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Old May 30 2009, 05:25 AM   #1
Christopher
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BATMAN B&B: "Legends of the Dark Mite"

Paul Dini comes to The Brave and the Bold to do a Bat-Mite story, and it's a hoot, with all the Dini-esque riffs you'd expect. Tons of homages. There's Ace the Bat-Hound, who's almost as vicious here as his Batman Beyond namesake. There's Bat-Mite changing Batman's look to reflect or lampoon such things as the Adam West costume, the Frank Miller Dark Knight, and the Joel Schumacher Bat-nipple costume. There's Calendar Man getting magic powers from Bat-Mite and pitting Batman against biker Santas and killer Easter bunnies. There's a Freakazoid-esque fourth-wall breaker with Bat-Mite and the show producers at a convention responding to fan complaints about how they want the dark, gritty Batman back -- after which we see caricatures of Paul Dini in a Harley costume and Bruce Timm in a Joker costume, with the latter saying "Meh." There's Bat-mite trying to emulate Batman in his mental landscape, starting with an homage to the Batman: The Animated Series main titles, but then becoming an homage to Daffy Duck's The Great Piggy Bank Robbery followed by something more like Porky in Wackyland, with Bat-Mite being overwhelmed by Silver-Age versions of Batman's entire rogues' gallery (even including Mr. Zero, the obscure villain who was reworked into Mr. Freeze by the Adam West series; ironic that Dini, who invented the modern, tragic Mr. Freeze, would revert to the pre-Freeze version of the character). It's a hoot.

The main failing of the episode is Paul Reubens as Bat-Mite. His voice characterization lacks the energy I'd expect from either the actor or the character, and comes off as kind of bland. On a show where most everything is dialed up to 11, he delivered a 7, tops.
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Old May 30 2009, 08:01 AM   #2
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Re: BATMAN B&B: "Legends of the Dark Mite"

I caught most of the episode (came in five minutes late or so due to a masochistic need to see the Indians lose), and I thought it was a hoot. I'd forgotten that this was a Dini script. I should have known.

It was a hell of a thing, to be sure--a nice surprise to see such a huge depth of 50s-type Batman material mined.

Between Grant Morrison's 'everything's in continuity' approach in the comics, and what we're seeing in TB&TB, I think we're really starting to get past the dark-n-gritty Batman. Now hey--I enjoy dark-n-gritty as much as the next fellow... but I also loves me some hardcore Silver Age wackiness. It's kind of nice to start seeing some acknowledgement that there were, in fact, Batman stories published between 1940 and 1969 or so. The fashion really seemed for a long time to be to almost totally ignore virtually everything between Robin's debut and the start of the O'Neil-Adams era.

But anyhow, what I saw of the episode was huge fun. And yeah, I have to say, I was a bit underwhelmed with Reubens' performance. I think you got it dead on there--it wasn't bad or anything, but it didn't really impress.

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Old May 30 2009, 10:32 AM   #3
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Re: BATMAN B&B: "Legends of the Dark Mite"

The best - and only good ever - Bat-mite appearance is in TAS, when the toymaker character has made one and it answer the door to Batman and Robin
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Old May 30 2009, 01:32 PM   #4
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Re: BATMAN B&B: "Legends of the Dark Mite"

I was enjoying the episode until that final sequence where Bat-Mite was fighting the villains, I found that part uninteresting. My favorite bit was all the costume changes through the years. I agree that the voice for Mite was underwhelming, particularly since I'd read earlier they were getting a "celebrity" to play him, but I had to look up the credits to find who it was.
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Old May 30 2009, 02:54 PM   #5
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Re: BATMAN B&B: "Legends of the Dark Mite"

Lonemagpie wrote: View Post
The best - and only good ever - Bat-mite appearance is in TAS, when the toymaker character has made one and it answer the door to Batman and Robin
And Pat Fraley did a much better job as Bat-Mite there than Paul Reubens did here.

How many times has Bat-Mite appeared in animation? Of course he was a regular in the '70s Filmation cartoon, voiced by Lou Scheimer using basically the same electronically pitched-up voice he used for Orko in He-Man in the '80s (and Orko was essentially the same character anyway, a bumbling, floating magic-user from another dimension). There was the Bat-Mite robot in "His Silicon Soul," as you mention. And now there's this. Are there any others? There was the Larry character in that Teen Titans episode "Fractured," which was basically a Robin-ized Bat-Mite.
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Old May 30 2009, 04:53 PM   #6
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Re: BATMAN B&B: "Legends of the Dark Mite"

Mr Light wrote: View Post
I was enjoying the episode until that final sequence where Bat-Mite was fighting the villains, I found that part uninteresting.
Yeah, I thought that didn't work very well either.
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Old May 30 2009, 06:47 PM   #7
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Re: BATMAN B&B: "Legends of the Dark Mite"

Christopher wrote: View Post
How many times has Bat-Mite appeared in animation? Of course he was a regular in the '70s Filmation cartoon, voiced by Lou Scheimer using basically the same electronically pitched-up voice he used for Orko in He-Man in the '80s (and Orko was essentially the same character anyway, a bumbling, floating magic-user from another dimension). There was the Bat-Mite robot in "His Silicon Soul," as you mention. And now there's this. Are there any others? There was the Larry character in that Teen Titans episode "Fractured," which was basically a Robin-ized Bat-Mite.
AFAIK, you've pretty much covered it. The only other major piece of animated Batman would be Superfriends, and I'm pretty sure Bat-Mite never showed up there (perhaps because he was appearing in the Filmation series during that same rough time frame? Kind of a proto-Bat-Embargo... which I think I read was why you had only Riddler and Scarecrow in the Legion of Doom while Riddler only appeared briefly in the Filmation show's opening titles. Of course, maybe the SF writers didn't particularly want to use Bat-Mite, either...)

