They really love their comic books over at Batman, The Brave and The Bold. Reuniting Booster Gold and Ted Kord, the original Blue Beetle was a nice nod to the late 80’s early nineties Justice League books, but they don’t stop there. These guys brought back the little known Haunted Tank, and its ethereal passenger, Confederate general Jeb Stuart.
Why the ghost of Southern Civil War officer fights crime in a tank (or even knows how to drive a tank) is just as much a mystery as why this spirit was ever sent to earth (by the ghost of Alexander the Great) to begin with. Two things are certain, that tank is way faster than it looks, and I loved the homage to the Dukes of Hazard as ol’ Jeb blared “Dixieland” in mid air. Now I admit, if you just read these two paragraphs and didn’t watch the show, this review so far may not be selling it very well, but that’s the beauty of this show. They make that ridiculous stuff work.
Speaking of ridiculous, the Madniks themselves were a little strange. From their colorful appearance, at first glance I thought The Creeper was guest starring, and when I realized he wasn’t, I thought this show would be a perfect showcase for a character like Jack Ryder’s explosive alter ego.
While turning ridiculous into compelling has been an ongoing and impressive trick for the folks at B&B, they have also been quite adept at pulling on our heartstrings as of late. Lately we have said our final goodbyes to B’wana Beast and the entire Doom Patrol. This week Booster Gold is feeling a little melancholy and decides (against Batman’s better judgment) to just say goodbye to his old friend Beetle one last time. Of course Booster being Booster, mishaps occur, hilarity ensues and soon it’s Batman to the rescue.
There aren’t many live action shows that can get away with blending the amount of silliness and serious moments that this show manages to deftly deliver on a weekly basis, and Batman’s exasperated delivery of this line, “Look, I'm not going to explain the intricacies of time travel to a man without a library card,” is a perfect example of the high level of humor going on here too.
Eventually Bats, Booster and the Beetle manage, through all their bickering, to thwart the nasty energy hogging Madniks. This of course only sets the course straight once again for the untimely, yet heroic death of Ted Kord. The fact that I found myself hoping that the Caped Crusader and the Time Traveling Troublemaker would somehow find a way to avert Beetle’s death impressed me. I knew I’d be pissed if suddenly (like too often in the actual comics) Ted Kord did survive his ordeal against his Uncle Jarvis, because it would have invalidated the power of Ted’s original sacrifice. The writer in me knew they couldn’t allow Ted to live, but the fan in me was hoping he would.
Once again the creatives at B&B made the correct decision.
On a separate note, I’m not sure why this show keeps getting jerked around from week to week. Personally I wasn’t aware they even broadcasted this episode since my TiVo didn’t pick it up – luckily I set my girlfriend’s TiVo for the earlier broadcast. It looks like the next episode on schedule would be “Emperor Joker,” which I’m looking forward to. Paul Reubens reprises his role as Batmite, Robin makes another cameo, and of course, the Clown prince of Crime himself will be on hand.
I have to say I was really excited about watching “The Mask of Matches Malone” this week, but for whatever reason, that episode has been bumped. I’m not worried though. I have every faith in this team, so whatever is on next week’s docket, I’m certain it will be 30 minutes of pure cartoony happiness. Until next week, same Bat time, same Bat blog.
Joe Oesterle’s new book, “Weird Hollywood” just hit the bookstands. It’s filled with ghost stories, bizarre crimes, roadside attractions, ufo sightings, urban legends and celebrity interviews. To receive a personalized autographed copy, write to Joe at Joe@JoeArtistWriter.com and he’ll give you all the details. The reviews have been sensational.