Obviously, the people behind new cartoon Batman: The Brave and The Bold didn't get the memo about how the caped crusader was supposed to be handled, post-Dark Knight. How else to explain a story that doesn't just take Batman to an alien planet to lead an insurrection, but also shows him breathing in the cold, airless vacuum of space? And yet, despite this colorful insanity - or, more likely, because of it - this may be the greatest Batman cartoon we've seen in years.There's a lot to recommend in the premiere episode of this new Batman series - Not least of all the colorful, retro design of the show, which channels both the Bruce Timm look of the classic '90s Batman: The Animated Series with comic artist Dick Sprang's iconic take into something that still seems curiously modern . That retro feel is helped by the fun, jazzy theme music (provided by Andy Sturmer, former Jellyfish lead and writer of the equally wonderful Teen Titans music) and writing that, while working on a couple of levels, definitely takes all characters involved back to their roots as defiantly kids' characters. It's the smartness of the writing - that it offers the kid-friendly familiar morals about finding your inner strength and using your head to save the day, but tempers the saccharine nature with the "smart" solution being to spit on the machine and short-circuit it, or watching Batman plug an amoeba-like alien that he's trying to save into a power cable to test a half-assed theory - that really made the show such a success for me. Many shows look amazing, but few have the senses of style and humor to open a series by giving us a supervillain with a clock for a head and henchmen called "Tick" and "Tock," and then immediately follow that with an alien whose weapon is a cosmic-powered gong. It's only the first episode, of course; everything could go downhill from hereon in... but somehow, I doubt it. This opening was confident, coherent and very enjoyable, and if every other episode is at least this good, we may just have met the best new show of the season. Sorry, Fringe.
"and writing that, while working on a couple of levels, definitely takes all characters involved back to their roots as defiantly kids' characters."
And what roots would those be? The ones where Batman breaks necks with kicks, or shoots explosive gas tanks, hence burning his would-be captors? The original Batman was far more ruthless than anything Frank Miller could come up with.