BATMAN: BRAVE & THE BOLD - "Siege of Starro" Review (Mania.com)

By:Joe Oesterle
Review Date: Sunday, September 19, 2010

Let’s all stand and give a rousing hero’s welcome to the greatest super crimefighters-in-capes cartoon series currently on the air. Huzzah! It’s been too long since these animated do-gooders have graced our collective television sets, and I for one am pleased as a punch to the kisser of a nefarious evildoer for its return. Not that I thought the last two episodes “The Siege of Starro” parts one and two were the best effort ever put out by this team, but I was starting to worry if we’d ever get to see this fun and clever incarnation of the masked manhunter ever again.

Granted, I’ve never been a huge fan of massive superpowered team-ups. Too much of a good thing can too often dilute the product. I am also well aware that for many of you reading this, nothing is better than a screen full of champions in spandex. You people were undoubtedly in hero heaven. I on the other hand found these two episodes to be a little less witty than the usual output, and more importantly, I didn’t feel the chemistry.

That’s not to say these episodes lacked all the customary charm of a B&B show, I loved Captain Marvel’s genuine enthusiasm when it came to B’Wanna Beasts’ animal mixing powers, and I was very happy to see the “diaper truck” joke pay off a full 15 minutes after it was laid out. And maybe best of all was the Faceless Hunter’s trophy room – complete with Brainiac, a Power Demon and Wonder Twin’s monkey mascot, Gleek.

The problem with an episode(s) like this is Batman is obviously the star of the show, but not only does he have to split his time with his team of uninfected heroes (Firestorm, Bw’anna and Captain Marvel) but they all have to share screen time with two villains (Starro and the Faceless Hunter) and a whole host of DC’s finest, including the entire Green lantern Corps.

It’s fair to wonder where the heck the Earth’s other greatest champions were. We’ve been treated to the backs of Superman, Wonder Woman and Martian Manhunter in a quick cameo a number of episodes back, so we know they exist in this universe. Let’s just assume they were in deep space out saving the galaxy from some other dire threat. (A job usually handled by the aforementioned G.L Corps, but as we know, they were otherwise detained as mindless star-faced drones of the powerful Starro.

Speaking of Starro, how about that different hero/same pose recreation of the iconic Brave and the Bold comic book cover that introduced the gigantic, alien, villainous echinoderm on its pulpy pages in 1960?

Starro battles five heroes at once in BATMAN: BRAVE & THE BOLD - Siege of Starro not unlike...

This cover to Brave and the Bold #28

 

I also suspect some of you believe the Starro/Faceless Hunter relationship was a tad too close to the Silver Surfer/Galactus connection, so I was glad to find out the writers turned Faceless into the real bad guy here, but it’s also worth noting Starro predates Galactus by a full 8 years. Of course if you really want to see Marvel ripping off DC, look at the similarities between the Doom Patrol and the XMen, and more The Challengers of the Unknown and The Fantastic Four. (I apologize, but sometimes I have to get on my bully pulpit and throw stones at Stan Lee.)

And speaking of the Challs, I have to admit, I was intrigued from the minute the facehuggers attached themselves to red, Rocky, Prof and Ace way back in this seasons first episode (which seems like about 3 years ago.) I enjoyed the fact the creators were going to take their time over the course of a season to set up this confrontation, and was really looking forward to the resolution. So anyway, Starro has taken control over an overwhelming majority of the good guys, and we’re left to watch Bats and company take on the much bigger team of super powered drones.

Part two seemed almost ant-climactic to me. With Starro defeated and laying limp over a football stadium, I couldn’t help but think of the much more evil Dallas Cowboys, but then again, I’m an Eagles fan.

I was hoping the second part of this tale would pay off more, but the Aquaman fight, while showing what a real stud the King of the Seas really is, didn’t do much to advance the plot, and the giant Starzilla creature was a little too ridiculous for me – even though I did enjoy watching the heroes age before our eyes as he sucked their powers away.

It was nice to see the Metal Men make an appearance, though I immediately wondered why the Red Tornado wasn’t invited to the party. I also enjoyed the wink to Kingdom Come’s Alloy. These writers are as big as fans of the DCU as we are.

This two-parter did give us a new look at the formerly comic-effect only B’wanna Beast, and it was good to see him struggle with his own inner perception of being a meta joke. This of course played nicely for the ultimate sacrifice he makes in the end, but I feel I must call foul on the hokey voice-from-beyond narration at the end. It seemed too much up what should have been a somber and touching occasion.

All that said, it wasn’t a terrible episode, just not up to usual awesomeness. This one was merely pretty good.

 


 

Hey, my latest book, “Weird Hollywood” hits book stores Oct 5. It’s full of urban legends, Hollywood ghosts, roadside attractions, celebrity interviews and I got to sit in the Adam West Batmobile. Follow the book on Twitter (WeirdHollywood) And if you live in the Los Angeles area, write me for book signing events.



Mania Grade: B-
Title: Batman: Brave and the Bold
Episode Titles: The Siege of Starro!: Parts 1 and 2
Cast: Diedrich Bader, Kevin M Richardson, Jeff Bennett, Tom Everett Scott, Tyler James Williams
Writer: Joseph Kuhr
Director: Michael Goguen
Network: Cartoon Network
Series: Batman: The Brave and the Bold