Friday, July 29, 2011

DVD Review: Crime School (1938)

Crime School (1938)

(Released: 2010 by The Warner Archive Collection)

Another looong DVD Review by Joe Torcivia

Summary: Bogie does Cagney! (Oh, cut it out… I don’t mean THAT!) Though they both HAVE been known to frequent prisons! Hmmm

As it is a relatively new enterprise, “The Warner Archive Collection” might bear some initial explanation, before moving on to the film itself.

“The Warner Archive Collection” offers online exclusive DVD packages that are “manufactured-on-demand” (or MOD). They are not mass-produced, standard pressed DVDs, but are recorded on DVD-R.

I don’t consider DVD-R to be the most desirable medium. Though the end product is certainly superior to “bootleg” material, it is a step or two below the mass-marketed product we know and love.

At least in this regard, Warner plays fair with us by issuing the following disclaimer:

This disc is expected to play back in DVD video ‘play only’ devices, and may not play back in other DVD devices including recorders and PC drives”.

True enough. Warner Archive discs are not recognized by my computer, though they play just fine on my Blu-ray player.

“The Warner Archive Collection” product takes a no-frills approach. Extra Features, if they exist at all, are kept to a bare minimum. Films and programs are not segmented by “Chapters”, but the Skip Forward and Skip Backward keys of your DVD remote allow you to navigate at ten-minute intervals – regardless of where that ten minute jump will land you logically within the story. No subtitles are included and source material is generally fine and sharp, though not always as pristine as a standard release.

Retail prices are often higher than they might otherwise be, but that comes with the nature of “Manufacture on Demand”. Sales and other promotions are offered regularly, once you’ve made the initial foray into TWAC, mitigating the impact of pricing somewhat.

On the plus side “The Warner Archive Collection” is able to offer many movies, TV shows, and animated series that would not likely find support in the present-day mass market. “The Warner Archive Collection” has provided such wonders as Hanna-Barbera’s ‘60s series FRANKENSTEIN JR. AND THE IMPOSSIBLES and Irwin Allen’s early ‘70s aborted TV pilot CITY BENEATH THE SEA... just to name two.

Oh, yes… about Bogie vs. Cagney…

Go read THIS REVIEW of James Cagney’s “The Mayor of Hell”, add Humphrey Bogart, substitute the predominantly Irish “Dead End Kids” for the more ethnically diverse juvenile delinquents of the Cagney picture, mix in a bit of Hays Office / Hollywood Production Code censorship, and you’ve got “Crime School”!

Bogart’s “Mark Braden” assumes control of the cruel and corruptly run reform school, to which the Dead End Kids, are sentenced. He brings reform to the school and respect to the boys, and is undermined by the bad former headmaster. In concession to the times, the ending is far less violent and more comedic.

There’s also a romantic subplot between Bogart and Gail Page, as the older sister of one of the boys (Billy Halop), where Halop’s “Frankie Warren” gets the wrong idea about Bogie and Sis and sets out to shoot Bogart.

Ironically, this exact same subplot, finds Bogie on the other end – in a murderous rage over rumors about Pat O’Brien and Bogie’s sister (Ann Sheridan) – in 1937’s “San Quentin” (Released the previous year!). So “Crime School” might be thought of as having been stitched-together from TWO different Warner pictures.

Overall though, it’s a very interesting contrast with “The Mayor of Hell”. You can decide which version is better. I like ‘em both for different reasons. Now, I’d like to see the second remake, “Hell’s Kitchen” (1939), with Ronald Reagan for additional perspective.

As is our custom in these reviews, we’ll break it into CONS and PROS.


It’s Warner Archives: That means virtually nothing in the way of Extra Features. No commentary. No background or “Making Of” featurette. No “Warner Night at the Movies” that I’ve loved so much in other packages! And, there is a needlessly limited choice of devices on which to play it, vs. standard DVD.

Robo-Promos:Robo-Promos” is my term for advertisements that play automatically before you even reach the initial menu. Each Warner Archive set, of those I’ve seen thus far, leads of with the same “Robo-Promo”:

Introducing The Warner Archive Collection!”

It’s time to get the movies you’ve wanted, but could never find, and add them to your film collection!”

Explore the Archive today and discover hundreds of great stories, incredible performances, and rare treasures in Authorized Editions – on DVD!”

