Today we conclude our look at Superman and related characters in the “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” cartoon and its comic book counterparts. In part one, part two and part three, we looked at Superman references from the first two seasons, the premiere of season three and comic books released during that time. Today we continue on with the rest of season three and the final issues of the comic book, plus examine a few other appearances from throughout the show and comics’ runs of interest to Superman fans.
Despite the almost exhaustive list of Superman-related references to this point, particularly in “Battle of the Superheroes!,” the season three premiere, they were not yet done. More followed in the episodes and comics to come starting just a few episodes later with “Night of the Batmen!” which was written by Paul Giacoppo and directed by Ben Jones.
In the episode, Martian Manhunter mentions an unchronicled adventure when he infiltrated the Legion of Doom and specifically names Luthor as being among their ranks.
The episode also features a sly Superman movie reference when Captain Marvel, disguised as Batman, punches Killer Croc down the street. Blockbuster and Bane stare confused, thinking he actually is Batman. In reply, Captain Marvel says, “Been… uh… working out,” while making a “pumping iron” gesture with his arms similar to Clark Kent in the diner at the end of “Superman II.”
The teaser portion of the episode also contains a brief glimpse at a pair of street signs for Weisinger and Meskin Sts., in reference to Mort Weisinger and Mort Meskin.
While Weisinger was editor of the Superman family titles for more than 20 years during the Silver Age, the signs were in reference to his and Meskin’s creation of the Vigilante, who was the teaser’s guest star, rather than Weisinger’s Superman work. The Vigilante was a co-feature with Superman, however, in the pages of ACTION COMICS for 13 years, beginning with issue #42 in 1941.
Superman — in a fashion — made another return in “Shadows and Light,” written by Sholly Fisch with art by Rick Burchett and Dan Davis, from ALL-NEW BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #7. The teaser portion of the story saw the entire Justice League, Superman included, transformed into infants.
This, of course, echoes not only the Super Jrs. and the infamous Superbaby stories, but similar events from comics past where Superman was transformed into a baby, such as “The Babe of Steel!” from ACTION COMICS #284 and “The Five Legion Orphans!” from ADVENTURE COMICS #356, as well as “Uncle Mxyzptlk,” an episode of “Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show.”
The one responsible for the League’s transformation was the Time Trapper, a second vague Legion of Super-Heroes reference. The Legion is not mentioned, of course, but the Time Trapper is historically considered among their most formidable adversaries.
While not responsible for any of echoed transformations of Superman, the Time Trapper did cause a similar plague to befall the several members of the Legion of Super-Heroes in “The Menace of the Sinister Super-Babies!” from ADVENTURE COMICS #338. Superboy was not affected in that story, however.
ALL-NEW BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD presented “3:10 to Thanagar,” written by Sholly Fisch with art by Rick Burchett and Dan Davis. The story featured the first and only appearance in “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” canon of Supergirl.
Her appearance is only a one-page cameo. So, unfortunately, we are given no information as to her relationship with Superman. However, she appears to be wearing a costume like that of the original post-Crisis Supergirl (Matrix) .
The following issue, ALL-NEW BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #10, was “Help Wanted,” written by Sholly Fisch with art by Rick Burchett and Dan Davis. It was the sad story of man named Joe: henchman for hire. Thrown under the bus by a tanking economy, Joe scoured Metropolis for work with no luck, leaving him no option but to go to work as a henchman for the Toyman.
The character is still only called “Toyman” in the issue and, unfortunately, in this, his third appearance, the visual model for the character is different yet again. The character appears on the cover as well, with art by Rick Burchett and Dan Davis, bringing us a fourth model for the character.
Though to be fair, the cover and interior line art is pretty similar. The biggest difference is the hair color.
Thankfully, Superman, who also makes another appearance this issue (back to his adult age, thankfully), looks as close to the animated series counterpart as we have seen.
Though, again, he appears to be missing the S-shield on his cape, strangely.
In addition to Metropolis, Superman and Toyman, Green Kryptonite is once again used in the story.
The story’s dialogue and art also demonstrate that kryptonite radiation be blocked by lead, which was shown but not explicitly stated in “Battle of the Superheroes!”
