Saturday, December 14, 2013

Top Ten Team-Ups of Batman: the Brave and the Bold

Before I start, I’d like to remind you all that this is only my personal list, and you are allowed to disagree. In fact, I’d love to hear any of your favorite TBATB team-ups in the comments section! I'd also like to say that this doesn't mean I necessarily dislike the other team-ups. These are just my favorites.

Also, before I begin the list proper, I’d like to bring attention to the fact that there was also a comic book tie-in to the show that was much freer in which characters it could, and did, use. Specifically, I’d like to honorably mention the top two team-ups from that series.

Batman, Brother Power, and Super Hip
Hello, Sixties. Glad you're back.
This is just about as sixties as it gets. Batman teams up with a living mannequin from a hippie commune and the super-powered alter ego of Tadwallader Jutefruce (Bob Hope’s nephew) to battle against Mad Mod, an evil clothes maker. No more explanation necessary; that’s just awesome.

All the Robins
Spoiler Alert: He doesn't die at dawn.
The Phantom Stranger reaches across time and brings together every Robin to save Batman. Carrie Kelley, Damian Wayne, Stephanie Brown, and more. Again, no more explanation necessary; that’s just awesome.

And now, on with the list! Let's go!

10: Batman and Robin
Ah, the yellow pants. I miss yellow in superhero costumes. Is that so wrong?
Yeah, Batman teams up with Robin, what a shock. But I like the way it’s handled in this show. In this show, Robin has parted ways with Batman and protects the City of Bludhaven and is determined to create an identity for himself as a crime fighter. He does so figuratively and literally when he rebrands himself as Nightwing toward the end of the series, and the journey there is a good one. Batman is portrayed as respecting Robin, but not understanding that he makes Robin feel like a second-rate sidekick. The resolution of their differences is realistic and satisfying, and it excellently blends classic Robin with the Bludhaven-era Nightwing comics quite well. The conflict between the Dynamic Duo might have been done before in The New Batman Adventures, but the dynamic between the duo is done very well in their team-up episodes.

9: Batman and Enemy Ace
This one’s more just my opinion than anything else, but I really liked Batman’s teaser team-up with German pilot Hans von Hammer, the Enemy Ace back in World War I.

Batman convinces Hans to help him destroy Germany's evil WW1 lasers that Germany isn't supposed to have. Two enemies on different sides teaming up to fight a common enemy simply from a sense of honor.

It’s one of my favorite teasers, and it’s one of my favorite team-ups. It’s different, it’s cool, and sometimes that’s all you need.

8: Batman and Felix Faust
This one needs some explanation….
So, Batman was stuck in a woman’s body, and he needed a spell to reverse the process, so he went to the villain who provided the spell to the woman who used it, a sorcerer named Felix Faust. …it’s complicated.

Anyway, the cross-gender bodyswap is a bit of a hackneyed writing trick, having been done in Star Trek (twice), Farscape, and other works and is generally recognized as a trite plot. In fact, I wasn’t too thrilled with the stereotypes used in the episode regarding a woman in Batman’s body, but I can leave that for a review.

Felix Faust, as is the standard for these stories, falls in love with female-bodied Batman and their back-and-forth works really well. Batman’s no-nonsense attitude with the lovestruck Felix is the reason why this is on the list. Batman ain’t got time for pretending he’s a woman, he’s just going to be Batman. He’s really not hiding the fact that he’s really a man… and Felix doesn’t care. In fact, when all is reversed, Batman goes ahead and tell him that “that woman” was Batman in a woman’s body.

Felix Faust: “Nobody’s perfect!”

Well, I guess some like it hot.

7: Batman and Ted Kord
Ted Kord, the second Blue Beetle, shows up twice. First in flashbacks, second when the timeline is screwed up because, sadly, Ted Kord sacrificed his life to save the day, and Booster Gold’s time traveling messed that up.

But the scenes that Batman has with Ted (voiced by Wil Wheaton himself) are pure greatness. They don’t so much banter, but just shoot the sh*t with each other. You can tell that these two admire and respect one another. Their scenes together will warm your heart, and Ted’s sacrifice will break it. More than a team-up, these two were friends, and that was something different and special.

