Batman: The Brave & The Bold #2
Writers: Tom King, Ed Brisson, Christopher Cantwell, Joëlle Jones
Artists: Mitch Gerads, Jeff Spokes, Javier Rodríguez, Joëlle Jones
Color Artists: Mitch Gerads, Jeff Spokes, Javier Rodríguez
Letterers: Clayton Cowles, Saida Temofonte, Simon Bowland, Steve Wands
Review by Davydh Tidey
Batman: The Brave & The Bold #2 is here, bringing the second parts of last issue’s gripping stories, as well as another black and white standalone story.
Is the Joker still dangerous?! Are the new Stormwatch still arguing?! Has Superman’s new journalistic career reached new heights?!
Read on to find out!
Your father, too, he liked to fish.”
As a rule, The Joker generally needs no introduction. We all know who he is, we all know what he can do, and we all know the depraved acts he’s capable of.
Well, this story finally gives readers Batman’s introduction to him…
Where the first part of this story gave us the origin of the Joker’s myth, part two gives us the introduction to the man. Tom King and Mitch Gerads retell the first meeting of the Dark Knight and the Clown Prince of Crime, complete with underestimation, overconfidence and bravado. Get ready for a ride.
King delivers yet again here, in his classic many-parts-make-a-whole style. This story could easily be read on it’s own as a stand-alone short, but works so much better with it’s previous part adding context. The vignette method of writing in anthology books really lends itself way to King’s style of writing, and is the perfect format for this bleak take on classic Batman.
Gerads, as always, delivers a feast for the eyes. I praised his colors in my last review, but they’ve only gotten better here. In some panels, a hazy effect is used on the art, giving the feel of a distant memory, or a fading consciousness, extremely effectively.
Give me more!
One drink isn’t going to hurt.”
The new Stormwatch team continues to bicker and argue, while still sizing each other up for weaknesses and strengths. With such a wide cast of misfit characters, it’s no surprise that there are disagreements and secrets, and it only adds to the mystery and intrigue. What game is Bones playing with the team? Why are they being called into situations that are well beyond their level of expertise? Why are they being asked to do things that go well beyond the purview of their mission?
Ed Brisson brings some of that Batman Incorporated magic to Stormwatch, and the issue in general. He continues to show how capable he is at handling a roster of characters, making each one distinct and unique. Many team books fall into the trap of having multiple characters speaking with one voice, but Stormwatch has so far managed to avoid that. The character interaction scenes are my favourite parts of the story, building the individual personalities wonderfully.
I’m becoming a big Jeff Spokes fan. Every piece of work I see from him feels better than the last, and he’s perfectly suited for this type of book. His colors work really well for the tone of the artwork as well, giving a clear feeling to the danger around them, not getting muddled or lost in action.
We ALL have our limitations.”
Superman as a journalist?! Preposterous! Yet, there are some stories Clark Kent cannot chase that Superman can, so… why not?
Christopher Cantwell and Javier Rodríguez continue their journey into a classic-feeling Superman story, giving Batman: The Brave & The Bold #2 the dash of levity it needs. The Man of Steel takes his Order of the Black Lamp decoder ring to the marked location on it’s accompanying map, and what he finds is unbelievable. This definitely looks like a job for Superman!
Christopher Cantwell writing the entire story in the form of notes taken by Superman for Clark’s story was an inspired choice, and leans heavily into the adventure-book feel of the tale. We see the hero’s actions being narrated in real time, giving only the cliff notes and leaving the fancy writing to Clark Kent, which works wonderfully for the dynamic between the art and the words.
This approach to the writing also takes a back step to the art, and allows Javier Rodríguez’s visuals to shine through, and shine they do! I’ve always been a massive fan of his art, whether it be the trippy, supernatural style of Al Ewing’s Defenders or the traditional super heroics of Dennis Hopeless’ Spider-Woman, but this story has been something very special. Evoking all sorts of nostalgia for the comics of yesteryear. Rodríguez delivers a book full of surprise and wonder, along with Superman’s complete raison d’etre… hope.
Sure to leave a scar, though.”
Bringing the book to a close, we have Joëlle Jones’ semi-silent tale, “Scars”.
Detailing all of Batman’s defining moments in nine glorious monochrome pages, showing all of Batman’s scars through her art, Jones lays it all out for the reader to see. His highs, his lows, his family and friends, everything. All the scars Batman carries, mentally and physically. It’s a beautiful, tragic, masterpiece of work.
Joëlle Jones has always been a creator I look out for on the shelves (Wonder Girl is a personal favourite), and stories like this perfectly demonstrate why.
Batman: The Brave & The Bold #2 has everything I want from DC Comics has a whole. Good Batman content, obscure characters being given the spotlight, a writer understanding Superman and the tone the character fits best with; this title has it all.
Issue #2 is another fantastic instalment in this anthology series, and a good reminder as to why people should be reading DC Comics right now. Fresh, new ideas are being encouraged, and you don’t want to miss out on that.
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment