Review: Batman: The Brave & The Bold #13

Batman: The Brave & The Bold #13
Writers: Tim Seeley, Mark Russell, Delilah S. Dawson, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Jason Shawn Alexander
Artists: Kelley Jones, John Mikel, Serg Acuña, Lisandro Estherren, Jason Shawn Alexander
Color Artists: Michelle Madsen, Mike Spicer, Matt Herms, Patricio Delpeche
Letterers: Rob Leigh, Ferran Delgado, Dave Sharpe, Becca Carey, Tom Napolitano
Review by Davydh Tidey

Batman: The Brave & The Bold #13 explodes out of the gate with four fresh stories, and the conclusion to a long-running Amazon epic. This issue acts as a perfect jumping on point for new readers, so get your copies in now! 

Circus

Things are getting spooky in Blüdhaven in this issue, with ghosts galore, guest stars from the supernatural side of DC, and a mysterious new entity to confront. Get ready to face the fall, because Nightwing and Deadman will sure are! 

The Nightwing & Deadma team-up, “Down the Road”, part 1 is a great piece of storytelling, with an interesting setup and a great mystery to sink your teeth into. These two characters together are a no-brainer, considering their similar associations and background, it makes you wonder why this hasn’t happened a lot more in DC’s history! 

Tim Seeley’s a Nightwing veteran, having written a large part of the Rebirth run for Dick, and it shows. Seeley understands the character and his strengths, along with having all the background needed to write a great story about his past. I’ve come around to his work recently, due in large part to Local Man for Image Comics and Hack/Slash for various publishers. Because of this, I’ve learned to view his work on Nightwing in a different light as a consequence. This story certainly props that up, as I thoroughly enjoyed this tale. 

Kelley Jones and Michelle Madsen bring great horror energy to the artwork and Deadman hasn’t looked this intimidating since Kelley’s Detective Comics run, with Doug Moench, back in the 90s. The design for the new villain looks like something straight out of Gotham After Midnight… I love it! Together they deliver a fantastic first part to a (hopefully) long-running story! 

Circa

Daniel Warren Johnson, Juan Gedeon, and Mike Spicer’s Jurassic League, as ridiculous as it looked, was an instant hit. Johnson’s phenomenal writing paired with Gedeon and Spicer’s art became an instant classic, and the dinosaurs were just the icing on the cake.

Of course, this means that revisiting them was a no-brainer, especially using Booster Gold as the character to do it! “Time Jerks” part 1 delivers on that very premise. Who knows what damage can be done with a time sphere… Booster Gold and Skeets causing a cataclysmic time disaster? Yeah, sounds like Monday.

Mark Russell was a fantastic choice for writer on this, considering the amazing job he did on The Flintstones, with Steve Pugh and Chris Chuckry. Turning the town of Bedrock into a pseudo-political nightmare could only have been done by one man, and having him handle the Jurassic League in the past and future was a stroke of genius. Having one amazing writer follow on from another on the same new team really doesn’t hurt either! 

John Mikel and (returning) Mike Spicer both follow up on Gedeon’s work very, very well, giving the exact vibe needed for a sequel to the Jurassic League series. The bright colors and the rough artwork work so well for both settings the story inhabits, and kick off a wonderful new story for Batman: The Brave & The Bold #13.

(No) Surrender

“Artemis: The Poison Within” draws to a close with this final part, and I have to say that it’s been a hell of a ride. Artemis is the definition of a conflicted character, balancing her love of battle with her reluctance to kill in a beautiful melee of precision and measured violence. 

Commander Steel’s AXE unit has our heroine dead to rights, determined to pry the location of Bana-Mighdall from her, but Artemis is not easy prey.

Delilah S. Dawson has really done a wonderful job on this story. If there was ever a character that needed a fresh perspective, especially during a particularly complicated time for the Amazons as a whole (read Tom King’s Wonder Woman, please God), it’s Artemis. With the promise of more in the pages of Wonder Woman, I’m pumped to see where this all goes. 

Serg Acuña and Matt Herms tie up the story wonderfully, providing the visuals for the aforementioned beautiful melee that I’ve fallen for so hard. Their pages-long action scene is amazing to witness, and the outcome is particularly satisfying.

Saucer

Have you ever seen that movie Paul? With the little grey alien and all the Roswell references? Yeah, this story is pretty close to that, but with more Batman and Guy Gardner and less Seth Rogan. This alien doesn’t seem to be a comedian. 

“The Invader” part 1 gives us an interesting opening, setting the scene effectively and introducing a new (but strangely familiar) antagonist for the Bat. Well, two if you include Guy (everyone remembers the Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire “ONE PUNCH” Justice League moment, right?). 

Flashing back and referencing some interesting Americana, I can see where this story is going and I’m all in for some spooky alien weirdness! 

Joshua Hale Fialkov is clearly an old-school sci-fi fan, and I love it. The hallucinations, the flying saucer, all the way to the design of the alien are all straight out of the 50s. I recently read through Planetary/Batman again and loved it as much as the first time. A nice exploration of lore is always welcome to me, especially when it goes for the deep cuts.

This feels like it’s going to be a complex exploration of the mythology surrounding the American aliens, and I’m on the edge of my seat for more (especially if Bruce punches Guy again).

Lisandro Estherren and Patricio Delpeche deliver some interesting art for this story, and it fits the theme well. It reminds me of Riley Rossmo and Ivan Plascencia’s work on Martian Manhunter with Steve Orlando, with the odd proportions and trippy moments lending themselves well to the vibe of the story. The whole design of the world you’re put into fits the mood stunningly, and therein lies the true work.

Of course, I shouldn’t have been surprised as this art team totally smashed it on James Tynion’s two (and counting) incredible Sandman Universe: Nightmare Country series.

Sinner

The bold opening, “This story is a fantasy”, sets expectations, in the vein of Elseworlds, that this story’s going to be something potentially special. I’m pleased to report that it hits those expectations. 

“Perp Walk” is indeed a fantasy, and one that many comic fans have pondered over the years. What is Batman without the Joker? What would happen if one was… removed from the equation? 

Jason Shawn Alexander has clearly read Brian Bolland’s “An Innocent Guy,” as this story feels almost like an homage or parallel universe take on it. What if the Innocent Guy had targeted Joker instead of Batman? What if he’d actually followed through with it?

As a massive fan of that story, this tale hits hard, fast, and well. The artwork feels otherworldly and ethereal, taking inspiration from the likes of Todd McFarlane and Kelley Jones for the Batman design choices, and lending some of that wonderful Killadelphia atmosphere to Gotham for a night. 

Conclusion

Batman: The Brave & The Bold #13 makes some bold choices, debuting some amazing new stories and a special one-shot story. Like I said at the start of this review, this is the ideal point for a new reader to jump on, and I highly recommend everyone does so. I feel like it’s only going to get better from here!

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment


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