- Posted by Johanna on February 28, 2011 at 3:29 pm
- Category: Superhero Reviews
After a bland start, I’m happy to see The All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold comic (and isn’t THAT a mouthful?) take on some of the whimsy and charm that make its cartoon counterpart so much fun to watch.
Issue #3, for example, takes the trendy inspiration of Alice in Wonderland to remind us of the Batman villain The Mad Hatter, who’s mind-controlling the original Flash because “he’s one of the few heroes with the good taste to wear a hat.” That kind of logic, internally consistent to the characters but ridiculously silly to the reader, adds to the enjoyment of this comic.
These two issues are written by Sholly Fisch with art by Rick Burchett and Dan Davis, and they have a wonderfully old-fashioned feel about them, from a time when heroes did good deeds and stories were done in one issue and you could recognize the characters you were reading about and superheroes were safe for kids to read about and all those other craft aspects that have sadly gone by the wayside. My, I sound like a fogey, don’t I? Still, for someone who’s been driven away from the main DC universe by its gore and misery, this series was a refreshing reminder that there are still publications from them I want to read. I miss the days when a variety of approaches, aimed at a diversity of readers, was considered a good thing.
Anyway, so, in issue #3, Batman and the Flash jump through the Mirror Master’s mirror and wind up Through the Looking Glass. The illustrations there are clearly Tenniel-inspired, but in a way that works with the cleaner superhero character lines, so everything looks as it should and meshes nicely. There are also plenty of text allusions, from “frabjous” to “six impossible things before breakfast” and a highly amusing interchange between the Red Queen and the Dark Knight, whom she thinks is “not a proper knight at all!” since they should be “red or white, not dark!” Plenty of favorite characters make cameos, building up to the fearsome Jabberwock, glorious to see, especially when Batman refuses the vorpal sword because “we don’t kill.” You tell ‘em!
There’s excitement and adventure and jokes and creativity, topped off by Batman wearing a top hat. Over his cowl. Finally, order is restored, and we sadly have to leave this imaginative playground.
That’s ok, because the next issue is just as demented in a very different way. It guest-stars Wonder Woman fighting Giganta and Mouse Man, until she and Batman get zapped by a love ray. (Eros is ticked off that Wonder Woman spends more time brawling than spreading the message of love.) This upsets Talia, who wants him for herself, not “some Amazon in a bathing suit!” The resulting wedding allows for all kinds of dynamite cameos, both friend and foe, guest and attacker, although the one that tickled me most was Sugar and Spike as flowergirl and boy.
Old fans will adore the chance to play “spot that character”, while young readers will be introduced to the wide variety of the DC universe, including Wonder Woman villains I didn’t even know! I can’t wait for the next issue, to see what new guest stars we’ll have fun with next.