There is a new Batman animated series on Cartoon Network. Batman: The Brave and the Bold takes its name from a series of comic books that featured various heroes teaming up to battle evilness. The first two episodes featured Batsy meeting Aquaman and Red Tornado, respectably. The animated series itself feels closer to the 60s television series or the Superfriends cartoons of the 70s-80s. A much lighter tone than the recent movies but kind of fun. The tone is also exemplified by the casting of Diedrich Bader (Oswald of The Drew Carey Show and Jethro from The Beverly Hillbillies movie are among his credits) as Bruce Wayne/The Masked Manhunter.
The obligatory holiday episode features Red Tornado searching for inner Christmas spirit. I for one was not familiar with the character until his few appearances on Justice League Unlimited. In this episode, we learn that the hero is a robot who poses as a professor of archeology when not fighting crime. He informs an inquisitive student that the subject is mostly books and very little field work (hmm.. sound familiar?) After rescuing a pair of siblings from an out of control delivery van, Tornado is wished a Merry Christmas. However, being a robot, the greeting does not compute.
The evil villain named Fun Haus (definitely a second string Scrooge-inspired baddie) arrives on the scene with his arsenal of destruction causing toys, flying saucers, and hundreds of giant Santas which cause pillage and plunder and wreak havoc on Gotham City causing a most un-Holy, non-Silent Night. Red Tornado joins the cowled hero to bring down the no-Good Nick. In the end, the robot does experience a tingle of sorts.
The episode also reflects upon the World’s Greatest Detective’s own melancholy during the holidays. How one unappreciated gift led to the most life-altering event in the young life of the millionaire heir. Not sure if the details were invented for the show, but as I have previously noted, backstories are contantly changed to either reflect the culture of the time or to aid in story telling. I like the new series as it brings back memories of past incarnations even if it is geared toward a younger audience not yet old enough to experience the dark atmosphere of the movies (although…).