Yeah! Take THAT, ya dirty stinkin’ bootleggers! …Mnyah!

(Alleged) Theatrical Trailer for “Crime School”: (03:01) Buyers beware! This is NOT the actual Theatrical Trailer for “Crime School”! Instead, it is FIRST THREE MINUTES of the film itself!

It is not even FRAMED as any sort of trailer! It’s not narrated, nor is there any accompanying text. It’s just “there”, as you would see it at the start of the film!

I must ask WHY? Considering that the actual Theatrical Trailer for “Crime School” already exists on “The Mayor of Hell” DVD set, why didn’t Warner just port it over from there?!


It’s Warner Archives: That means we get a film that would probably not garner sufficient support for a general release. Given a choice between “Crime School” as a Warner Archive Collection release, or no release at all, I’ll gladly take a TWAC version.

I fear, as the DVD market contracts (what with downloading and most of the “best material” having already been released), more and more of the remaining as-of-yet-unreleased material will come via avenues such as this one. But, up to now, we’ve sure gotten a LOT of great stuff. More than I could have ever imagined some years ago. So, if the “last of it” arrives in this form… so be it.

The Film: When viewed alongside “The Mayor of Hell” and “San Quentin”, this Lewis Seiler-directed picture is probably enough to earn you some credits at film school! It is a textbook example of Warner Bros. filmmaking in the era of Hollywood censorship – with more than a bit of studio-assembly line craftsmanship (…and I don’t intend that to be an insult) thrown in!

It’s 1:25:03 of Humphrey Bogart and Dead End Kids goodness that falls somewhere in between “Casablanca” and “Beat the Devil” – my personal choices for Bogart’s best and worst pictures respectively. …All right, more on the “Up-Side”, ‘cause not much compares with “Beat the Devil” for Bogie-badness.
The Cast:

• Humphrey Bogart as “Mark Braden”.

• Gail Page as “Sue Warren”.

• Billy Halop as “Frankie Warren”.

• Bobby Jordan as “Squirt”. (Also a juvie in Edward G. Robinson’s A Slight Case of Murder”.

• Leo Gorcey as “Spike”.

• Huntz Hall as “Goofy”. (…Do the Disney lawyers know this?)

• Gabriel Dell as “Bugs”. (Yet another one named after a famous [future] cartoon star!)

• Bernard Punsley as “Fats”.


Crime School”, being a product of “The Warner Archive Collection”, and not a standard Warner Home Video release, must be reviewed and rated by a new and different set of standards.

There are no extras (…or no extras to speak of), and print quality is as good as the source material – with only minimal efforts at remastering. In the case of “Crime School”, the print is generally sharp, with occasional skips and scratches – but good overall. A standard release would have been better… though I can’t say anything I’ve seen from TWAC has been of an unacceptable quality. It just varies.

As a film, “Crime School”, is pretty good for what it is, despite its apparently derivative nature. Sit back and enjoy… but try to watch “The Mayor of Hell” first, if only for perspective! How I’d love for there to have been a commentary track to discuss these aspects.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

"Bat-Mite Presents: Batman’s Strangest Cases!"

In the Comments Section of this post, “Joecab” urged me to see the episode of BATMAN THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD called “Bat-Mite Presents: Batman’s Strangest Cases!”

Well, I’m here to thank Joe, and to urge you all to do the same! And, if MY endorsement isn’t enough, consider that it (like the previous Bat-Mite episode) was written by the great Paul Dini!

From his Trophy Room, Bat-Mite hosts the episode (in which he fast-forwards through the opening theme sequence with some sort of cosmic remote control) and introduces three weird stories of his idol, Batman, plucked from various alternate universes! …Or, would that be “uni-vi”?

The first one, “Batboy and Rubin” (with a short and squat Batman and a Jerry Lewis-like Robin) didn’t do much for me, beyond the nicely retro-rendered comic book backgrounds – colored by lots of “colored-dots” to simulate old comic-book coloring!

The second, I expected not to like, given it was a “Sixties-Anime Style Batman and Robin” – but I DID… quite a bit for someone with no taste (or patience) for anime!

Think “Speed Racer Robin”, and that’ll help you get a handle on it. The voices sounded like “Sixties-Anime” dubbing, but (oddly) NOT so overplayed as they might have been.

