Home > B, Episode Reviews, Justice League > Justice League 1×14-15 – “The Brave and the Bold”

Justice League 1×14-15 – “The Brave and the Bold”

October 23, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Brave and the Bold

Story by Rich Fogel and Paul Dini
Teleplay by Dwayne McDuffie
Directed by Dan Riba
Originally Aired: March 10 & 17, 2002
DVD: Justice League, Season One

Summary: In the DCAU equivalent of a buddy cop movie, Flash and Green Lantern battle against a mentally-enhanced gorilla who wants to destroy his technologically-advanced home city.

Featured Characters: Flash, Green Lantern

Debuting Characters: Grodd, Solovar

Other Team Members: J’onn J’onzz, Hawkgirl, Wonder Woman, Batman

Background:

We’ve already talked about the most famous of the team-up books – World’s Finest – but there were a couple of others that bear mentioning, beginning with the one homaged in this episode’s title, The Brave and the Bold (BatB). BatB was originally a tryout book, and is notable for containing the first-ever JLA story (along with the first appearances of the Teen Titans, Nemesis, and Metamorpho – all of whom we’ll probably talk about at some point in this section).

However,after sixty issues, the format was changed to something altogether different. Whereas World’s Finest paired Batman with Superman, and DC Comics Presents was later used to pair Superman with other heroes, BatB was DC’s way of pairing Batman with other, lesser-known heroes in an ongoing title. BatB was well-known for the often-weird writing of Bob Haney, but the book attracted its fair share of stories from the great artists that were kicking around the Bat-offices during its 1970s heyday, with personal favourite Jim Aparo turning in a notable run on the title that’s been partially collected in DC’s excellent Showcase digests (the second volume is worth tracking down – it has the Neal Adams stories).

However, with Batman’s loner status being played up in the 1980s (I know a man with two adoptive sons, a father figure butler, a might-as-well-be-surrogate-daughter and now an actual biological son isn’t, by any definition, alone, but just go with it), the “Brave and the Bold” moniker has been assigned to books featuring team-ups of any of DC’s heroes, although a Mark Waid-penned miniseries specifically teamed up Flash and GL in the 1990s).

Of course, these days “Brave and the Bold” is back being associated with Batman on TV via the awesome new series.

After seeing the Ultra-Humanite in the Injustice Guild story and then Titano, you’d think that the DC Universe would be practically overflowing with simian supervillains, or at least that I have a weird obsession with them. That’s not quite the case, but Grodd is one of DC’s bigger bad guys. He’s generally fallen under the Flash’s purview, even if he’s not a member of the “Rogues Gallery” per se. The version used in this episode is pretty close to the traditional version of Grodd, although the modern version is more animalistic than the edruite version seen here, which makes an entirely different contrast with Flash than the one shown here.

Thoughts on the Episode:

Of all the League members, Flash is the one that receives the lowest amount of overt character development during the series – in fact, you could argue that he doesn’t get an episode to truly shine until the final season of Unlimited. But this episode is what would become a typical Flash episode, where he’s cocky, receives his comeuppance, then pulls things together at the end to save the day. Although he’d have more spectacular moments, Flash certainly gets things together in this one.

Of course, another hallmark of a Flash episode is that it tends to focus more on humour than most, and this one’s all about bringing the funny. The cold opening is a great, if simple, joke in and of itself, and from then on it’s totally a buddy cop movie (with Green Lantern, perhaps a bit obviously, playing the Murtaugh to Flash’s Riggs). However, towards the end of part one the big fight is the mind-controlled Flash against GL, and for the first time in the series we get a sense of just how deadly a combatant Flash could be if he isn’t holding back – he holds his own against GL, who’s traditionally been viewed as one of the League’s heavy hitters. That Flash is capable of more than his surface immaturity is a theme in this one.

Grodd’s plan here isn’t the wisest, but as subsequent encounters with him would show, this version of Grodd isn’t great when it comes to big picture planning. At the very least, he seems to be unprepared for anyone interfering with his plan, which, considering he ensalaved Flash to get the isotopes for the generator in the first place, seems more than a bit naive.

Of course, the obvious point of this episode is that Flash is making rash mistakes the entire way through until he confronts Grodd at the end, at which time he finally starts thinking and outsmarts the super-genius, which is played out perfectly. Admittedly, the rest of the League exists solely to get to Gorilla City by the tail end of the episode to stop the other missiles, but this is Flash’s moment to shine, and it’s just about perfect. The intercutting of the scenes at the end of the story keeps the pace moving very quickly; with the long opening action piece being the biggest single sequence of the two episodes, this entire story flies along. While that can sometimes be the mark of a lack of plot, in this case it’s simply very good writing (unsurprising, as Dwayne McDuffie was involved with this episode… he’d go on to basically assume showrunner duties, at least on the script side of things,  as the series progressed).

In the end, it really does feel just like a good team-up issue of BatB, which isn’t shabby.

Grade: B. Again, biased towards any episode featuring Flash, but this one’s funny enough to make up for the problems – which mainly mean that the episode’s more a series of amusing bits (hence the larger-than-normal number of random thoughts) instead of a 40-minute epic.

Line of the Episode: Green Lantern: “Flash! Stop heckling the supervillain!”

Flash line of the Episode: “Oh yeah? Well you’re… naked!” (Hard to pick just one of each.)

  • Hope you like the brief glimpse we get of Flash’s origin in this episode:Barry
  • …because that’s all the information we’re going to get out of him, origin-wise, for another season and a half. Suffice it to say that this was VERY confusing at the time.
  • Most of the transformations later in Flash’s dream sequence are inspired by Silver Age stories; that type of stuff happened to Flash quite often, usually drawn by in appropriately weird style by Carmine Infantino.
  • This episode probably caused a thousand disturbing fanfics to be written, because of this shot:Brave and the Bold - the kiss
    (Shippers really outght to be isolated from the rest of society. We can all agree on that, right?) Anyway, this is another little thread that gets picked up again later, so we won’t talk too much about it now.
  • Unlike the first Flash episode in STAS, there’s no re-use of the Flash TV music here.
  • Given the nature of flashbacks on this show, it’s interesting how Solovar recounts exactly what happens prior to the cold opening when he’s talking with Flash and GL. Most of the time, flashbacks are talking about an ancient evil that has been sealed away and the like.
  • Anyone who says this is a kids’ show needs to explain to me how kids are supposed to pick up the joke revolving around the famous quote from Planet of the Apes.
  • This is the first episode of Justice League to take place in a city that explicitly isn’t Metropolis.
  • The Flash vs Grodd fight from this episode was used as a boss sequence in WayForward’s excellent Flash game for the Game Boy Advance.

Next Justice League: One of the more classic team comic tropes is hauled out in “Fury.”

Next Side Story: I wanted it to be “Spell of the Siren” from GI Joe since that’s the exact same episode, but since I still haven’t used a Batman episode, it seems appropriate to review “Batgirl Returns” and “Girl’s Night Out.”

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  1. November 10, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    I LIKE WATCHING JUSTICE LEUOGE THE NEW FROTTEAR

  2. November 27, 2009 at 6:36 am

    Truthful words, some unadulterated words dude. You rocked my day!

  1. October 24, 2009 at 10:58 am
  2. October 28, 2009 at 6:34 am
  3. December 1, 2009 at 11:25 pm
  4. November 29, 2010 at 8:28 am

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