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REVIEW: Firestorm in Batman The Brave and the Bold

Firestorm on Batman: The Brave and the Bold

Over a year ago it was announced that Firestorm would appear on the Batman: The Brave and the Bold cartoon.  This past Friday, the Nuclear Man finally graced our screens in his first animated appearance in nearly 25 years.  Was it worth the wait?  That really depends upon your perspective.

The episode teaser featured Booster Gold and Batman at the mercy of the Riddler.  After some wacky hijinks, they dispatched the Riddler and his goons.  In the episode proper, we’re introduced to high school coach Ronnie Raymond and science whiz kid Jason Rusch on a school field trip touring a nuclear testing facility.  Unbeknown to the students, the supervillain Dr. Double X was attempting to cause a nuclear accident in order to super-charge his powers.  Batman arrived to stop Dr. Double X and all heck broke loose.  A massive nuclear explosion triggered the fusion of Rusch and Raymond into one being, while Batman was fissioned into three separate beings.  Rusch and Raymond found themselves sharing a nuclear-charged body, but had to figure out a way to work together.  Rusch controlled the body, while Raymond could advise as a voice only Rusch could hear. The bulk of the episode explored the combination of Rusch and Raymond, while the three different Batman personalities were for laughs (logical Batman, violent Batman, and slacker Batman).  In the end Dr. Double-X was defeated, Batman was reintegrated into one body, and Firestorm came into his own as a superhero.  For a more detailed recap, visit by clicking here.

Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch on Batman: Brave and the Bold

Overall, I enjoyed the episode for what it was – a kids cartoon. Normally I have no problem watching Batman: The Brave and the Bold, but this time my wife (a non-geek) watched it with me. Having her there made me more self-conscious than usual and helped me to realize the target market for this cartoon was probably 10 year old kids. Funny how having her around makes me act more mature. :)  Speaking of 10 year olds, my step-son watched the episode and declared it “AWESOME!”

Firestorm on Batman: The Brave and the Bold

Seeing Firestorm on the small screen was a blast.  Rusch’s interaction with Raymond’s floating head was well done throughout the episode and often funny.  The show creators managed to demonstrate the majority of Firestorm’s powers, including his energy blasts, transmutation of non-organic objects, and flight.  The transmutation was explored during a fun montage, but was also utilized in combat.  The costume, which was provided by Batman to dampen the radiation Firestorm was exuding, was basically Ronnie’s classic costume with Jason’s chest emblem and collar.  I was totally jazzed that the flaming hair looked so great!  The fire was in constant motion (unlike Firestorm’s first season on Super Friends) and there were “Kirby Dots” at the base of the flame.  Loved it!  Interestingly enough Firestorm did quite a bit of punching in this episode,  not something normally associated with the character (outside of the Super Powers action figure).  There were also some funny gags, like suggesting Firestorm adopt the superhero name, “Flame Dude”.

There were a few great Firestorm moments worth mentioning.  Early on we got a quick glimpse of a Professor Martin Stein look-a-like at the nuclear testing facility.  That made me smile.  In another scene, Raymond influenced the body creating havoc on the merged body’s balance as Rusch and Raymond fought to go in different directions.  That’s not something often explored in the comics.  The credits at the end of the show stated, “Firestorm created by Gerry Conway and Al Milgrom”.  I was very happy to see credit given to Gerry and Al.  They deserve it.  Finally, the best Firestorm-related laugh of the show was when slacker Batman referred to Firestorm as, “Our little schizophrenic candlestick.”  LOL!!!

In terms of voice acting, Bill Fagerbakke (Patrick on SpongeBob SquarePants, and Dauber on Coach) was wonderful as the dim-witted version of Ronnie Raymond.  While this isn’t my favorite interpretation of Ronnie, Fagerbakke did a great job given how the character was written.  Tyler James Williams (Chris on Everybody Hates Chris) did a really good job switching between geeky teenager Jason Rusch and more confident Firestorm.  Again, given how these characters were written, I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone that could have done better than these guys.

I enjoyed this version of Firestorm for the purposes of the cartoon, but it also made me realize from a storytelling perspective that Jason doesn’t need Ronnie. If Jason had been more timid, I could see how the more aggressive Ronnie would be of benefit. Since Jason didn’t have any trepidation and already had the science knowledge, I’m not sure what Ronnie brought to the matrix besides fun “buddy movie” interaction. This same logic might apply to the comics too.  Now I’m left wondering what the ideal matrix would be after Blackest Night. Maybe Ronnie in control of the body with Jason as the scientific adviser? That works, but doesn’t seem fair to Jason who has earned his place at the JLA table.