But, what REALLY put it over the top for me was the VILLAIN… “Lord Death-Man”!

Most folks, even those well-steeped in Batman Lore, might not know this, but “Death-Man” (…apparently he wasn’t quite a “Lord” back then) was the villain of 1966’s BATMAN # 180 (May, 1966).

This is a comic that I enjoyed very much in its day – and it was a true jaw-dropper to see (Lord) Death-Man …um, "resurrected" for this segment! Dini, of course, must have read the same comic I did – and referenced it as a special treat for those who’d “get it”!

The third "Strange Case" is such a delightful surprise (for those who have not seen the episode – like ME, before today) that I will not spoil it!

Let’s just say it was SOMETHING WONDERFUL, that was plucked from a particular point on Batman’s time line – and was an expertly handled tribute to that unique aspect of Batman's rather varied life-and-legend!

…Though, I suspect there will be fans that will cringe and yowl! And, for the record, it has nothing to do with Adam West – OR the sixties!

Please add No Spoilers in the comments, folks! But, to “Joecab” and everyone, I loved it!

Alas, “Bat-Mite Presents: Batman’s Strangest Cases!” will not be on the upcoming BATMAN THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD Season Two Part One DVD release, coming in August, 2011.

So, see this one any way you can, folks! Either on Cartoon Network -- or through some “other method” that Batman probably wouldn’t approve of!

Bats All, Folks!

‘Nuff Said!

First, there was this!

Then, there was this!


It's a comic book, folks... not a game!  (Sigh!)

As a very wise man used to put it: “‘Nuff Said!”

Sunday, July 17, 2011

DVD Review: Batman the Brave and the Bold: Season One Part Two. The General Review.

Batman the Brave and the Bold: Season One Part Two

(Released March 15, 2011 by Warner Home Video)

Another Looong DVD Review -- in Three Parts -- by Joe Torcivia.  Part One: The General Review.  

Despite once being the best DVD producer in the business, witness my animation and movie DVD Reviews of earlier Warner product throughout this Blog – more and more WHV simply pisses me off!

Their handling of Batman the Brave and the Bold on DVD is just another reason why!

For the longest time, the only way to obtain this wonderful series on DVD was to purchase THREE SEPARATE volumes of four, four, and five (!) episodes apiece – each with a retail price of 14.98. No season sets – or half-season volumes… just these piddly little packages at an over-inflated price (x 3)!

Then, after I dutifully bought all three of these, for a total of 13 episodes… Only then, did they release Batman the Brave and the Bold: Season One Part One -- encompassing the same 13 eps in ONE package, for a more justifiable MSRP.

Well, at least they “did the right thing” with the remaining 13 episodes of the First Season, resulting in the product reviewed in this post.

As there are many more episodes to cover, I’ll skip the usual background and the specifics of the series. You can catch up with that in my review of Volume One HERE.

Briefly, the animated TV series is based upon the notable comic book series from DC Comics called The Brave and the Bold. It was best known for its team-up stories that paired Batman with virtually ALL the heroes and villains of the DC Comics Universe.

The voice cast of Diedrich Bader as Batman, Dee Bradley Baker, Will Friedle (Batman Beyond) , Tom Kenny (SpongeBob Squarepants), James Arnold Taylor, Corey Burton (…You name it!) , Jeff Bennett (Johnny Bravo) , John DiMaggio (Futurama) and others are first rate, and superbly walk the delicate balance of adventure and surprisingly good humor that the series has become known for.

A particularly endearing quirk of the series is that the TEASER of most episodes tells a short and completely different story than the main body of the program. This way, you get even more DC Heroes and Villains per show.

As is our custom in these reviews, we’ll break it into CONS and PROS.


The Extra Features: Once again, as with the previous volumes, there are NO extra features! A pity for a series with such a rich comic-book heritage! Also, there are some pretty special episodes in this collection that just cry out for a commentary track!

Robo-Promos: “Robo-Promos” is my term for advertisements that play automatically before you even reach the initial menu. The four-episode collection “Volume Two” inflicted FOUR of these upon the viewer before “getting on with the show”! Here, however, there is only ONE Robo-Promo – and that is for the DVD production of the great comic book series “ALL STAR SUPERMAN” by Grant Morrison. It is presumed that, if you enjoy BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD, you will also enjoy ALL STAR SUPERMAN – so, even though it’s only ONE Robo-Promo, and for a good and related product, it’s still a “CON”. …Just not as much of a “CON” as in volumes past.

