. This is a show about people with very real barriers to living normal lives, not super-geniuses who can take off their power armor, and it lets us into all of their struggles and loves them through it. With reports that suggest the show will see a second season, I can only cross my fingers and hope we’ll see more of these incredible characters.

REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE NEW FRONTIER

CAST
David Boreanaz (Angel)
Miguel Ferrer (Robocop)
Neil Patrick Harris (The Smurfs)
John Heard (Home Alone)
Lucy Lawless (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Kyle MacLachlan (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Lex Lang (Constantine TV)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer)
Brooke Shields (The Blue Lagoon)
Jeremy Sisto (Wrong turn)
Keith David (Pitch Black)
Robin Atkin Downes (Babylon 5)
Joe Mantegna (The Simpsons)
Alan Ritchson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014)
Justice League: The New Frontier (2008)
Darwyn Cooke entered the comic book world via an animation career that included a stint on the staff of Batman: The Animated Series. He quickly impressed fans with his clean, classic illustration style, using old ideas as fodder for fresh visions. It’s kind of fitting, then, that things have come full circle, and now his old animation cohorts are adapting one of his comic books into a movie. Justice League: The New Frontier is directed by frequent Cooke collaborator David Bullock, and it is based on the 2004 comic book miniseries The New Frontier. In that drawn adventure novel, the writer/artist used his love of 1950s comics and culture to weave a complex tapestry using a host of genres, characters, and real world political touchstones. It is a gorgeous book, and for the most part, massively entertaining.

A 75-minute film is actually a far more compact means of expression than a sprawling comic book miniseries. Bullock, working with Cooke as a creative consultant, has dropped a lot of the backstory, relegating subplots on Monster Island with the Losers and the original Suicide Squad to quick mentions. This leaves the full running time devoted to the superhero mission and the rise of two new heroes.

Justice League: The New Frontier starts just at the end of the Korean War, putting America in the middle of the space race and the Red Scare. Superheroes have been swept up in the xenophobic hysteria, with the public being convinced that men hiding their identities behind masks are no better than the communists who plan revolutions behind closed doors. Superman (voiced by Kyle MacLachlan) is still functioning above board, having signed a loyalty oath to America. So does Wonder Woman (Lucy Lawless), though she is less enamored with the American Way the more paranoid and oppressive it gets. Other heroes, like Batman (Jeremy Sisto) and the Flash (Neil Patrick Harris), are still serving the public, but they risk arrest with every good deed they do. In the midst of all this fear and loathing, a primordial psychic force that has watched from the shadows as mankind has grown more dangerous and self-destructive over the centuries has begun shoring up its power to put an end to the human scourge. Calling itself “the Center” (as in “of all things”), this creature has become the stuff of cults and legends, controlling the minds of men and monsters alike.

Also coming to the fore at this time are two new super beings, and they are ostensibly the leads of the ensemble cast. Hal Jordan (David Boreanaz) is a veteran and a test pilot who many believe to be a coward due to his refusal to fire his guns in battle. His nobility will eventually lead to him being chosen as the Green Lantern, a cosmic defender assigned to protect Earth. The other hero is J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter (Miguel Ferrer), who through a quirk of science was teleported to and stranded on our planet. He is the most representative of the “other,” the things we fear because they are different. Jordan’s political ideas make him like the communists, whereas J’onzz’ green skin gives the storytellers room to tie his plight into race.

Justice League: The New Frontier is an entertaining animated adventure. Based on a multi-leveled comic book by Darwyn Cooke, it features the greatest heroes of the DC Comics universe banding together in the 1950s to fight a villain who is feeding on the hatred and paranoia of the times to rid the Earth of the human scourge. The movie is more streamlined and has a solid story that fits well into the new Warner Bros. effort to bring slightly more adult cartoons directly to DVD. The animation is mostly clean and dynamic, and as a whole, it’s an impressive two-disc release filled with lots of extras.

REVIEW: BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD – SEASON 1-3

Image result for batman the brave and the bold logo

MAIN CAST

Diedrich Bader (Vampires Suck)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)
Jason Marsden (Full House)
James Arnold Taylor (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Marc Worden (Ultimate Avengers)
Grey DeLisle (The Replacements)
John Dimaggio (Futurama)
Tom Kenny (Super hero Squad)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Corey Burton (Critters)
R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket)
Scott Menville (Teen Titans)
Vyvan Pham (Generator Rex)
Bumper Robinson (Sabrina: TTW)
Mikey Kelley (TMNT)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)
Will Wheaton (Powers)
Xander Berkeley (Kick-Ass)
Loren Lester (Batman: TAS)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Jeff Bennett (James Bond Jr.)
Oded Fehr (The Mummy)
Ellen Greene (Pushing Daisies)
Armin Shimmerman (Star Trek: DS9)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Tom Everett Scott (Scream: The Series)
Billy West (Futurama)
Jeffrey Tambor (The Hangover)
Paul Reubens (Gotham)
Diane Delano (Jeepers Creepers II)
Peter Woodward (Crusade)
Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
James Remar (Flashforward)
Jeffrey Combs (Gothman)
Ioan Grufford (Ringer)
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
William Katt (Carrie)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Hynden Walch (The Batman)
Kevin Conroy (Batman: TAS)
Mark Hamill (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Adam West (BAtman 60s)
Julie Newmar (Batman 60s)
Dana Delany (Body of Proof)
Tony Todd (Chuck)
Peter Scolari (Gotham)
Cree Summer (Batman Beyond)
Steve Blum (Wolverine and Thje X-Men)
John Wesley Shipp (The Flash)
Alan Tudyk (Firefly)
Olivia D’Abo (Conan The Destroyer)
Mae Whitman (Independence Day)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Vanessa Marshall (Star Wars: Revels)
John Michael Higgins (Still Waiting)
Michael Jai White (Arrow)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Tippi Hedren (The Birds)
Gary Owens (That 70s Show)
Ted McGinley (No Good Nick)
Henry Winkler (Happy Days)

