Batman: The Brave and the Bold wraps up its run on Friday evening with a terrific send-off, a comic-book fan’s delight: a wittily self-conscious half-hour that finds Bat-Mite trying to get The Brave and the Bold cancelled by turning it into an awful show, to make way for what he really wants — “a darker Batman series!” The fact that that sentiment comes from the voice of Paul Reubens as Bat-Mite only makes it more satirical.
As written by Paul Dini, responsible for so much of the first-rate Superman/Batman cartoon series in recent years, this final episode, “Mitefall!,” is jam-packed with comics mythology and in-jokes. The episode begins with Batman saving Abraham Lincoln from assassination by a John Wilkes Booth-turned-cyborg. (Turns out this is the “President Lincoln of Parallel Universe 5501.”) Watching this episode of The Brave and the Bold-within-The Brave and the Bold is Bat-Mite, who plots to end the series by using his magic powers to make the half-hour howlingly bad, forcing cancellation.
What follows is the deconstruction of what Bat-Mite calls the series — “a love letter to Silver Age comics” — and the series’ potential rescue by Ambush Bug. I don’t want to give away all the jokes, but we are shown quick, clever glimpses of a real old cover of Detective Comics, a scene in which Batman literally jumps the shark, and Aquaman’s voice actor, John DiMaggio, is replaced by Ted McGinley. Oh, and a curvy CGI Batgirl as only Paul Dini could create her (with help from episode director Ben Jones).
With its blocky animation and clever team-ups, TBATB has always been an amusing show for both kids and adults. Friday night’s send-off is a hoot, a gas, a trip. Don’t miss it.