Batman: The Brave and the Bold
Season 1, Episode 25, “Mayhem of the Music Meister,” 2009
Brave and the Bold went out of its way not to be Batman the Animated Series, to its credit. Where BTAS was a noirish, post-Year One take on Bruce Wayne and his classic rogues, BATB was a paean to the Silver Age that was at its best when it sought to be the most ridiculous. Basic Bat villains and Superman team-ups were saved for much later in the show. You want the Justice League? Here’s the JLI! You want the Joker? Instead of bringing Mark Hammill out of retirement yet again, here’s a super-old-school, Jerry Robinson-inspired Joker who’s more white-faced gangster than Clown Prince of Crime.
Oh, and all respect to Peter David aside, John DiMaggio’s Aquaman is the definitive Aquaman, and I will fight you if you disagree.
“Mayhem of the Music Meister” is peak Brave and the Bold: an all-singing, all-dancing musical episode in which the villain is voiced by Neil Patrick Harris, because if anyone is charismatic enough to mind-control the world through song, it’s NPH.
MM starts by lyrically enslaving BATB regulars Green Arrow, Aquaman, Black Canary, Gorilla Grodd, Black Manta, and Clock King and making them sing and dance and steal a communications satellite that can enhance his powers. Soon, the Meister has all of Gotham under his control, and only Black Canary’s high-frequency wail can break the spell.
An 8-song soundtrack based on the episode was released, including the ballad “If Only,” about Canary’s unrequited love for the Caped Crusader, and the up-tempo, anti-Batman “Drives Us Bats.” Treat yo’self and download it.