Firestorm on Batman: The Brave and the Bold

While Batman and Firestorm shared equal screen time, my review has focused on Firestorm for obvious reasons.   The episode was fun and I’ll take this version of Firestorm for what it’s worth, but I keep hoping that someday we’ll get a serious animated version of Firestorm more inline with the comics.  I’ll finish with the absolute funniest quote of the show; violent Batman shouting in a rage, “Batman does not eat nachos!”  … Maybe you had to be there.

What did you think of the episode?

Firestorm on Batman: The Brave and the Bold

For further discussion, check out the following sites:

Firestorm on Batman: The Brave and the Bold

My thanks to Tommy over at the Bat-Blog for sending me so many great screen shots and the video clip!

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  1. Ed says:

    I was a little disappointed. Yes, I realize this was a cartoon for kids but it really annoyed me their portrayal of Ronnie. Overall the episode was fun, especially with the three Batmans.

  2. outburst says:

    Yeah, I think some of us are especially protective of the Firestorm mythology. They rebooted his creation story, which I have issues with.
    But it’s still a fun show. My 4-year-old loves it.
    They’ve changed characters before, and I think they’re doing it to keep things simple for the young audience base.
    Characters like Firestorm and Aquaman have such complicated histories that simplifying their back-stories and their personalities makes it less of a headache to follow for the youngens.
    However, it’s not going to help simplify things when I finally hand over my Ronnie Flamehead toys for my boy to play with.

  3. Luke says:

    I liked the episode, as I like pretty much every episode of this series. Definitely fun to see Firestorm kicking around again.

    But like you say, the combination of Ronnie and Jason does not make much sense for a comic book take. On the cartoon you can play Ronnie for laughs, but I don’t know if that is a direction which would work on the character long term in the printed page.

    Is Dr. Double X an old Firestorm baddie? For some reason he reminded me of someone the Hulk would fight more than a DC bad guy, except for his name which is totally DC.

  4. Shag says:

    Doctor Double X is actually a Batman baddie. I vaguely recall him from the 1980s Who’s Who.

  5. James says:

    If you are a fan of BATB, you will remember the Bat-Mite episode and that character’s mini-speech about Batman’s rich history. If not, look it up. This applies to comic characters in general, IMO…and Firestorm is no different. I tend to be accepting in this manner, with exceptions (one needs to look at certain live action versions of characters for said exceptions…)

    And that’s why I accepted this version of Ronnie, Jason, and Flamehead all the same. Just like how I love “outrageous” Aquaman (though in that case, that version has overtaken the other ones in my heart 😉 ;-)) There’s just enough exclusive to the show, and just enough to appeal to us fanboys. Which is fine with me. (and how I see BATB in general…it’s a kids’ show, yes, but they know that comic fans watch too and give us a lot of cool nods to the past and present)

    We’re still waiting for the definitive animated FS, yes (JLU = COLOSSAL MISSED OPPORTUNITY…hopefully they have something for him in the D2V JL movie, which he is in, apparently). But this was a fun episode…I am glad you weren’t resentful that Slacker Batman seemed to steal the show, at least on 4chan, that is 😉

    I maintain that the comic version of FS would have a better Ronnie/Jason interaction. Ronnie isn’t the scientific genius that a Martin was, but he has the experience of being a veteran superhero, which came through the last time the two shared a body (in Jason’s series). As I kind of lost track after that ended, I don’t know if Jason would still need an “experienced” figure standing behind him, though. And what happened to the Jason and Stein pairing anyway?

    A good compromise would be to give the two the ability to switch who’s in control, like what happened in Jason’s book. In the comics, but also for when (if) Firestorm returns on the cartoon.

  6. rob! says:

    I friggin’ love B:BATB–I think it has all the charm of the goofy 1970s superhero comics, and its perfect for getting kids involved in the DCU. I was glad to see Firestorm finally introduced into the B:BATB world.

    And I laughed out loud at the “nachos” line!

  7. James says:

    Here’s an idea: if FS is in another episode, have Ronnie and Jason develop the latter’s “can merge with anyone” power from the comics. Ronnie can somehow get fused with the Professor (if that was indeed him) and then they can introduce Gehanna who gets to be a part of Jason’s FS.

  8. […] control costs, but in this case it seems pretty sparse.  This toy is supposed to be based upon the Batman: The Brave and the Bold animated series incarnation of Firestorm. They couldn’t spare a little red paint for his sleeves, mask and chest emblem?  Or at least […]

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