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Thursday, 3 March 2011

Batman: The Brave and the Bold - The Fearsome Fangs Strike Again!

Writer: J Torres and Landry Walker
Pencils: J. Bone, Carlo Barberi and Eric Jones
Inks: J.Bone, Terry Beatty and Eric Jones
Colorist: Heroic Age
Letters: Travis Lanham, Pat Brosseau and Rob Clark Jr
Publisher: DC 

What's it about?
This is a Batman team up book for younger readers.  Based on the long running Brave and the Bold cartoon, the trade contains 6 issues, each of which sees Batman teaming up with another hero or group of heroes.

In this book Batman works with the Doom Patrol (a group of heroes who have had bizarre accidents leaving them with strange powers), Green Arrow (archer extraordinaire), The Great Ten (China's equivalent of the Justice League of America), Catman (a new character with similar skills to Batman), The Atom (able to shrink himself to fight crime), the Huntress (mafia daughter fighting for justice) and Adam Strange and Alanna (sci-fi adventurers).

They encounter yetis, tentacled many-eyed space octopus's, the moon gang, mis-named unbeatable nightmare mutants, deadly ninja and a force comprised of universe destroying anti matter.

What's good about it?
Gone is the dark, moody interpretation of Batman, as seen in films like Batman begins and The Dark Knight.  This Batman is happy to work with others and engage in a little bit of banter.  There's a lot of visual gags and the whole mood of the books is rather light and friendly.

There's some empowering messages for children, about the values of friendship and teamwork, but this is never heavy handed and it doesn't get in the way of telling the story.  There's a good range of characters in the book, and positive portrayals of disability - from the Doom patrol who's leader is a wheelchair user - and of women, in the form of Alanna and the Huntress.  It is made very clear that Alanna and the Huntress are as capable as the men, if not more so.

The two creative teams contributing stories to this collection work strongly together and each provide their own unique view of the world of the Brave and the Bold.  J.Torres writes a more straightforward story that seems to echo the simplistic structure of a lot of children's cartoons, I'm thinking particularly of things like Scooby Doo here.  Torres work isn't complex, it could be dull, but it is raised above boredom by the art.  With some visual gags woven in and some great character pieces the book is improved and becomes an entertaining story for children.

Landry Q Walker's stories however, are far more inventive and surreal.  There's some bad (by which I mean funny) puns, comedic situations and more complex ideas.  The last story in the book is a Christmas themed one where Batman becomes an elf.  I challenge you to read it and not laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation!  The Walker/Jones team deliver more excellent stories with just the right amount of comedy and drama.  They don't talk down to their audience and they don't patronise anyone.

What's bad about it?
It's definitely a kids book, I'm not sure how much adults will get out of it unless they are reading it with their (or others) children.  Walker and Jones' stories are probably more likely to get adults interested than Torres' stories, but overall this is definitely for the younger folk.

What's the art like?
It's very much based on the Brave and the Bold's cartoon animation. It's all big chins and triangle bodies, with a bit of cuteness thrown in.  The Asian characters look Asian and the female characters are easily distinguishable.  As befits a cartoon spin off, it's very brightly coloured.

The pencils are cartoonish caricatures of people, not immensely detailed, and again, this fits in well with the premise of the series.  It's over the top, exaggerated and bold.  Much like the title then!

Particular stand out scenes are those where the Atom is fighting the Bat-monster.  I don't have a scan of that particular panel, but to give you an idea, here's the cover to the original issue:
The Bat-monster has been given little leathery wings.  Bless! 

Other information
Price: £9.99
ISBN: 1848569955

If you like this you may want to try other Batman: The Brave and the Bold books.  reading order as follows:
Batman: the Brave and the Bold
Batman: the Brave and the Bold - The Fearsome Fangs Strike Again!
Batman: the Brave and the Bold - The Emerald Knight (due for release 25th May 2011)

Landry Walker and Eric Jones also did Supergirl: Cosmic Adsventures in the eighth grade, which I highly recommend to everyone.  They are currently working on The Incredibles Comic, which has been collected into the following trades:
The Incredibles: Revenge From Below
The Incredibles: Truth & Consequences
The Incredibles: Secrets and Lies
Lastly, if you fancy a more adult book, may I recommend picking up Batman: The Joker's Asylum volume 2, for which Landry Walker wrote the Mad Hatter story.  It is very different to these all ages book and a little disturbing, but well worth checking out.


  1. I liked Brave and the Bold, but I thought the old 90's Batman was better. Even Batman Beyond was slightly better than Brave and the Bold.

    Brave and the Bold just seems unrealistic in almost every aspect.

  2. Hi Cabe,
    Thanks for the comment. It's always good to hear other views!
    I'm not sure that this trade of The Brave and the Bold is meant to be realistic. It is for children, so I think we can view it in a different way to adult books, such as Batman Beyond (if I'm thinking of the right book).