Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Legends of the Dark Mite!

Season: 2
Episode Number: 19
Season Episode Number: 6
Production Number: 119
Airdate: May 29, 2009

Writer: Paul Dini
Director: Ben Jones

Voices: Diedrich Bader (Batman), Paul Reubens (Batmite), Jim Piddock (Calendar Man, Calendar King), Tom Wilson (Catman), Dee Bradley Baker (Bathound).

Plot: Bat-Mite proves to be a big pain in the neck while attempting to meet his hero, Batman.

Teaser: Batman and Ace the Bathound prevent Catman from selling rare tigers to the highest bidders.

Review (Warning! Spoilers!): After a few episodes of mediocrity, we are finally treated to something extra special, thanks to a man named Paul Dini. Dini is no stranger to the Dark Knight, as he is one of the creators of the 90s hit Batman: the Animated Series, nor is he a stranger to animation writing, having been writing for animation since the early 80s.

Bringing him on board is just what the show needed to keep the fans who may have been disappointed over the past four or five episodes. Plus, there is some great voice work, especially from the voice of Bat-Mite, Paul Rueben (Pee-Wee Herman).

Upon hearing that Bat-Mite would be the episode's guest star, I groaned. Bad memories of the Filmation Batman series, as well as the fact that all small impish creatures in cartoons seem to be annoying, caused me to put up walls. But I was quite impressed with the episode.

Okay, okay, I'll tell you what I really think. I friggin' loved it! It blew me away! This could be my favourite episode of the series!

Not only does it have a great story, a lesson learned, fun animation, plenty of action, wacky humour (Paul Dini was a writer on Tiny Toon Adventures), but there are enough inside jokes to keep even the biggest fanboys wondering if they caught all of them!

First off, there were dozens of cameos by classic Batman villains! In the picture above you see most off them. (Back row, left to right), Kite Man, Killer Moth, Riddler, Polka-Dot Man, Tiger Shark, Joker, Catman, (Front row, left to right) Penguin, Catwoman, Two-Face, Zebraman, Tweedle Dee & Dweedle Dum and Mr. Zero (the name given to the character before the Adam West series changed it to Mr. Freeze).

Also seen throughout the episode are Gorilla Grodd, Solomon Grundy, Shaggy Man, Calendar Man, Mad Hatter, and Copperhead! Wow!

Plus if that weren't enough, Bat-Mite sends Batman through a series of costume changes, a scene strictly for the fanboys. See Batman as Vampire Batman (Batman & Dracula: Red Rain), Bat-Hombre (Batman #56, 1949), Adam West Batman, Val Kilmer Batman (with emphasis on the nipples), Zebra Batman (Detective Comics #275, 1960), and Frank Millar's Batman from The Dark Knight Returns.

However, my favourite part of the episode is when Bat-Mite is trapped in his nightmare, which is a parody of a Daffy Duck Looney Tune called The Great Piggy Bank Robbery (which is why the episode ends with "That's All Folks")! I am a huge Looney Tunes fan and to see this come up in Batman cartoon almost blew my mind.

Another amusing part of the episode is the scene where Bat-Mite polls a crowd of Batman fans at a Comic-Con to see what they think of this version of Batman. This scene was written specifically because of all the controversy about this being a "kiddie Batman show" before its premiere. One fanboy stands up and says "I'm sorry, that's not my Batman", an opinion shared by many who are put off by this series, to which the panel gives a reply that could very well rest as the final argument for anyone disputing the validity of this version of the Caped Crusader:

Batman's rich history allows him to be interpreted in a multitude of ways. To be sure, this is a lighter incarnation, but is certainly no less valid and true to the character's roots than the tortured avenger crying out for mommy and daddy.

One last thing and then I'll end this review. The Brave and the Bold panel at the Comic-Con featured in this episode is made up of caricatures of actual members of the show's creative team (in the same outfits and sitting in the same order as they were at the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con). From left to right, Andrea Romano, Dietrich Bader, Michael Chang, Ben Jones, Brandon Vietti, Michael Jelenic, James Tucker and Sam Register.

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Anonymous said...

Thats the ugliest Catwoman I ever seen in Batman!

Orphen said...

Part of me thought it was an amazing fan pleasing episode, but part of me thought they rushed it a little too much. But overall I really enjoyed the episode.

Anonymous said...

Was I the only person who thought the flying saucers looked suspiciously like the "Starship Enterprise" when they were coming at the screen head on? Maybe just a coincidence, but being a "fanboy" episode.

janos Sitar said...

Wow, this episode is some of Paul Dini's best work! I looooove that they even shoved in bits from the opening of Batman the Animated series. Awesomesauce!

Anonymous said...

That show is awful & yes, that is the ugliest Catwoman to have ever been drawn!