BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD “Menace of the Madniks!” Review

Batman: The Brave and the Bold (Cartoon Network)
There’s no greater comic book fan geek-out of awesomeness on TV (even more than Smallville) than BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD. This is especially so when it comes to the series’ opening vignettes lately and this week’s episode found Batman teaming with the Haunted Tank – a World War II tank inhabited by the ghost of a Civil War Confederate soldier. What a DC Comics Silver Age moment! I got to explain it to my son, who just soaks up that kind of history lesson.

The main story was pretty good, too – “Menace of the Madniks,” guest-starring both Booser Gold, the “ego” superhero, and the original Blue Beetle, Ted Kord (the latest Beetle, teen Jaime Reyes, actually appeared at the start of the show’s first season and has turned up again since). Booster comes upon Batman taking on the strange-looking anarchist trio, the Madniks (who curiously look related to DC’s Creeper, btw). Booster misses his pal Ted, now gone, who gave his life to save everyone from a disaster. So, he goes back in time a couple of years to see him and help Beetle take on the Madniks, who were among his arch-enemies. Only things go awry when Booster returns the present to find the city in ruin and giant flame-headed creatures wreaking havoc. He runs into Bats again, tells him what he did and they both go back in time to help the Beetle take down the Madniks, who’d become those creatures when they were blasted by Booster’s special ray gun. Of course, they set things right, meaning back in the present, Ted still made his original sacrifice. Ah, time travel fixes. And once at odds Booster and Bats? They’ve come to terms.

Once again Batman: The Brave and the Bold taps into decades of comics – Booster, who started in the 1980s, Beetle, originally a Charlton Comics character in the ’60s, plus that Haunted Tank cameo in the opening – for a show to delight fanboys and fangirls. True, Batman almost played a supporting role at times, but it doesn’t matter, because “Menace of the Madniks” nailed the Booster-Beetle friendship first seen in the pages of Justice League comics back in the ’80s (with Batman in those issues as the tough parental figure). Coming up are “The Mask of Matches Malone!” (one of Batman’s guises in the underworld), written by DC Comics own Gail Simone and also, “Emperor Joker,” guest starring Bat-Mite making a return and possibly based on the graphic novel by that title. We’ll see. Can’t wait.