Just forget the words and sing along

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Chill of the Night

I just finished watching the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode Chill of the Night!, and I must say, that's got to be one of the best episodes of that cartoon to date. Granted, I like it because it's got gobs and gobs of fanservice going for it. But, added to that, is the fact that it is a very good story. And for a cartoon that's prided itself on being a more lighthearted take on the Batman mythos, it is shocking how dark of an episode it is.

It's one of those episodes that goes deep into Batman's origins and tries to figure out what makes him tick. Those always make for good episodes of any Batman cartoon, as Batman has a very grim origin with lots of dark alleys to explore.

So, the plot. In an otherworldly nexus, two of DC's supernatural heroes, the Spectre and the Phantom Stranger, are having a discussion. The Phantom Stranger applauds Batman for always being on the side of justice, but the Spectre is upset that Batman hasn't become an agent of vengeance who dispatches the guilty in grizzly manner. So, the Spectre and the Phantom Stranger essentially make a wager for Batman's soul. Should the Spectre win, Batman becomes a murderous agent of vengeance. Should the Phantom Stranger win, Batman continues on his path as an agent of justice. So what case is Batman working that brought the Spectre and the Phantom Stranger together to have this discussion? Batman is very close to solving the case that created him: finding the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne. That's right, Bruce Wayne is finally about to track down the man who killed his parents. Once Batman finds this man, will he become an agent of vengeance and murder his parents killer, or remain an agent of justice and turn him in to the proper authorities?

As I'm sure you can imagine, Phantom Stranger and Spectre show up to assist Batman in this case, and they very much play the roles of the angel and the devil on Batman's shoulders. And there's also a great sequence where Phantom Stranger throws Batman back in time, and Batman actually gets to meet his parents and fight along side his father...who's also dressed as a bat, thanks to comic book contrivances.

Now, I mentioned the great gobs of fanservice in this, so let's look at that. First up, the episode was written by Paul Dini. Dini was one of the main creative forces behind Batman: The Animated Series all those years ago and is still pretty much acknowledged as being one of the greatest writers to write Batman in the past 20 years.

And let's not forget the stunt casting! Here's our galaxy of guest stars.

Phantom Stranger is voiced by Kevin Conroy, who voiced Batman on Batman: The Animated Series.

Spectre is voiced by Mark Hamill, who voiced the Joker on Batman: The Animated Series. Oh, and of course, he was Luke Skywalker, too.

When Batman is thrown back in time, Thomas Wayne is voiced by Adam West. You know, Batman on the 1960s TV show. And Martha Wayne is voiced by Julie Newmar, who was Catwoman on the 1960s TV show.

And another that wasn't hyped, but I picked up on. Moxon, the mafioso who ordered the death of Thomas Wayne, was voiced by Richard Moll. Still best remembered as Bull on Night Court, Moll also voiced Two-Face on Batman: The Animated Series.

But yeah. It was just a great episode, and I can't stop watching it.

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