While certainly not the last Superman-related reference (or even appearance) on the show or in the comic, the last epic hoorah came in the eighth episode of season three, and the 60th episode overall, with “Triumvirate of Terror!,” written by Paul Giacoppo and directed by Michael Goguen.
It began in the teaser portion, which found the Justice League, including Superman, squaring off against the Legion of Doom, including Lex Luthor, in a game of good ol’-fashioned American baseball! It was a throwback to classic tales like “The Great Super-Star Game” from DC SUPER STARS #10 as well as the covers to WORLD’S FINEST COMICS #3 by Fred Ray and WORLD’S FINEST COMICS #15 by Jack Burnley.
Roger Rose and Kevin Michael Richardson reprised their roles as Superman and Lex Luthor, respectively. Luthor’s suit in the teaser tips its hat to the legendary “Super Friends” series (not to mention similar outfits worn in other continuities), adding yet another “era” of Luthor to the list of homages, with more to come.
Jimmy Olsen made a return appearance in the teaser, as well, again voiced by Alex Polinsky.
Dialogue in the teaser also gave tips-of-the-hat to former Superman (and Batman) editor Julius Schwartz as well as Frank Miller.
The main portion of the episode brought even more references as the story revolved around Lex Luthor, the Joker and the Cheetah teaming up to take on the “Big Three” of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.
Like in the teaser, Roger Rose and Kevin Michael Richardson reprised their roles as Superman and Lex Luthor, respectively. This marks the first pairing of DC’s Trinity in the animated show, though all had appeared in the main story from ALL-NEW BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #4.
While he again donned the “Super Friends”-esque gear from the teaser for a portion of it, for the majority of the episode, paying homage to yet another era of the character’s history, Luthor was clad in a suit of battle armor.
The suit was powered by a “perpetual energy source,” giving Luthor enough strength and protection to “counter any degree of power.” The suit, rather than being of Luthor’s own invention, was ostensibly stolen from S.T.A.R. Laboratories. (For more on S.T.A.R. Labs’ use in “Batman: The Brave and the Bold,” see the Lest We Forget addendum at the article’s end.
Green Kryptonite also made another appearance, as Luthor attempted to use it against Superman.
This time, unlike in “Battle of the Superheroes!,” it was specifically shown and stated that lead could block its effects.
Superman took a trip back to the Fortress this episode, as well, giving us another look at Superman’s arctic hideaway — as well as the first actual use of the giant key seen in other appearances as Superman used it to access the Fortress.
Inside the Fortress, we again see the Bottle City of Kandor — though, oddly, again, it is not called as such. Superman refers to it simply as “Kandor City,” saying it is “filled with Kryptonian artifacts.”
On the tour through the Fortress we also saw a new feature not seen in previous visits: towering statues of Superman’s Kryptonian birth parents holding up what is, presumably, a model of Krypton.
Neither of Superman’s Kryptonian parents are named or even referenced in the show’s dialogue — nor are the statues even referred to as being of his parents. But, they look very much like the Silver Age incarnations of Jor-El and Lara.
The episode also included Superman making reference to “his Smallville days” and the first mention and use of his vulnerability to magic. Clark Kent also performed the classic shirt rip, before ducking into a nearby telephone booth to finish the change before taking flight as Superman.
Other staples of the Superman mythology that were previously seen in “Battle of the Superheroes!” received brief cameo appearances, including the Daily Planet building and non-speaking appearances by Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Perry White.
An epilogue also gave us a look at our heroes 50 years into the future. Unlike “The Knights of Tomorrow!” which was merely a “possible” future tale as written by Alfred Pennyworth, this epilogue scene is one of the only — if not the only — scene in “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” canon giving a look at their real future. Certainly, it is the only one giving us a look at the future of Superman himself.
The visual depiction of the three seems to be a clear homage to the epilogue of KINGDOM COME, written by Mark Waid with art by Alex Ross. The greying hair of both Clark and Diana and Diana’s outfit are clearly similar to that classic storyline. Moreover, Bruce’s steel-frame supports are like those seen there, and his wheelchair later morphed into Bat-themed armor nearly identical to that worn by Bruce in KINGDOM COME.
