Monday, December 15, 2008

Invasion of the Secret Santas!

Season: 1
Episode Number: 4
Season Episode Number: 4
Production Number: 104
Airdate: December 12, 2008

Writer: Adam Beechen
Director: Brandon Vietti

Voices: Diedrich Bader (Batman), Corey Burton (Red Tornado, Thomas Wayne), Gary Anthony Williams (Fun Haus), Will Friedle (Blue Beetle), Thomas F. Wilson (Sportmaster), Zachary Gordon (Young Bruce Wayne).

Plot: Red Tornado attempts to discover the true meaning of Christmas while fighting alongside Batman to stop Fun Haus from ruining Christmas for everyone with his army of robot Santas and toys that come to life!

Review (Warning! Spoilers!): I am a sucker for Christmas episodes. I love them. And as far as Christmas episodes go, this one is quite good. The main reason this episode falls in the Christmas category is that Red Tornado tries to find out the true meaning of Christmas. A robot trying to be human isn't something new. Star Trek's Data tried to be more human in every other episode. But Brave and the Bold manages to introduce us to Red Tornado, explain his desires and bring conclusion to the story all in under 22 minutes! It is a touching Christmas tale and one I am glad was told.

The villain for the episode is Fun Haus. Who is Fun Haus you say? You may be more familiar with the name Toyman. Yes, this appears to be the classic Superman villain, but under a different name and guise. It also looks like his design is taken after Jack Nimbell, the second person to take up the Toyman mantle in the 70s. Although Jack Nimbell didn't last long in the comics, his version of the character will forever be known as a founding member of the Legion of Doom on Hanna-Barbera's Challenge of the Super Friends.

The name Fun Haus comes from FunHaus Games, a toy company that is actually a front for the criminal organization known as the Silicon Syndicate. FunHaus Games was run by the Joker at one time.

As with any Batman series or movie, it was inevitable that we would see the origin of Batman. While this episode only deals with the death of the Waynes, it is the first time in Brave and the Bold that we get a bit of background on the Caped Crusader.

I was a little surprised to see this story being told, especially in a Christmas episode. After all, this series is a much lighter take on the hero. Why bother bogging down a light-hearted Christmas tale with Bruce's baggage? But it was an important story to tell because as Red Tornado was looking to be closer to Christmas, Batman was trying to get as far away from it as he could.

The story of the death of Bruce's parents is altered a bit, taking place on Christmas and treating Bruce like a spoiled brat rather than a perfect family. Changes that will probably upset Batman enthusiasts, but that serve their purpose in the episode quite well.

While this is probably the most serious episode yet, it wasn't without its share of laughs. Some of my favourite moments include Red Tornado singing Christmas Carols and giving Batman a Christmas gift, Batman riding a deer, Blue Beetle accidentally telling off Batman while trying to stop the Sportmaster, and Blue Beetle inviting Batman over for Christmas dinner to which Batman replies, "Crime doesn't take a holiday. Neither do I."

DVD Releases:
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Volume One

  • Back to Episode Guide

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