Too Many Warnings: Like Disney, Warner has lawyered itself to excess. A more recent result of this is that, when the program content ends, there are ELEVEN (I’ll repeat it for effect: ELEVEN!) warnings against copyright violations and the like – and in more languages than anyone purchasing this DVD would be likely to comprehend!!! I can certainly understand ENGLISH, SPANISH, and even FRENCH, but this expansive journey into multi-lingual legalese includes various Asian and Arabic languages! WHY? This excessive exhibition kicks in the moment the final show on a disc ends. If I promise to never exhibit this DVD on an OIL RIG (…Honestly, they really do warn against this!), could we be spared this experience in future sets? Huh? Please?


Bugs Bunny: The animation of Bugs Bunny that leads off each episode of Batman the Brave and the Bold just may be the best looking version of the wabbit since the late forties / early fifties! Sure would like to see a new cartoon with THAT design!

Characters and Settings: If there’s one thing you can count on from Batman the Brave and the Bold, it is new animated interpretations of “Characters-And-Settings-of DC Comics Lore”. Needless to say, we are not disappointed…

Featured Characters (In Order of Appearance): Batman, Gorilla Grodd, The Question, Equinox, Aquaman, Adam Strange, Alanna, Zardath, The Gordanians, Golden Age Flash Jay Garrick, The Scarecrow, Jason Blood/Etrigan the Demon, Jim Craddock/ Gentleman Ghost, Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Watson, Solomon Grundy, Black Canary, Huntress, Blue Beetle III (Jaime Reyes), Babyface (Edward G. Robinson parody), Tweedledee and Tweedledum, Wildcat, Bane, Booster Gold and Skeets, Punch and Jewelee, Kru’ll the Immortal, Robin, Crazy Quilt, Ace the Bat-Hound, Catman, Bat-Mite, Green Arrow (Silver Age, no beard), The Joker, Red Tornado, Major Disaster, The Outsiders, Despero, Jonah Hex, Mongul II, Mongal, Lashinia, Stompa, Steppenwolf, Mister Miracle, Big Barda, Oberon, Kamandi, Professor Carter Nichols, Man-Bat (future version), Hawk and Dove, OMAC, Shrapnel, Two-Face, Dr. Fate, Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Fire, Black Lightning, Plastic Man, The Music Meister, Black Manta, Clock King, Catwoman, and Psycho Pirate.

Villain Cameos: Dr. Polaris, Archer, Riddler, Felix Faust, Cluemaster, Fun-Haus, Bookworm, Mad-Hatter, The Cavalier, King Tut, Falseface, (…and, it would seem, Medulla and Oblongata from Freakazoid!), Weather Wizard, Calculator (voiced by Ethan Phillips “Nelix” from Star Trek Voyager), Sportsmaster, Zebraman, Shame, Abra-Kadabra, Penguin, Mr. Freeze, Egghead, Kite-Man, Killer Moth, The Brain, Copperhead… Blink and you’ll miss a lot of ‘em!

It’s Not TV: Viewers can enjoy Batman the Brave and the Bold with no “Network Identifying Bugs” in the corner of the screen, no pop up ads for other shows, and credits that you can “freeze-frame” and read. Viewers can hear the “extended version” of the show’s ending theme, which has probably NEVER played on TV because promos are always running over it! Indeed, one of the best reasons for collecting ANY contemporary TV show on DVD is that is has probably never been seen in this particular way ever before!

Image Quality: Batman the Brave and the Bold: Season One Part Two is not offered as a Blu-ray release. However, the standard definition release is presented in wide-screen and, when upconverted by a Blu-ray player, the image is so rich and vividly colorful that it looks just as good as a Hi-Def broadcast of the show!

Go on to the next post for the ultimate “PRO” for Batman the Brave and the Bold: Season One Part Two... The Episodes: 

Batman the Brave and the Bold: Season One Part Two -- The Episodes!

We continue our review of Batman the Brave and the Bold: Season One Part Two with The Episodes: (Rated by Number of Stars) “*”

Mystery in Space!”: ***

Teaser: Gorilla Grodd and The Question are BOTH hostages of Equinox (First appearance).

