Review by Ian Keogh
The opening volume of team-up adventures based on the animated TV show saw Batman dealing with General Immortus, but instead of that being in the company of his usual foes the Doom Patrol, Batman called on Kid Eternity. That’s because the Doom Patrol star this volume. The general creepiness of a man swathed completely in bandages and another whose brain has been transferred to a robot body might seem ill fitting with a series conscientiously aimed at younger readers, yet they work at that level. So does everyone else, and this collection features far from the obvious selection of guest stars. It’s as if writers J. Torres and Landry Q. Walker are under instruction to provide a primer for the more obscure corners of the DC universe.
Anyone wanting adventures of the urban myth dark knight, the operator from the shadows whose dialogue is restricted to the grimmest of grim one-liners should stay well away. This is a Batman who makes jokes, almost winks at the audience, operates in broad daylight and considers taking on Animal Vegetable Mineral Man could be his greatest adventure yet. While not the self-parodying goon of the 1960s TV show, this is a cheerful, friendly and enthusiastic Batman deliberately designed to have greater appeal to the young audience.
He stars in a better collection of stories than the opening volume. Torres and Walker write three scripts apiece, and follow the template of the shows, which begin as Batman finishes off a case before moving to the next. Walker’s contributions prioritise action more than plot, while Torres throws in more deduction and twists, but both writers successfully follow the characterisation of the animated series. Green Arrow has a rivalry with Batman, the Atom is an all-purpose scientist, and Catman is well used. They have access to characters not seen on TV, with the Torres using both the Olympian and Chinese super team The Great Ten, the latter in the hunt for a yeti.
Eric Jones (sample page), draws half the book, with Carlo Barberi contributing two episodes, and J. Bone just the opener. He and Jones are more heavily inked, leading to a bulkier Batman, but all three provide clear storytelling and exaggerated cartooning intended to appeal to younger readers.
It’s those readers at whom this incarnation of The Brave the Bold is very clearly aimed, with very little in the way of clever moments for adult readers. Children reading this will come away with bite size encounters with the DC cast, if not always as characterised in the adult DC Universe, the object presumably being to follow the animation and to embed the heroes in their minds. As such its all competently carried out, and it’s Walker who writes most of volume three.