Monday, January 19, 2009

Dawn of the Deadman!

Season: 1
Episode Number: 7
Season Episode Number: 7
Production Number: 107
Airdate: January 16, 2009

Writer: Steven Melching
Director: Ben Jones

Voices: Diedrich Bader (Batman), Greg Ellis (Gentleman Ghost, Dr. Canus), Michael Rosenbaum (Deadman, Triad Boss), Corey Burton (Thomas Wayne), (Martha Wayne), James Arnold Taylor (Green Arrow), Jason Marsden (Speedy), Mikey Kelley (Kamandi), Pat Musick (Meduim).

Plot: After being buried alive by Gentleman Ghost, Batman projects an astral form of himself to seek help. He finds Deadman, Green Arrow and Speedy and together they must find Batman's body before Gentleman Ghost raises an army of the undead!

Review (Warning! Spoilers!): Deadman has had very limited exposure to the world of animation. Before this episode, he had only appeared in one episode of Justice League Unlimited. In the 90s there was a big push by the censors about what was appropriate television programing for children. Deadman never made the cut due to the very fact that he is just that - a dead man.

Death was only talked about in the rarest of occasions. When Batman talked about his parents in Batman: the Animated Series and when Dan Turpin died in Superman: the Animated Series are examples of this.

The 93 Spider-Man series is a perfect example of the over-censorship that wrought television animation in the 90s. Spider-Man wasn't allowed to refer to his Uncle Ben as dead, villains never died but were sent to another dimension, and Spider-Man wasn't even allowed to hit any one with his fists!

This is where Brave and the Bold is a great show. People feared the worst when they heard about the lighter tone to the show and how it was marketed to a younger crowd, but what we see in this episode is far more risque than some of the shows in the 90s. The very fact that they talk about death in a way that isn't so serious is amazing. And, yes, Batman does a lot of fist punching!

The voice work in Brave and the Bold has been quite excellent, mainly due to excellent casting by Warner Bros. veteran Andrea Romano who has been casting the voices of DC Superheroes since Batman: the Animated Series. I always love hearing voice actors stretched beyond their normal roles, and to hear several of them, including Diedrich Bader, pretending to be Deadman/Michael Rosenbaum was a blast.

Also a blast was seeing Speedy appear in this show in his classic Silver Age persona. Created as a carbon copy of Robin, he is every bit of cheesy camp that you would expect. He even throws in a "Holy involuntary acrobatics!" as a nod to the Burt Ward Robin.

Dawn of the Deadman is the darkest episode yet but it fits nicely with the other episodes and has one of the best storylines to date. Oh, and seeing the little known Kamandi, the last boy on Earth, in the teaser was something special.

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

  • Back to Episode Guide

    1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    Gentlemen Ghost ended back where he belongs with the dead.