The “Justice League” animated series has seven founding members. We all know the top three – Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. Then there are Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern and Hawkgirl. While the others have had featured story-lines in the animated series, the Flash has rarely been central. However, the DVD “Justice League: The Brave and the Bold” places Flash alongside Green Lantern in the first two-part of this disc release.
Much to the satisfaction of his most hardcore fans, Flash is as brazen and rash as ever. Coupled with his speed and charming personality, he acts first and never bothers to ask questions. In this feature, it’s Green Lantern who asks the questions and with Solovar, they attempt to stop Gorilla Grodd from destroying Central City. It’s Grod’s first stop on the road to world domination.
The two-part episodes are more light-hearted than the usual fare. When Grod lays down why the human race needs to be dominated, Flash, with his usual sophisticated and diplomatic air, begins to insult him. As Green Lantern gently reminds Flash of their precarious situation (Grod has the entire Central City under mind control), he leans over and says “Don’t heckle the super villain.”
This is the type of banter that made the series run so enjoyable. Towards the end of the second episode, we are also reminded that before Wally West became the Flash, he was a scientist.
It is rare that a well-plotted storyline is in an animated series, but that is what made the “Justice League” series so unique. The Flash goes from being a wisecracking bit player to a likeable key player and saving the world.
The second two-part episode on the disc features all seven of the Justice League members. It involves Lex Luthor in another attempt to take over the world, by first bringing together his own villain gallery in “Injustice for All.” It seems that the kryptonite Luthor threatened Superman with has turned against him and has given him an incurable deadly disease – so begins this action packed episode.
Luthor’s team matches the Justice League strength for strength; and the witty banter that’s missing from cartoons today also shows that animation is just another visual form of telling a well done story.
It also reveals the dynamics of the Justice League. West is the butt of everyone’s jokes as usual, Superman is his usual “super” self and the remaining team act accordingly. There is also an homage to the precursor to this series, “Super Friends,” that as a viewer of that series one finds hysterical.
However, being the only human with no “super powers” on the team leaves Batman vulnerable. In this case, his pride gets in the way and causes him to be captured in the first episode. There is a message here – the ultimate loner needs a team. Once the Joker gets involved, Batman is captured and is stripped of his utility belt. His intellect buys him time, but this show is called “Justice League,” not “Batman.” Of course, in the end, we see how every member of the team has an integral part to play. As a team, the league predictably foils Luthor’s plan and gets to scheme another day.
The extras on this DVD also make purchasing it worthwhile. The behind the scenes of the “The Brave and the Bold” reveals the buddy movie motif and how effective a straight man Green Lantern is to the Flash. There is also a behind the scenes look at the storyboard and how the show is created. A plethora of trailers for other WB shows, such as “The Batman,” “Codename Kids Next Door” and volume one of “Teen Titans” also appear.
It is also a nice look into the inside jokes of the production team, which gives insight that the viewer is not privy to when watching the reruns on Boomerang. Perhaps the-powers-that-be will bring yet another reincarnation of these characters to the small screen. With the sales of “Justice League: The Brave and the Bold” still going strong five years later, we see that there is a void that needs this type of cartoon again.