Warner Archive continues its release of Cartoon Network's Batman: The Brave and the Bold on Blu-ray with The Complete Second Season. The 26 episodes are presented on two discs, making them easier to find than when they debuted over 18 months between November 20, 2009 to April 8, 2011. For those unfamiliar with this series, let me quote my review of The Complete First Season:
Created between The WB's The Batman and Cartoon Network's Beware the Batman, The Brave and the Bold teams Batman (Diedrich Bader) with different heroes, just like the DC Comics book series of the same name did. The television show succeeds at blending action and comedy together and features a vast roster of well-known and obscure characters to work with and against Batman...The writers maximize the amount of characters used by starting the show with a mini adventure in the cold open that usually has no connection to the remainder of the episode.
While I again enjoyed the entire season due in large part to the quality of the writing, there were some standout episodes. In "Death Race to Oblivion!" heroes and villains are gathered to race for Earth's survival. It has the feeling of an old Hanna Barbera Wacky Races episode. After accidentally traveling through a wormhole, Batman meets "The Super-Batman of Planet X!" (voiced by Batman:TAS' Kevin Conroy), who has a wildly colorful outfit and superpowers. Two former Superman:TAS voice actors appear in similar roles: Clancy Brown (Lex Luthor) as the villain Rohtul and Dana Delaney (Lois Lane) as reporter Vilsi.
"Bat-Mite Presents: Batman's Strangest Cases!" is the strangest episode of the season if not the entire series and possibly the greatest. It references Mad magazine parody "Bat Boy and Rubin," Jiro Kuwata's Batman magna, and Scooby-Doo cartoons
At the midway point of the season, Batman and allies battle against the alien Starro. During the "Clash of the Metal Men!" teaser, the writers' first hint of what's to come occurs when Aquaman returns to Atlantis and finds his people under the creature's influence. Then in "The Power of Shazam!" teaser more heroes are shown succumbing to Starro's mind control. During "The Siege of Starro! Part One," Batman puts together a ragtag team (Captain Marvel, Firestorm, Booster Gold, and B'wana Beast) of those not yet taken over to fight the alien. "Part Two." heightens the conflict and allows a goofy character to become a true hero.
While the light-hearted tone may make the show seem directed at children, there are many references to DC Comics history, both comic books and TV series, for longtime, older fans. "Chill of the Night!" revistis the death of Bruce Wayne's parents with stars of the original TV series, Adam West as Thomas Wayne and Julie Newmar as Martha Wayne. "The Power of Shazam!" pays homage to a number of old Captain Marvel stories.
As with Warner Archive's Blu-ray release of Season One, the video has been given a 1080p/MPEG-4 AVC encoded transfer displayed at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The colors are brilliant and the blacks rich. The audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. It's adequate for the task at hand as the dialogue is always clear and the effects augment the scenes well, but with so many superheroes nowadays appearing in movies that deliver more expansive audio, it makes you wish the series had a bigger sound design. The Blu-ray comes with no extras.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold: The Complete Second Season is highly recommended for comic book fans. It could easily serve as a entry point for those new to the series.