One of the criticisms of BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD
is that Batman’s actually the guest-star of each episode. To a certain extent, that’s definitely true. Batman is teamed-up with another DC Comics superhero who is usually more prominently featured than The Caped Crusader. Consequently, each episode’s plot and location is not “Batman centered,” if you will. In other words, The Batcave, Gotham City, Batman’s rogues gallery, etc. are not featured.
A valid critique? Certainly. I can also see why many Batman fans can’t get on board with this show. BUT…
I think that after viewing the latest episode -- “Chill of the Night!” -- even the most cynical B:TB&TB might finally be converted.
In this installment, Batman is looking into the murders of his parents, which of course took place a few decades ago. Will Batman finally find the man responsible for pulling the trigger? And if he does confront the killer, what will he do with him? Will he err on the side of justice…or vengeance?
Wagering on the outcome of that last question is The Phantom Stranger and The Spectre. The former believes that The Batman will do the right thing, while the latter bets that The Dark Knight will finally avenge his parent’s murder by taking out the man responsible.
This is by far the darkest and best installment of B:TB&TB to date. In fact, it’s one of the best episodes of any animated Batman series -- yes, including the classic BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES.
Batman and Batman?
Speaking of B:TAS, I’m sure “Chill of the Night!” is going to be compared to that series and many will say that it has more in common with it, as opposed to B:TB&TB. Sure, there’s a bit of a B:TAS vibe here, I’ll admit that. Plus, the great Paul Dini is the writer of this episode, so take that for what you will.
Regardless, this is definitely a B:TB&TB episode and B:TB&TB Batman -- no matter how dark and serious “Chill of the Night!” is. Fans of this series will get it and appreciate the fact that the folks behind the show for staying true to it’s spirit. And as always, there's a nice homage to a Silver Age Batman story. In this case, they tip their cap to BATMAN #47 from 1948.
While I do think many naysayers are going to finally jump on board the B:TB&TB bandwagon, there’s still going to be those who will stay off no matter how much they enjoyed “Chill of the Night!” If that’s the case, so be it.
Again, what an excellent episode this was! What was also cool -- and certainly a nod to Batman history -- was the people they got to lend their voices to the characters…
Adam West as Thomas Wayne. Julie Newmar as Martha Wayne. Kevin Conroy as The Phantom Stranger. Mark Hamill as The Spectre.
Plus, a character who has been in every single episode, yet has never been seen, finally shows his face. And what a great moment it is when he’s finally revealed!
So, just how dark is “Chill of the Night?” Is it really one of the greatest episodes in Batman animated history as I’ve proclaimed? And does Batman get revenge, or is justice finally served? For the answer to those questions, you’re going to have to watch.
Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.