The 62nd episode of the series and 10th of season three was “Powerless!,” written by Greg Weisman, Todd Casey and Kevin Hopps and directed by Michael Goguen. It presented a music number by Aquaman (again, don’t ask) titled “Aquaman’s Rousing Song of Heroism!” that referenced Superman — or “a superman,” as it were — in the refrain.
Who are you?
Just a man or a superman?
The man we turn to for the plan
Who are you?
Just a man or a superman?
The man we need to take a stand
The animation from during the song also gave direct nods to Superman, including showing Aquaman in a Superman costume soaring over the city.
The montage also showed Aquaman “dressed” as other heroes including Plastic Man, the Atom and Black Canary (yes, Black Canary). Aside from a line about “super-breath” (“Super-breath can come in fire, frost or just plain bad”), however, didn’t contain any further references to the Man of Steel.
In “Trick or Treat,” written by Sholly Fisch with art by Ethen Beavers, from ALL-NEW BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #12, Batman made a trip to Metropolis to encounter once more the impish Mr. Mxyzptlk.
Mxy, perhaps surprisingly at this point, given the variances we’ve seen in the models for characters in the comics compared to the television version, looks pretty much the same as his appearance in “Battle of the Superheroes!” An editor’s footnote gives us a slightly different take on the pronunciation of his name, however.
A silhouetted Daily Planet globe in the background and a name-check of Superman are also featured in the story. With a snap of his fingers, Mxy sent Batman back to Gotham and disappeared soon after.
Superman was mentioned once more in “Crisis: 22,300 Miles Above Earth!,” the 11th episode of season three, and the 63rd episode overall, by Starman. In the offhand reference, the Golden Age hero merely mentioned he was looking forward to meeting the Man of Steel.
The 12th episode of season three, and the 64th overall, was “Four Star Spectacular!” It was a bit of a different episode in that it was divided into four short segments. Each focused on different character, with Batman only making a minor appearance or cameo.
The fourth segment, “The Creature Commandos in ‘The War That Time Forgot!,’” storyboarded by Adam Van Wyk and directed by Ben Jones, featured the Ultra-Humanite — but a significantly different take on the character than seen in BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #1, or in any comic book or multimedia appearance to date, for that matter.
Voiced by Jeff Bennett, the Ultra-Humanite here is seen as a sentient brain within a jar with robotic legs. As part of a bid to expand the Axis Powers’ bid for dominance during World War II, the Ultra-Humanite mind-controlled the dinosaurs of Dinosaur Island before being thwarted by Batman and the Creature Commandos. At the end of the episode, we was seen being backed into a corner by the dinosaurs he once controlled. No indication was given if this was intended to be the same character previously seen in the comic or not.
The television incarnation of “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” ended its run with “Mitefall!” Written by Paul Dini and directed by Ben Jones, it was the 13th episode of season three, and the 65th episode overall. The episode ended with a “cast party” held in Batman’s honor, with many of the characters who had appeared in episodes over the three seasons in attendance. Included in these non-speaking cameo appearances were Superman, Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane, Krypto, Metallo and Lex Luthor.
And with that apt ending, the animated version of “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” wrapped, as did Superman’s involvement in it. The comics weren’t quite finished with the Man of Steel, however.
BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD (Vol. 2) #14 — renamed from ALL-NEW BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD, but retaining its numbering — featured a holiday tale, “Small Miracles,” written by Sholly Fisch with art by Rick Burchett and Dan Davis. In it, Superman was given one last tip-of-the hat as he was mentioned by Ragman as being an example of a “real superhero.”
The final issue of the series, BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD (Vol. 2) #16. In “Love at First Mite,” written by Sholly Fisch with art by Rick Burchett and Dan Davis, gave another nod to comic book covers past as Batgirl, with a little help from Bat-Mite, briefly became “Lex Luthor’s gun moll!”
The scene is a recreation of an inset panel from the cover to SUPERMAN’S GIRL FRIEND, LOIS LANE #68 by Kurt Schaffenberger. (That comic reprinted a story, “Lois Lane, Gun-Moll!,” originally from SUPERMAN’S GIRL FRIEND, LOIS LANE #28.)
Later, Bat-Mite went digging into his comic book collection and retrieved what appears to be a copy of SUPERMAN’S GIRL FRIEND, LOIS LANE #37.