There’s a gloriously meta moment in the back half of this season of Batman: The Brave and the Bold where the show’s producers are raked over the coals at Comic-Con. One of the twentysomethings in the crowd grouses and groans about how the Caped Crusader in the cartoon isn’t his Batman, and…well, he’s not wrong. DC’s comics anymore are joylessly grim and gritty…22 monthly pages of misery and scowling and torture and dismemberment and death and high collars and way too much crosshatching. Batman: The Brave and the Bold, meanwhile, is defined by its vivid colors and clean, thick linework. It’s a series whose boundless imagination and thirst for high adventure make you feel like a six year old again, all wide-eyed and grinning ear to ear.


You know all about The Dark Knight’s war on crime, and in The Brave and the Bold , he’ll duke it out against any badnik, anywhere. He doesn’t go it alone, either, with every episode pairing Batman up with at least one other DC superhero. Heck, to keep it interesting, The Brave and the Bold shies away from the obvious choices like Superman and Wonder Woman. Instead, you get more interesting team-ups like Blue Beetle (more than one, even!), Elongated Man, Wildcat, Mister Miracle, Kamandi, and B’wana Beast.
Other animated incarnations of Batman have been rooted in something close enough to reality. Sure, you might have androids and the occasional Man-Bat, but they tried to veer away from anything too fantastic. The Brave and tbe Bold has free reign to do just about whatever it wants. One week, maybe you’ll get an adventure in the far-flung reaches of space with a bunch of blobby alien amoebas who mistake Batman for Blue Beetle’s sidekick. The next might offer up Tolkien-esque high fantasy with dragons and dark sorcery. Later on, Aquaman and The Atom could play Fantastic Voyage inside Batman’s bloodstream, all while the Caped Crusader is swimming around in a thirty-story walking pile of toxic waste. He could be in a Western or a post-apocalyptic wasteland or a capes-and-cowls musical or even investigate a series of grisly something-or-anothers alongside Sherlock Holmes in Victorian England.

Batman has markedly different relationships with every one of those masked heroes. There’s the gadget geekery with an earlier incarnation of the Blue Beetle. With the younger, greener-but-still-blue Beetle, Batman takes on more of a mentor role.

More of a stern paternal figure for Plastic Man, and a rival for Green Arrow. Sometime it might not even be the most pleasant dynamic, such as a decidedly adult Robin who doesn’t feel like he can fully step outside the long shadow that Batman casts.

There are some really unique takes on iconic (and not so iconic!) DC superheroes here, and far and away the standout is Aquaman. This barrel-chested, adventure-loving braggart is my favorite incarnation of the king of the seven seas, and if Aquaman ever scores a cartoon of his own, I hope he looks and acts a lot like this. Oh, and The Brave and the Bold does a spectacular job mining DC’s longboxes for villains too, and along with some of the familiar favorites, you get a chance to boo and hiss at the likes of Kanjar Ro, The Sportsmaster, Kite Man, Gentleman Ghost, Chemo, Calendar ManKing, Crazy Quilt, and Shrapnel. The Brave and the Bold delivers its own versions of Toyman, Vandal Savage, and Libra while it’s at it, the latter of whom has the closest thing to a season arc that the series inches towards.

Batman: The Brave and the Bold is every bit as fun and thrilling as you’d expect from a series where every episode’s title ends with an exclamation point. Each installment is fat-packed with action, and the series has a knack for piling it on in ways I never saw coming. Even with as imaginative and off-the-walls as The Brave and the Bold can get, it still sticks to its own internal logic, so the numerous twists, turns, and surprises are all very much earned.

The majority of the episodes have a cold open not related to the remainder of the episode. Despite its episodic nature, if you’re expecting a big storyline in these 26 episodes, you’re going to be pretty disappointed as the extent of an overarching story in the season is the occasional villain that appears more than once, like Starro, but that’s really the only connecting bridge between episodes.

Season 2 contains one of my favorite episodes of not only this particular season, but probably in the entire series, “Chill of the Night!”, which goes back to Batman’s origins as Bruce Wayne learns more about the man who murdered his parents, turning him into the crime-fighter he would become, it’s one of the most well known origin stories in media, ever, but it’s done so well here. Another reason I love this episode is my blinding nostalgia for the voice cast.

The original 1960’s Batman, Adam West, guest stars as Batman’s father, Thomas Wayne, while Julie Newmar, who starred opposite of West as Catwoman from the original Batman TV show, plays Batman’s mother, Martha Wayne. My favorite Batman of all time, theatrical or not, Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman from Batman: The Animated Series and various other series/movies/games, voices the Phantom Stranger. Lastly, the baddie of the episode, The Spectre, is voiced by none other than Mark Hamill, the definitive voice of the Joker.

The Episodes in season 3 are wildly imaginative; so much so that purists will probably be put off, at least initially. They range from “Night of the Batmen”, where batman is incapacitated and it is up to Aquaman, Green Arrow, Captain Marvel, and Plastic Man to don the cowl, and keep gotham safe. As weird as that may sound, this episode is pure fun, and a joy to watch. Other stand outs are the never before seen in the states “The Mask of Matches Malone”, “Shadow of the Bat”, “Scorn of the Star Sapphire”, and “Powerless”.

Special mention has to be made of the final episode of the series however, “Mitefall”. In this meta episode, Batmite does a fantastic job breaking down why the series is ending, and the disconnect of the so-called “purists”, whose baseless, closed minded, ignorance eventually doomed this excellent series.

When all is said and done, we received three outstanding, and criminally underrated, seasons and it is a joy to see.