Mayhem of the Music Meister! | Episode 25

Aired: October 23, 2009
Heroes: Aquaman, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Batman, Plastic Man, Robin, Bronze Tiger, Booster Gold, Atom, OMAC, Outsiders (Katana, Black Lightning, and Metamorpho), Green Lantern (Guy Gardner), Etrigan, Big Barda, Blue Beetle, Deadman, Dr. Fate, Hawk, Dove, Huntress, Mr. Miracle, Question, Red Tornado, Speedy, and Wildcat
Villains: Music Meister, Gorilla Grodd, Clock King, Black Manta, King Tut, Psycho Pirate, Top, Mad Hatter, Crazy Quilt, Calendar Man, Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum, Mr. Zero, Two-Face, Scarecrow, The Joker, False Face, Louie the Lilac, Felix Faust, Kite Man, Babyface, Egghead, Cavalier, Shame, Fun Haus, Sportsmaster, Shark, Archer, Polecat Perkins, Catwoman, Bane, Major Disaster, Catman, Riddler, Brain, Gentleman Ghost, Copperhead, Wotan, Bookworm, Black Widow, Calculator, Dr. Polaris, Terrible Trio (Fox, Shark, and Vulture), Hammer Toes, Killer Moth, Kru'll, Ma Parker, Marsha Queen of Diamonds, Mrs. Manface, Penguin, Polka Dot Man, Punch & Jewelee, Siren, Skeleton Keyes, Solomon Grundy, Zebra Man, Weather Wizard, and Weasel
Objects: Manta Ship, Trick Arrows, Utility Belt, Whirly-Bat, and Batsignal
Places: Earth 23, Gotham City, Arkham Asylum, Iron Heights, Atlantis, and Star City
Written By: Michael Jelenic
Lyrics By: Michael Jelenic and James Tucker
Music By: Michael McCuistion, Lolita Romanis, and Kristopher Carter
Directed By: Ben Jones

Review By Yojimbo

"Mayhem of the Music Meister!" is no holds barred musical that will charm viewers with its over top storyline and commentary on the superhero genre. In this episode, Batman and Black Canary are pitted against Music Meister, who is able to exert powerful mind control through song. When he hijacks a communications satellite, the entire world becomes subject to his musical bidding.

The tale of the Music Meister sort of begins almost 9 years ago, back in October 2000. I awoke to watch my favorite Batman show, Batman Beyond, then well into its third season. I was excited to see what threats Terry McGinnis would face off against this Saturday, a new villain? Kobra? "Out of the Past" was an intriguing title card. I was surprised to see an oddly disproportionate classic Batman singing on stage. Alas, it was Kevin Conroy's voice talent, but then it is revealed to be a Batman musical, McGinnis' treat to Bruce Wayne on his birthday. From that day on, many a fans were left thinking, singing on a superhero show?

Singing episodes have been done before, and more are sure to come in the future. But a superhero show? Fast forward four years to August 28th, 2004. "This Little Piggy," an episode of Justice League Unlimited, airs on Cartoon Network. Amused by the charisma of B'Wana Beast, thrilled to see Gotham City again, Greek mythology up the ying yang, and Batman singing a timeless classic?!

Holy sweet serenades, Batman!

Again, fans were left wondering if a full on musical was inevitable. That idea continued to percolate in the mind of James Tucker, producer and designer on Justice League. As he weaved Silver and Bronze Age tales about Legion of Superheroes, Tucker and editor Michael Jelenic began brainstorming a take on "West Side Story"; but the series ended before the story could be realized. Now, on Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Tucker and Jelenic realized their goal and created an episode with a musical in it, "Mayhem of the Music Meister!".

Afters fans were left reeling from "Legends of the Dark Mite!", the creative team topped themselves yet again with this musical. Drawing on classic superhero motifs from vintage shows, "Mayhem...." sends up a new villain with an old scheme, to upset the status quo and institute his new world order. Voiced by Neil Patrick Harris, the Music Meister took the lead role of the episode and showed us that evil can even start in choir practice. The villain launches his dastardly plan in Act one, sets up a distraction for his getaway, captures the heroes and leaves them in Act 2 with a twisted deathtrap to escape from.

The episode was in good hands with director Ben Jones at the helm. Mr. Jones truly brought the writing to life with the larger-than-life ensemble dancing. The "If Only" scene was remarkable in that as Black Canary sings in real time, Batman fights the killer mob in slow-motion. All of the brief visuals were so over-the-top, they left me laughing at the television screen. Among them, some of my favorites were Black Manta's fishbowl prison, punk rock Act 2 with the montage of superhero and super villain teams plastered in the background, upside down South Pole, and the astronauts.

Black Canary's romantic sub-plot continues over from "Night of the Huntress!" In it, she flirted with Batman and tried to take him out for dinner. However, fans know that Batman will always answer the call for justice before the one for love. In "Mayhem of the Music Meister!", Canary attracts two would-be suitors, Music Meister and Green Arrow. The moments were Meister was himself entranced by Black Canary were subtle and heart-warming, but we quickly remember, he's a bad guy! And add that to Black Canary's historical reputation as one-half of one of DC Comics' greatest power couples (we all know she would wind up with Green Arrow at the end).

For those open to any interpretation of the Batman mythos, Batman: The Brave and The Bold will continue to reward your viewership with "Mayhem of the Music Meister!" but for those looking for a change of pace and tone, tune in for the final two episodes of the season, coming soon to a television set near you.

Composed and Produced By: Michael McCuistion, Lolita Romanis, and Kristopher Carter

Lyrics By: Michael Jelenic and James Tucker

Label: New Line Records

Release Date: 10/24/2009

Price: $7.98 (Amazon) / $6.98 (iTunes)

New Line Records has released the soundtrack to "Mayhem of the Music Meister!" exclusively on iTunes and select digital outlets, such as Amazon. The soundtrack features all seven songs from the episode and in addition, the Brave and the Bold theme.

The songs feature guest star, Neil Patrick Harris as the Music Meister accompanied by the main cast: Grey DeLisle, John DiMaggio, Kevin Michael Richardson, Dee Bradley Baker, James Arnold Taylor, Tom Kenny, Jeff Bennett, and Diedrich Bader.

Composers Michael McCuistion, Lolita Romanis, and Kristopher Carter (better known as the collective Dynamic Music Partners, vanguard of the late great Shirley Walker) bring lyrics to life and create an atmosphere akin to a Broadway production.

Violins, violas, celli, woodwinds, trumpets, horns, trombones, and even guitars in the background convey the tone and emotion of the song as the cast belts out amazing performance after amazing performance.

The soundtrack also accomplishes tying into the overall mandate of The Brave and The Bold to tap into every version of Batman, from the 60's Adam West days to even a little Batman Beyond, 20's crime jazz, or a even punk rock guitar riff. The "Mayhem of the Music Meister!" soundtrack is for the fan who wants the full experience of the months of hype and viral streaming. On its own, the soundtrack is a fun romp for children to listen to or an afternoon of easy listening. The soundtrack appeals to all audiences and will be an instant classic.

1. Batman: The Brave and The Bold Theme; 0:32

2. I'm The Music Meister; 5:53

3. Drives Us Bats; 1:45

4. If Only; 2:34

5. Death Trap; 1:48

6. The World Is Mine; 3:33

7. If Only (Reprise); 2:02

8. Drives Us Bats (Mayhem of the Music Meister End Credits); 0:30

Special thanks to New Line Records and Cinemedia Promotions.