 Main Story: The normally larger-than-life, heroically spirited Aquaman is depressed over losing a pack of Beluga whales to a whaling fleet. He accompanies Batman to the planet Rann, to assist Adam Strange in repelling an invasion of Gordanians. (An aside: Has ANY planet in the history of science fiction – including EARTH – been invaded or imperiled more than RANN?!) After a while, Aquaman snaps out of his funk… IN SPADES, coincidently just when a hero is needed most!

John DiMaggio’s heroically enthusiastic characterization of Aquaman is one of the highlights of the series and, despite the uncharacteristic start, he doesn’t let us down! Though I might have opted for calling this one “Aquaman’s Bi-Polar Adventure”!

“Trials of the Demon!”: ****

Teaser: Golden Age Flash Jay Garrick and Batman vs. Scarecrow. Jay “flashes-off” before Batman can finish a sentence, giving Bats a taste of how it feels.

Main Story: The Victorian-era origin of Jim Craddock the Gentleman Ghost – by way of Jason Blood / Etrigan the Demon… and with Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson thrown in with Bats for double the detective fun! Check this great exchange, as Holmes and Batman size each other up:

Holmes: “He is a HERO. It is obvious by the bright blue and yellow in his costume. (Joe’s note: Fortunately for Holmes this is the Silver Age Batman – colors and all!) The mask means he must be well-known, perhaps a wealthy entrepreneur with ample free time. Square jaw indicates strong lineage – perhaps a doctor’s son. And the Bat-motif must surely be inspired by some childhood trauma… 'The Masked Bat', perhaps…”

Batman: “Actually, it’s Batman!”

Holmes: “How did you deduce MY identity so quickly?”

Batman: “The HAT!”

Gotta love it!

“Night of the Huntress!”: ****

Teaser: Batman and Black Canary vs. Solomon Grundy. Batman: “No one escapes justice, not even the undead!”

Main Story: Edward G. Robinson parody/tribute character “Babyface” and his gang stage a massive prison break to distract Batman, Huntress, and a (lovesick over Huntress) Blue Beetle, while the villains raid “Warehouse X” – the storage facility for all confiscated super-villain equipment and paraphernalia.

Lots of villains, including several from the ‘60s TV show, make cameos in the prison break. The trio find themselves bound in Clock King’s old TV “Hourglass Death Trap” – hidden away all these years in Warehouse X! Warehouse X is a GREAT CONCEPT! After all, those weapons of mass mayhem gotta be stored SOMEPLACE!

“Menace of the Conquering Caveman!”: ****

Teaser: Batman and Wildcat (characterized somewhat like football coach Mike Ditka) vs. Bane. Wildcat comes up with a rather innovative way to stop Bane.

Main Story: Booster Gold tries to form an association with Batman, and cash in with merchandising deals as a result. Oh, but here comes the evil caveman Kru’ll the Immortal to spoil Booster’s fun. A great guest voice cast with Tom Everett Scott as Booster, Billy West as Booster’s robot-pal Skeets, and Star Trek’s Michael Dorn as Kru’ll the Immortal! Kru’ll, BTW, has the same origin as Silver Age Vandal Savage!

GREAT LINE (on how Booster finds Batman and the Batcave): “In the 25th Century, the Batcave is a tourist attraction… with a roller coaster!”

“The Color of Revenge!”: ****

Teaser: A flashback to when Robin was indeed the BOY Wonder. A more innocent time of a Dynamic Duo responding to a Red Bat-phone, sliding down the Bat-poles, and taking off in a 1940s inspired Batmobile – but with the sounds of the ‘60s version! They vanquish Crazy Quilt and his Color Guard. Unknown to Robin, he does more damage to the eccentric criminal artist Crazy Quilt than he could know…

Main Story: Now, Dick Grayson is older, but he is still Robin. Somewhat resentful of the patronizingly paternal, know-it-all Batman, he’s established his own crime fighting career in the neighboring city of Bludhaven. Crazy Quilt, blinded from all those years ago, seeks his revenge on Robin – bringing Batman to Bludhaven for lots of father/son-type tensions.

Batman (on using the Bat-cycle): "I thought you LIKED the sidecar!"

