BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD “Cry Freedom Fighters” Review

BATMAN THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD

BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD “Cry Freedom Fighters” Season 2, Episode 21 – Every week, BATMAN THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD is a smile fest for fans of DC Comics that span decades. This week gave us little-known outside of comics Freedom Fighters and some wonderful touches of hokum to boot.

First off, it was another great opening segment with no Bats in sight, just the teaming of youngsters the “new” Blue Beetle and Stargirl – Courtney Whitmore – from the JSA with her Cosmic Rod. I just loved it when she used the rod to blast a batsignal into the sky, too. Plus the opening villain? Mantis of Apokolips! Yes! Bring on more Jack Kirby Fourth World characters. Let’s see Orion and Lightray, the Forever People and most of all, Darkseid. And we will see the Lord of Apokolips in episode 50, “Darkseid Descending” come December.

Anyway, on to the main event. So Uncle Sam wants….Plastic Man? And Batman, too of course. The use of the Freedom Fighters, second, even third-tier heroes from Quality Comics in the ’40s acquired by DC in the 70s is more comics obscura that kids watching and even most adults have never heard of. So much the better.

The Doll Man as a tough guy version of the Atom stuck at tiny size was good, very 1940s in character. Phantom Lady was sultry-sexy, but with that outfit of the plunging neckline (but really not risque for kids) how could she not be? The Ray, Black Condor and Human Bomb were kind of without much in the personality departments, but that’s okay. The villains, the Weaponers of Qward armed with lightning bolts, fronted by an imperious leader, were kind of second-string baddies, too.

And hey, aren’t they supposed to be from an Anti-Matter Universe? But Plastic Man should get his own Saturday Morning cartoon show. It was sly to have his self-preservation instinct responsible for his actually saving the day and rousing the oppressed planet’s people. When he leads them, and Batman, and the rest of the Freedom Fighters in “Yankee Doodle Dandy” to resurrect Uncle Sam (along with the on-screen sing-along and bouncing ball) it’s pretty silly, but worked.

One more note: The American Flag-styled energy shield raised by Uncle Sam several times sure looked like Captain America’s original shield. Shhhh…don’t tell Marvel. While Batman becomes something of a supporting character in this one and “Cry Freedom Fighters” didn’t push emotional buttons (though there was plenty of pseudo-patriotic rah-rah), but it was still one of the episodes of BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD that work well because the team-up isn’t some obvious household name drawn from the comic book world.

Next week’s new scheduled episode before a run of repeats is “The Knights of Tomorrow,” a possible-future tale where Batman retires, marries Catwoman, has a son Damian Wayne who becomes Robin to the new Batman, Dick Grayson, no longer Nightwing. The Damian (the son of Bruce and grandson of Ras Al Ghul in comics) and Dick teaming comes right out of recent “Batman & Robin” issues, so we’ll see how it plays out on this show.