There are slight differences, but the the cover to Bat-Mite’s comic seems to pay clear homage to that issue’s cover by Kurt Schaffenberger.
Also making a cameo this issue, and his first appearance in “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” canon, was the Reptile of Steel himself, Super-Turtle!
No information is given about him, other than that Bat-Mite would like to see a team-up between Super-Turtle and Batman (which, I’ve got to agree, would be pretty awesome sauce).
An early scene in this issue also paid homage to a splash page from BATMAN #1 which, while it didn’t feature Superman, did display an early Batman title logo clearly based on the Superman title logo that had been used since Superman’s first appearance in ACTION COMICS #1. (On Legends of the Batman, we have “lovingly” dubbed this the Superbat logo.)
And, with that, the comic book incarnation of “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” also came to close, as did any involvement of Superman and his cast of characters.
While a majority of characters featured in “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” episodes and issues were adapted from comic books, they did introduce a handful of original characters. One original character introduced seems to be a clear nod to the Superman universe.
“Invasion of the Secret Santas!,” written by Adam Beechen and directed by Brandon Vietti, the fifth episode of the show, though only the fourth to air, introduced the villain known as Fun Haus, voiced by Gary Anthony Williams.
In the episode, Fun Haus attacked the city with toy spaceships and, later, infiltrated homes with Presto Playpal action figures that soon turned on their owners. He also used a variety of toy-themed bombs and weaponry, much like the Toyman.
The character’s visual appearance, motif and gimmick seem clearly inspired by the multiple incarnations of the Toyman, particularly the Bronze Age Jack Nimball version who first appeared in ACTION COMICS #432 and the Winslow Schott Jr. version from “Superman: The Animated Series.”
Show-runners seemingly made no comments to indicate whether it was an intentional homage or mere coincidence, however. And, as mentioned earlier, both the Winslow Schott and Hiro Okamura versions of the Toyman made appearances in “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” stories (though Fun Haus’s first appearance preceded any Toyman appearance).
Fun Haus later had a non-speaking, cameo appearances in “Night of the Huntress!,” “Mayhem of the Music Meister!” and “Night of the Batmen!” He also appeared as a hologram in “Sidekicks Assemble!” He never appeared in the comics in any capacity.
The Scientific and Technological Advanced Research Laboratories, or S.T.A.R. Labs, is a research facility first introduced in “Danger — Monster at Work” by Len Wein from SUPERMAN #246. While it initially appeared in a Superman story, use of the facility, particularly in post-Crisis on Infinite Earths facilities, have made it so use of it can hardly be seen as an explicit Superman reference.
However, because of its roots in the Superman comics, it is only fitting that appearances and use of S.T.A.R. Labs in “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” be chronicled here, as well.
The facility was first referenced in “Invasion of the Secret Santas” when hazmat employees were seen loading remnants of the Red Tornado into a S.T.A.R. Labs truck.
The location of the facility of origin of the truck is not specified. However, the scene took place in Gotham.
The 18th episode of the cartoon, “The Color of Revenge!,” written by Todd Casey and directed by Michael Chang, introduced S.T.A.R. Labs facility in Blüdhaven.
A S.T.A.R. Labs facility was also seen in “Sidekicks Assemble!”
The location of this facility was not specified. However, it appears to have been the same one seen in Blüdhaven. However, this might not have necessarily been the case, as seen later.
The S.T.A.R. Labs facility in Star City was introduced in “The Siege of Starro! Part One.” This episode, the 13th of season two and the 39th overall, was written by Joseph Kuhr and directed by Ben Jones
Batman and associated used the facility to study remnants of Starro the Star Conqueror.
The S.T.A.R. Labs facility in Hub City was seen in “Menace of the Madnicks!,” written by Jim Krieg and directed by Michael Goguen.
Note the oddity that the Hub City facility looks identical to the one in Blüdhaven and the one of the unspecified location. The buildings in the background are identical, as well, despite at least two different locations being shown.
The S.T.A.R. Labs facility in Gotham was finally seen in “Joker: The Vile and the Villainous!,” 53rd episode overall and the first episode of season three, but the second to air.
The episode was written by Jim Krieg and directed by Ben Jones.
A S.T.A.R. Labs truck was also seen in the teaser portion of “Darkseid Descending!,” the 24th episode of season two and the 54th episode overall, as officials took Killer Frost into custody.