Robin: "Yeah – When I was EIGHT!"

In keeping with the comics, Bludhaven has a S.T.A.R. Labs facility (Doesn’t Every DC city have one?) and a street corner of “Haney and Aparo” – the primary writer and artist on THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD comic book! This story also has its comics parallel in BATMAN # 368 and DETECTIVE COMICS # 535 – both from late 1983.

“Legends of the Dark Mite!”: (**** Times TEN… TWENTY, even!)

Teaser: Batman and Ace the Bat-Hound vs. Catman.

Main Story: Batman hears the most dread phrase ever spoken: “I’m your Number One Fan!” He spends the next 2/3 of the episode bedeviled by Bat-Mite, a bat-fanboy from the all powerful Fifth Dimension – superbly voiced by Paul Reubins!

Bat-Mite takes Batman on a tour de force of sights and images from ALL AGES of DC Comic Book Lore, in order to see him test his mettle. Costume versions come wild and varied, villains come both vile and lame, and we get a serious nod to the Jack Schiff “Monster-Era” of Bat-comics.

Why, there’s even a side trip to a Fifth-Dimensional Comic Con Panel, where otherworldly fanboys (including producer Bruce Timm and writer Paul Dini) argue over what is and is not appropriate for Batman! Finally, Bats turns the tables and suggests that Bat-Mite “become” Batman. With villains galore, it ends up being more than he bargained for – up to and including an unexpected left-turn into a Bat-version of the Bob Clampett Looney Tune “The Great Piggy Bank Robbery”.

This masterpiece was written by the great Paul Dini, who gave us many of the best moments of the previous Batman and Superman Animated series. It may also be the SINGLE BEST EPISODE OF THE SERIES – and with THIS series, that’s really saying something! If you only see ONE of these, folks… see THIS one!

“Hail the Tornado Tyrant!”: *** (Written by DC Comic Book writer J. M. DeMatteis)

Teaser: Batman in his Batmobile and Green Arrow in his Arrow-Car compete to take down The Joker in his Jokermobile. Once done, the rivalry shifts to airborne pursuit of Catwoman in her Cat-Plane.

Main Story: The android Red Tornado creates a “son”. The offspring questions human morality, and embraces the dark side – recreating himself as the huge fearsome “Tornado Tyrant”. An unexpected treat for those paying attention is that when the boy-bot transforms himself there is a “music tribute” to the well-known Bernard Herrmann score for “The Day the Earth Stood Still” (theme for the robot “Gort”), which TV fans may recognize from LOST IN SPACE “War of the Robots” (when the evil robot is activated)!

“Duel of the Doublecrossers!”: ****

Teaser: Batman and The Outsiders vs. Despero.

Main Story: Once upon a time, the galactic conqueror Mongul created War World – first a vast engine of destruction, later a world upon which captives were forced into gladiatorial combat for sport. His offspring, Mongul II and sister Mongal, carry on the family business. Incredibly, we find the time-lost western bounty hunter Jonah Hex supplying captive aliens as fodder for Mongul’s ring – with Jack Kirby creations Lashina and Stompa doing the same for Mongal.
In order to best Mongal’s fighting teams, Mongul orders Hex to retrieve Batman for the games. Hex was transported to Mongul’s (and our) time via a “TIME TUNNEL”! (…Somebody inform the estate of Irwin Allen!)

If, while watching this, you get a feeling of déjà-vu, consider that it’s the same basic setup as “The Main Man” (1996) – the magnificent two-part episode of Superman the Animated Series that had bounty hunter Lobo capture Superman for the zoo of The Preserver! There’s even a “hologram” of Batman that Hex carries to identify his quarry, just as Lobo had one for Superman! Both episodes are great examples of the genre!

“The Last Bat on Earth!”: **** (Overflowing with Kirby goodness!)

Teaser: Batman and Mister Miracle in a tandem escape from an elaborate death trap… for charity.

Main Story: In the post-apocalyptic future of Kamandi the Last Boy on Earth, factions of evolved TIGERS and APES vie for control of what is left. Gorilla Grodd escapes the 21st Century and takes command of the Apes. Batman pursues, and the battles begin. Time travel is courtesy of Professor Carter Nichols, who was responsible for Batman’s many journeys through time in the Silver Age of Comics. Great Moment: Grodd discovers that Batman is now in this future time… by employing his sense of SMELL!
Nearly every episode of Batman the Brave and the Bold has at least one “WOW Moment” in it. This one occurs when Batman finds the near-ruined remains of the Batcave (…presumably after its life as a roller-coastered tourist attraction) inhabited by evolved future Man-Bats!

