Review: Batman: The Brave & The Bold #12

Batman: The Brave & The Bold #12
Writers: Karl Kerschl, Rob Levin, Delilah S. Dawson, Zipporah Smith, Herik Hanna
Artists: Karl Kerschl, Mike Norton, Serg Acuña, Karl Mostert, Charlie Adlard
Color Artists: Msassyk, John Kalisz, Matt Herms, Mike Spicer
Letterers: Steve Wands, Troy Peteri, Dave Sharpe, Tom Napolitano
Review by Davydh Tidey

Batman: The Brave & The Bold #12 goes out of its way to highlight some lesser-known characters (a common theme in this series), and does so in style. False Face, the Gentleman Ghost, Artemis, and Swamp Thing are the headliners here… there’s no Bat in sight! 

Robin

There are six Robins now? Yes, Maps officially takes on the Robin title here, and I loved seeing it. The conclusion to Batman: Mother’s Day is here, and all the Gotham Academy fans out there are sure to be satisfied by the ending. As a big fan of mythology and ancient history, the reveal makes me very, very happy. 

Karl Kerschl and Msassyk deliver a pulse-pounding finale, with an excellent setup of more to come! Kerschl really knows how to draw a terrifying mythological beast, I’ll give him that. Msassyk makes the whole world feel colorful and vibrant, with the deep reds and darks creating a great juxtaposition in tones.

It’s a great story, all in all, one that makes me want to re-read Gotham Academy!

Regret

I can count on one hand how many Gentleman Ghost stories we’ve had in the last couple of years, but good ones? Well, that number’s small. Thank God Batman: The Brave & The Bold #12 is here with “Left Unsaid” to fix that! 

False Face is an interesting character and one that I haven’t run into before. I’m really digging him in this story. He’s a well-meaning person at heart and the most in-depth character actor-for-hire you’ll ever see, he seems like an interesting character. Gentleman Ghost seems to disagree with the well-meaning part, but you can’t win them all! 

Rob Levin writes an interesting story here, presenting a moral quandary with no clear answer and our main character simply doing the best he can under the circumstances. The reveal halfway through is interesting and well thought-out, and begs the question of the reader; what would you do?

The artwork from Mike Norton and John Kalisz fits the story really well. The colors during the Gentleman Ghost scenes pop hard and give the exact eerie atmosphere they wanted to convey.

Renegade

Artemis: The Poison Within continues, with the Amazon warrior getting herself into a whole load of trouble! Still reeling from the events from the last issue, and questioning whether anything she’s seeing is even real, our not-so-heroic heroine faces a brand new challenge, trying to match Tom King’s Wonder Woman in an overt and dramatic way! 

Delilah S. Dawson really understands Artemis, in a way that few writers do. Not many people get her right, not since Scott Lobdell with Red Hood & The Outlaws have I felt like I’m reading the definitive version of this character. Dawson manages to capture the vulnerability and the conflict of Artemis perfectly. If we don’t see writing more Artemis and the Amazons in the future, I’ll be very surprised! 

I really love Serg Acuña’s artwork (check out his variant cover to Jay Garrick: The Flash #1 to see exactly why/melt your heart). Matt Herms’ colors complement it perfectly. The desert setting lends itself to some beautiful panels and the battle scene? Perfect.

Regrow

Oh boy, it’s Swamp Thing time. That’s always good.

“A Parting Gift” is a heartfelt, sensitive story with one theme at its heart; the Swamp Thing is not a hero, they’re a force of nature, and, sometimes nature can be kind as well as cruel. Life, death, violence, mercy; it’s all part of nature, and the Swamp Thing’s seen it all. 

Zipporah Smith approaches this story in the exact right way. The action scene’s handled as a quick montage, while the main meat of the story’s a meaningful, heartfelt conversation. This is the way this character should be treated, and Swamp Thing always delivers great ways to get those more personal stories. 

Karl Mostert and Mike Spicer make a great art pairing. When it comes to Swamp Thing, fantastic artwork is a must, and these two nailed it. Spicer’s name on any cover makes it a must-read for me, and this is absolutely no different. I’ll be on the lookout for Mostert’s name from now on as well!

Relapse

Speaking of names I love to see, Charlie Adlard’s here with Herik Hanna to make my day with Henchman, a short story about a failed goons night with the Bat! 

Have you ever thought about the goons that Batman takes down? The career henchmen that jump from one villain to another to make ends meet? Well, get ready to think about them and cry! This is another action-light story with great dialogue and a moody setting but with much more Batman. I love this issue’s storytelling theme. 

Herik Hanna really, REALLY makes you think about the ordinary people of Gotham and the things they’re forced to do to survive in the crime-ridden urban jungle. There’re only a finite amount of people willing to do what they do to get ahead, so it’s only rational that they’d run into the Bat more than once, right? Well, this guy’s on a first-name basis with him. How bad does it have to be to get to that point? 

Charlie Adlard is no stranger to black-and-white art (see The Walking Dead #6–193), and it’s always nice to see him return to the medium occasionally. His work really pops in this format, and I’d personally love to see more of it. Adlard’s been creating more and more comics recently, with his work on Damn Them All with Si Spurrier being a personal favourite, so it’s great to see a legend back in the saddle.

Conclusion

Batman: The Brave & The Bold #12 provides some amazing plots and seriously impressive character work. This series goes from strength to strength with every issue and gives me more and more reasons to come back every month. 

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment


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