6: Batman and Vigilante 
Again, this is a teaser-only team-up, but still a classic. Batman does what he does best, taking down thugs. But this time, he has musical accompaniment, courtesy of Vigilante, a singing cowboy with the voice of John DiMaggio.
Yes, please! The ballad’s nicely catchy, and the scene is just perfect, with Vigilante even shooting down a sniper with a secret gun in his guitar. Nothing else to be said; it’s just a great team-up.

5: Batman and Batman of Zur-En-Arrh
As it turns out, Bruce Wayne wasn’t the only person in the universe to be Batman. When Batman found himself on the distant world of Zur-En-Arrh, he discovered that the elements in the atmosphere gave him Superman-powers, and proceeded to team-up with the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh. As such, we got a Batman/Superman-style team-up where both people involved were Batman. That’s twice the Batman for an entire episode.

The rest of the episode was a great one, too, with plenty of in-jokes (like the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh’s reporter alter ego, and the voice cast from the DCAU reprising their roles, in a way), action, and awesome. It was a real treat to see this team-up taken straight from the Silver Age comics brought to life.

4: Batman and Space Ghost
Yet another teaser-only team-up, Batman once teamed up with the Hanna-Barbera cartoon hero Space Ghost to defeat one of his classic enemies. I’ve made it clear in the past how much I love the old Hanna-Barbera heroes, and Space Ghost is no exception. The sheer unexpectedness of such an awesome team-up earns it the number 4 spot.

3: Joker and Weeper
When Joker got an entire episode as the protagonist, we were treated to a topsy-turvy episode where Joker had to put a stop to Batman’s heroic scheme alongside his thematic opposite.

Tim Conway himself guest-starring as the Weeper was a nice touch and, much like the next team-up on the list, the banter between these two simply made the episode. Then again, it is the Joker. All of his jokes are real killers.

2: Atom and Aquaman
So first of all, Aquaman is awesome in this show. I think that’s been demonstrated already. And I must say that the Atom works better with him than Batman does. Don’t get me wrong, Batman’s great, but Batman’s no-nonsense attitude doesn’t work as well with Aquaman’s personality as the Atom’s straightlaced uptightness. It’s the classic comedy routine; you need a straight man to bounce jokes off of. Batman doesn’t so much let the jokes bounce off of him as he does dodge them and throw batarangs at them. It’s his standard response.

The banter between Atom and Aquaman was so good that I had to stop myself from just transcribing the episode in that Recap. And more than humor, the many episodes that the two appear in provide insight into their growing relationship. By the end of the show, when Ryan Choi gives up being the Atom, it takes not only a teammate but a friend to bring him back to doing what he loves. And that’s why this is so high on the list; it’s a fan-favorite breakout character, and the character that lets them bring out the best in each other.

1: Batman and Joker  
Who else?

The only thing better than a Joker/Weeper team-up is a Batman/Joker team-up. When Batman went undercover to an evil universe, he was aided by the Joker’s heroic counterpart. When he came back to find his own evil counterpart framing him, he was forced to team-up with the Joker himself to stop him. After all, when you need to take down a Batman, you’re going to need a Joker.

The two work surprisingly well together, and bring out the better parts of each other. But when push comes to shove, they’re still on different sides of the law. It’s more than a novelty team-up like one might expect; there’s a genuine sense that these two work well together, despite the animosity between them.

This episode was also the first real appearance of the Joker in this show, and it’s the episode where he shines the most, in my opinion. The frienemy dynamic between the Dark Knight and the Clown Prince of Crime elevates this reluctant partnership to the top of the list.

Well, that's my Top Ten list! There may have been better episodes, but these are the team-ups I like the best. What about you? Feel free to share a comment on your favorite TBATB team-ups!


  1. Vigilante, Enemy Ace, and of course AQUAMAN... this show really has some of John DiMaggio's best work. As for my personal favorite team-ups, one of my favorite episodes was when Green Arrow, Captain Marvel, Plastic Man, and AQUAMAN all pretended to be Batman after a battle with Kanjar Ro injured him.
    PS Gun Guitars are awesome.

    1. Oh, yeah, I forgot that John DiMaggio was Enemy Ace! That guy's got talent.

      As for "Night of the Batmen!", I left both it and the other JLI episodes off of the list because I wanted to focus more on the classic two-hero team-ups in the show. Well, except for the honorable mentions, but I decided to make a special exception for the 60's throwback and the Robin uber-team-up.