Writer: Mark Waid
Artists: George Pérez, Bob Wiacek
Publisher: DC Comics
I must admit that I was somewhat leery when DC announced that they would be reopening the Brave and the Bold series of team-up books. I really didn't know what to expect, and after crisis after crisis, I could not even imagine what this book would feel like.
After two issues I think I can say this: This is currently my favourite book hitting stands.
This year, the highlight of my reading month has been Metzler's Justice League of America run, but after reading this second issue of The Brave and the Bold, I am so hooked that I have added it to my monthly pull list, and I am actually eagerly awaiting issue #3, something that very few comics do these days. Lately, I just read them and throw them on a pile until they show up again next month. With this book I want to go in every week and ask, "Is it here yet?"
Now to the reasons I like this book so much. First are the characterizations. The first issue presented an enigmatic Batman who was a brilliant detective making the odd dry quip with Green Lantern. It then presented some great scenes with Bruce Wayne and Hal Jordan, who were distinctly different from their alter egos. This issue treats the readers to a few panels of Batman interacting with a young Blue Beetle*. These few scenes nailed two really great characterizations, of the inexperienced kid without much of a clue as to how to really be a hero, and the mentor Batman, who while not perfect, seems to be able to interact in stride with the inexperienced member.
Most of this issue though deals with Green Lantern and Supergirl. These scenes are so pricelessly fun. Supergirl is depicted similar to how she was depicted by Johns in her JSA appearance before the crisis**; she is a fun loving kid who is trying to find her way in the world, but most importantly she is a kid. She isn't Wonder Woman with years of experience. She is a 17 year old impressionable girl who probably would be more at home with a group like the Teen Titans. Hal Jordan, meanwhile, is characterized as being the responsible 30 something who is trying to do his job while ignoring the temptations provided by a crushing 17 year old. Now, this in itself sounds a little strange, but this is a characterization I like a lot. Green Lantern Showcase Volume 1 presents Hal as having no clue what to do with relationships, or women in general. Whereas Superman deftly handles Lois Lane in Metropolis, Green Lantern creates a rampaging green monster to destroy Coast City just so he doesn't have to talk to Carol. The poor guy just isn't very good with women who crush on him, and I kind of like that being reintroduced as it puts him separate from his counterpart, Green Arrow. When he isn't in the pilot seat, he doesn't know how to fly.
On to the story: the story I find almost silver age hokey, which is so much fun in comparison to the doom and gloom that has been prevalent in the DCU. A guy has stolen a book that tells him everything that has, can and will ever happen. He does what anyone would do: he tries to make money with it on a casino planet! There seem to be some catches and quid pro quos attached to this book, and hopefully we'll find out soon what those are and how the book can re-write itself. GL and Supergirl have to catch him, all the while avoiding the authorities themselves. One particularly wonderful moment occurs when Supergirl devises a plan to sniff out the "perp," which I really do not want to spoil here. I have to give props to anyone who can put Supergirl in a pink tutu and pig-tails and actually have it make sense to the story.
The art is simply gorgeous, with every panel being elaborately drawn, exactly the way you would expect a casino planet to look. Beings of all sorts everywhere, bright lights, bright colours and shiny objects. I think George Perez and Bob Wiacek are really outdoing themselves on these books, and they are so good that they make someone like me who can usually ignore the art, reflect on how bad some of the other series are out there on the shelves. I think that Perez's cover in particular was goregous.
I have only a few quibbles here and there that prevent the perfect rating. Where does Hal get the Venturian outfit from, and where does Supergirl get a pink tutu? (Admittedly, I can suspend disbelief to a point on these.) Why after making a big deal about secret identities a few minutes earlier does Hal not have a mask on in said uniform? (This has to do with him not being able to use the ring on Ventura, but it was still an odd choice to have the conversation in the first place.) Finally, the story with the weasel who lost all of his money was a little strange, and his connections to take Hal off world seemed a bit convenient.
I'm excited about next month's issue where Batman and Blue Beetle will take on the Emerald Empress et al., and then one month after that we get... sigh... it looks like Lobo. Well, you can't win them all.
*Chris will now avoid the trap of ranting again about how Ted Kord
never deserved what he got in the DCU.
** The second one ... or was that the third?
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