“When OMAC Attacks!”: *

Teaser: Hawk and Dove assist Batman in bringing peace to two warring factions of aliens. The aliens make peace and, predictably, Hawk and Dove do not.

Main Story: Working with the GPA (“Global Peace Authority”) Batman is teamed up with OMAC (the One Man Army Corps) vs. Schrapnel. Oh, and Equinox steps into the conflict – setting up his appearance in the next episode. Truly, a “ho-hum” in both stories.

“The Fate of Equinox!”: (…Can’t decide the number of *s! See my comments!)

Teaser: Batman vs. Two Face and his two (of course) goons. This may be the most PERFECT version of Two-Face seen in any media outside of comic books! The visual is “Dick Sprang-Inspired”, and “Harvey Dent/Two Face” is unquestionably in character. There’s even a very brief music cue from THE OUTER LIMITS in this teaser! (At about the 35-36 second mark.) The real shame is that what is a mere teaser for a below average episode – COULD HAVE BEEN THE CLIMAX of a Two-Face centric episode! For true fans, this might actually be the best teaser of the series!

Main Story:The entire universe is careening violently between Order and Chaos!” So decrees Dr. Fate as he and Batman join forces to defeat Equinox. (Ho-Hum!)

Equinox arranges for Batman to kill him in combat, so that he may be reborn as a huge monolithic god-being. Dr. Fate arranges for the powers of many guest-heroes to be granted to Batman – so that HE might become an equally powerful LARGE hero! It’s kinda like the Tex Avery cartoon King Size Canary, but with the universe at stake!

I never bought into Equinox as a villain, or the whole Dr. Fate magic thing, so this one’s not for me – even WITH the Tex Avery parallels!

However, it does offer a nice explanation as to why neither good nor evil permanently achieves the upper hand – and a beautiful rendition of Dr. Fate’s otherworldly realm. In the end, though, I can only hope it REALLY IS the FINAL “Fate of Equinox”!

If I could, I’d give the TEASER Four Stars, and the Main Story just One. What the heck: It’s MY review – and I’ll do just that! ...Nyaah!

“Mayhem of the Music Meister!”: **** (… And many more! Perhaps just a few shy of “Legends of the Dark Mite”!)

Teaser: In a break with tradition, there is no true teaser. We just get our first look at The Music Meister, who steps up to a podium and begins to conduct… as we segue into the THEME for Batman the Brave and the Bold! (Which he is presumably conducting!)
Main Story: This is something you must truly see to believe! Neil Patrick Harris voices The Music Meister – who mesmerizes both heroes and villains alike to do his bidding. Under his spell, no one SPEAKS… instead they SING! A marvelously surreal episode, and is only surpassed by “Legends of the Dark Mite” as the series’ best episode!

“Inside the Outsiders!”: ****

Teaser: Bats and Green Arrow in a Catwoman death trap.

Main Story:Just remember, Batman, when you die in the dream world, you never wake up!”

Psycho Pirate has captured the Outsiders (Katana, Black Lightning, and Metamorpho), and is feeding of the emotions resulting from their nightmares – nightmares that he has artificially induced. Batman psychically enters the dreams of each one to diffuse the situation and free his friends.
In contrast with the traumatic dream experiences of Katana and Metamorpho, we get a wonderfully indignant Black Lightning turning his powers against the people and things that annoy US in everyday life! Dog walkers sans scoop, public cell phone chatters, etc. His greatest indigence manifests itself over the prospect of a movie called “Smell That Pig IV” (…coming to a theatre near you!) Can’t say I blame him!

Psycho Pirate is portrayed as a particularly evil being. More so than the usual villain on this series and he’s voiced by Armin Shimerman (Quark the Ferengi on STAR TREK DEEP SPACE NINE). I don’t usually care for the “young versions” of the Outsiders the show uses, but everything works in this one! Especially the “secret” Batman keeps from everyone – even the viewers – at episode’s end.

Continue on, for the Overall View...