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Old May 31 2009, 05:25 AM   #8
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Re: BATMAN B&B: "Legends of the Dark Mite"

The 'Duck Twacy' homage (the other one I can recall was in Tiny Toons) had me groaning--good groaning. I especially liked the Superman-Mxy ref, opening the door to the big guy, even though I prefer this show be a venue for the Z-listers. There was a terrific old B&B (Number 150) that would make the perfect way to bring him in.
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Old May 31 2009, 08:49 AM   #9
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Re: BATMAN B&B: "Legends of the Dark Mite"

I'm surprised at all the criticism of the voice. I don't know what you guys wanted...he was so wacky and over-the-top, but just enough to sound natural for the character. I loved it. I actually found The Joker voice in the two parter a lot more disappointingly flat, but I appreciate how different it was from previous animated Joker voices (unlike the one in "The Batman", which was like a bad Mark Hamill impression).

I also thought the whole episode was perfect from start to finish. The best episode of "The Brave and the Bold" I've seen yet (although admittedly I haven't seen many) and proof of how much better conceived than "The Batman" this show is. I think this is what "The Batman" should have been. "The Batman" was kind of like a watered down version of "Batman: The Animated Series", with more silly, fake-looking action, and bad characterizations and writing (except when former Batman/Superman/Justice League writers took a shot at it).

I could tell Dini had a blast writing this. He was enamored with Mxy in that "Superman" episode about him he wrote, and you can see the same joy in his writing here. Just about everything Dini writes is excellent, including his "The Batman" episode, but a writer can only do so much on his own - the tone and characters of the series as established by others have to influence his writing and how much better this episode was than his "The Batman" episode is evidence of how superior this series is.

I think if you're going to make a new animated series after the '90s one, it's best to go as far in the opposite direction as possible and try to be just as great but in a different way (with the more sliver age vision, for example), and I think this show is doing that brilliantly.
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Old May 31 2009, 09:16 AM   #10
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Re: BATMAN B&B: "Legends of the Dark Mite"

Too Much Fun wrote: View Post
I think if you're going to make a new animated series after the '90s one, it's best to go as far in the opposite direction as possible and try to be just as great but in a different way (with the more sliver age vision, for example), and I think this show is doing that brilliantly.
QFT in a big way. I could not agree more. BTAS was fantastic... and so is TB&TB, in a totally different but no less fun way.

(Apart from touching on the oft-forgotten lighthearted and bizarre aspects of the Batman mythos, it's great to see this show delve into various aspects of the DC Universe that have otherwise remained undepicted in animation... Guy Gardner, Jay Garrick, and the Blue Beetles, anyone?)

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Old May 31 2009, 10:45 AM   #11
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Re: BATMAN B&B: "Legends of the Dark Mite"

I would so love a B&B toy three pack with Jaime, Ted, and Dan. They could call it 'Meet The Blue Beetles'.
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Old May 31 2009, 02:00 PM   #12
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Re: BATMAN B&B: "Legends of the Dark Mite"

Too Much Fun wrote: View Post
I'm surprised at all the criticism of the voice. I don't know what you guys wanted...he was so wacky and over-the-top, but just enough to sound natural for the character.
But that's just it. He wasn't over the top. Compared to the voice work Pat Fraley did on Robot Bat-Mite in B:TAS: "His Silicon Soul" and Dee Bradley Baker did as Larry in Teen Titans: "Fractured," Reubens' Bat-Mite here just seemed half-hearted. It was okay, it was adequate, but it was by no means over the top, certainly not by the standards of this show.

I loved it. I actually found The Joker voice in the two parter a lot more disappointingly flat, but I appreciate how different it was from previous animated Joker voices (unlike the one in "The Batman", which was like a bad Mark Hamill impression).
Ohh, hardly! Kevin Richardson's Joker paid homage to Hamill but went far beyond that. Richardson is a great voice actor -- hell, the fact that a basso profundo like him could raise his voice that many octaves and sound like a tenor is amazing -- and he brought enormous range and creativity to his Joker characterization. His tour de force was an episode where Batman used VR technology to enter the Joker's mind, which manifested as a virtual Gotham populated entirely by facets of the Joker, every one of which had a subtly different voice and personality. Even Hamill could never have pulled that off, but Richardson nailed it.
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Old May 31 2009, 05:16 PM   #13
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Re: BATMAN B&B: "Legends of the Dark Mite"

Lonemagpie wrote: View Post
The best - and only good ever - Bat-mite appearance is in TAS, when the toymaker character has made one and it answer the door to Batman and Robin
That was several hundred pounds of awesome, to be sure.
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Old June 2 2009, 12:58 AM   #14
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Re: BATMAN B&B: "Legends of the Dark Mite"

Just watched it and man, that was Awesome Sauce indeed! So many great homages to what came before. That just ruled!
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Old June 2 2009, 02:41 AM   #15
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Re: BATMAN B&B: "Legends of the Dark Mite"

This was the best ep of the new series, hands-down. I love the new series, especially the Aquaman eps. "I called that Aquaman and the Adventure of the..."

I've been looking for a screen cap so I can change my avatar to the tiny head Bat-Mite with "Awesome Sauce" under it. lol.

Great episode.
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