Batman: The Brave and the Bold has an episode in its second season called Chill of the Night. With a title like that, long time fans can expect that the episode deals with the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne, Batman’s parents.
This episode deals with it a bit differently, a supernatural element is introduced with the use of the characters Spectre, and Phantom Stranger.
Though not a Batman 66 connection it is worth noting that the Phantom Stranger is portrayed in this episode by Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman in Batman: The Animated Series and various other animated Batman projects.
Batman’s origins have been told and re-told countless times, but just to reiterate briefly:
Thomas and Martha Wayne are coming out of the theatre with their young son Bruce, when they come face to face with a mugger by the name of Joe Chill, after some struggle and Thomas trying to protect Martha, Chill guns them both down, unwittingly sparking the fire inside Bruce which manifests itself years later as him becoming The Batman.
In this re-telling Thomas Wayne is portrayed by Batman 66’s Adam West and Martha Wayne is portrayed by the show’s original Catwoman, Julie Newmar.
In this scene and a later scene we get to hear the classic Batman and Catwoman, who have always seemingly been on the edge of being together if it weren’t for their particular viewpoints on justice, finally together. So it works as a nerdy sort of wish fulfilment for fans of that show and relationship.
Also, rumours have abounded for years that Adam West was offered the role of Thomas Wayne in Batman (1989) starring Michael Keaton, but that he turned it down, not wanting to simply do a cameo, or be in a role other than Batman himself. Whether this is/was true or not, it is great to see Batman: The Brave and the Bold acknowledging its heritage and Adam West being a part of the Batman family tree both symbolically and literally.
Not wanting to give too much of the plot away, I will say this, we get to hear a classic catchphrase re-used.
Batman asks his Dad in a scene where he has gone back in time how his aim is, and his Dad responds with “impeccable, old Chum”. A line that has been revisited, satirised and lovingly acknowledged in quite a few different media to do with the show. To hear the one true Batman say that to a modern-day Batman is a nice tip of the hat.
Emotional in a different way, this episode has a somewhat similar feel to the Batman: The Animated Series episode, Beware The Gray Ghost, an episode I will no doubt talk about in greater detail in a future blog post on here what with its references and allusions to Batman 66 and its lead actor Adam West, being featured in the episode itself as the titular Gray Ghost!
Though I have not yet watched much of Batman: The Brave and The Bold, I can highly recommend this episode. It’s a story that’s been done countless times in Batman media but this time it has a different feel to it. Even if you’ve had enough of the old Thomas and Martha wander down Crime Alley story, this one is worth visiting for the freshness with which they tackle it and the fact that we get to experience it with a bit of a Batman 66 flavour.
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