If you have kids, I’m sure that you’ve tried to get them to eat something new -- only to meet with very passionate resistance. They’ll tell you that they don’t like green beans, yet they’ve never even eaten a damn green bean in their life!
How in the hell do they know that they don’t like green beans if they’ve never eaten any?!
BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD was my green beans.
I very wrongfully dismissed it personally and publicly on BOF with a big ‘ol “Meh” as soon as I learned of the show’s lighter take on Batman. Of course, I hadn’t seen the show yet, but I knew better, you know? Why? Because I know Batman dammit!
And I was dead wrong.
I’ve done a full 180 and have become a HUGE fan of the show.
With that said, I don’t think it would be accurate or fair for me to say that I’ve got a real grasp on this series as of yet. In my opinion, the show works best when it tries to be Silver Age-ish goofy, fun, and absurd -- albeit tremendously clever. What doesn’t work is when it tries to focus on “emotional character arcs” -- you know what I’m sayin’?
So because of that, this is going to be my first somewhat negative review of B:TB&TB.
Here’s the plot in a nutshell…
Batman is about to set out on another one of his usual and goofy escapades that involve the once (and still -- other than this show) dreaded “Batman…IN SPACE!” angle. This time he has to help Adam Strange defend the planet of Rann from an evil alien conquerors.
Adam Strange, Batman, and Aquaman from "Mystery In Space!"
OK, cool. I can dig it. BUT…
Along comes Aquaman -- an Aquaman in dire need of Zoloft (or whatever). In order to cheer up his old friend, Batman decides to take Aquaman with him on his “Batman…IN SPACE!“ adventure.
The inclusion of Aquaman and his depressing demeanor is the biggest misstep with “Mystery In Space.” If Batman had just gone to Rann solo, I’d have no problem with this episode. And frankly, this Aquaman “emotional arc” that’s inserted into the story comes off as extremely forced. This episode basically uses Strange (Who could be a relative, as my maternal family’s name is “Strange” -- no wonder I like him and Dr. Hugo as well) and the crazy/goofy world of Rann (when it comes to “Batman”) as a vehicle to explore Aqua man’s -- ahem-- contrived “emotional journey.”
Now as of yet, I don’t’ know if Aquaman has showed up on B:TB&TB. Regardless, it certainly seems as if he and Batman know each other and this melancholy that’s overtaken him is not the norm.
But that doesn’t matter as I found no purpose in Arthur (Is he Arthur in this show?) and his subplot to be included in this episode. Hell, it would’ve been a whole lot better of they had left dadgum Aquaman (OK, I'm not that big on the character to be honest) out of it and let Batman and my cousin have their 1950-ish/scifi adventure by themselves.
And for the record, I like green beans.