The episode, which was written by Paul Giacoppo and directed by Michael Goguen, did not specify the truck’s facility of origin or the city in which the scene took place.
And finally, as mentioned earlier, the Metropolis S.T.A.R. Labs facility appeared in “Triumvirate of Terror!”
This marks the first and only appearance of the Metropolis S.T.A.R. Labs in “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” canon.
While only peripherally related to Superman by way of their shared parentage, three other characters with a connection to Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel also made their way into the “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” universe.
The Spectre, voiced by Mark Hamill, first appeared in “Chill of the Night!,” written by Paul Dini and directed by Michael Chang.
In the episode, the Spectre tries to tempt Batman into seeking vengeance against the man who killed his parents. Unsuccessful, the Spectre ultimately orchestrates events himself so the killer dies.
Again voiced by Mark Hammill, the Spectre then appeared in the teaser portion of “Gorillas in Our Midst!” The episode, written by Todd Casey and directed by Michael Goguen, found the Spectre teaming with Batman to defeat Professor Milo.
The Spectre had cameo appearances in issues of the comic book incarnation in “The Bride and the Bold” from ALL-NEW BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #4 and “Trick or Treat” from ALL-NEW BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #12. He also had non-speaking appearances in “Crisis: 22,300 Miles Above Earth!” and “Mitefall!”
Unfortunately, none of the appearances give indication as to who is host of the Spectre, though his visual appearance most closely resembles that of the original Spectre, Jim Corrigan, who was created by Jerry Siegel with artist Bernard Bailey.
Like Superman, the Spectre was also given a nod in montage during “Aquaman’s Rousing Song of Heroism!” in the episode “Powerless!,” with Aquaman appearing “dressed” as him. The lyrics do not specifically reference the Spectre or any of his abilities, however.
The Spectre also received a figure as part of the “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” McDonalds Happy Meal toy line. Neither Superman or any other Superman-related characters were released as part of the line.
Oddly, while the character’s gloves and boots were factored into the toy’s mold, they were not painted as his cloak and trunks were. The figure was part of the eighth and final set from the line, and came with a Gentleman Ghost figure and Haunted Coach vehicle. It does not have any moving parts or special actions.
Also worth mentioning is Stargirl who, voiced by Hope Levy, appears in the teaser portion of “Cry Freedom Fighters!,” written by Thomas Pugsley and Steven Melching and directed by Ben Jones.
While the character of Stargirl was not created by Jerry Siegel or Joe Shuster, in then-current DC Universe continuity, she is Courtney Whitmore. She originally went by the name Star-Spangled Kid and bore the mantle of the original Star-Spangled Kid, Sylvester Pemberton. She is also the step-daughter of the original Kid’s adult sidekick, Pat Dugan, a.k.a. Stripesy. Both the original Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy, Pemberton and Dugan, were created by Jerry Siegel and artist Hal Sherman.
In the episode, she teams with the Blue Beetle to combat Mantis. She is called Stargirl in the credits, though not in the episode itself. Neither Pemberton or Dugan are mentioned or even alluded to in the episode, unfortunately.
And finally, there is Doctor Occult who, like Superman, was co-created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. He appeared in teaser portion of “The Tale of the Catman!,” written by Landry Walker with art by Eric Jones, from BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #9, where he and Batman team up, along with Doctor Fate, Sargon the Sorcerer, Mento and Zatanna, to battle the Void.
The character is not named in the text, but is seen wearing a trenchcoat and fedora and wielding the Symbol of Seven.
Doctor Occult is one of the first published creations from Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, having appeared along with Henri Duval in NEW FUN #6 in 1935. While as of this writing Doctor Occult has yet to be seen in the “New 52″ continuity titles, prior to the relaunch (and at the time of the comic’s publication), he was the oldest character still in use in DC’s shared universe. This makes his inclusion, along with the multiple references to Superman and his family of characters, a fitting tribute not only to Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster and Superman — but to DC Comics history as a whole.
“Batman: The Brave and the Bold” may always be remembered as Batman’s show, and rightly so. However, it should not be forgotten that no small part in the show was played by comics’ foremost hero himself, Superman, and the wellspring of characters and concepts that came from his stories and creators.