The All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold #2 review

Visiting Gotham from Fawcett City for a gift shopping trip, Billy Batson and Tawky Tawny step into a nightmare. Over-emotional citizens are venting their feelings on one another, with old ladies beating up burly bikers and crazed ballerinas shaking their tutus at passers-by. With one magic word, SHAZAM!, Billy becomes Captain Marvel and sets about saving the citizenry from itself. Cap finds Batman, who explains that Psycho Pirate has broadcast dangerous emotions throughout the city, and while Cap's magical nature protects him, Batman is in a pit of despair.

Sholly Fisch's script is a model of highly enjoyable efficiency, quickly introducing the players and situation, having fun with them, then wrapping things up in a neat Christmas bow. Cap is the perfect guest hero, his childlike, inspirational nature proving just what Batman and his fellow Gothamites need, while apathetic, cynical Batman is surprisingly good fun. Psycho Pirate's Scream-style Medusa mask is a hoot, Mr Tawny remains the best Tweed-wearing talking tiger ever, and the folk of Gotham make the most of a rare starring role. 

If you're like me and have missed seeing a traditional portrayal of the Marvel Family in the DC Universe over the past few years, this comic is for you, with Cap, Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Jr all present and on charming form. And lovers of obscure DC lore will be amused by the one-panel, offhand flashback showing Batman resolving Jason's Quest, a three-issue Showcase story from 40 years ago.

Penciller Rick Burchett and inker Dan Davis do a splendid job of capturing Cap and Batman zooming around a vibrant Gotham, and there's a great one-panel summation of Batman's origin. Burchett's cover is a dramatic delight. The jolly colours are provided by Heroic Age, and Travis Lanham letters (I'm not sure whether he, or Burchett, provided the very Captain Marvel-style title lettering for 'That Holiday Feeling' but it looks wonderful).

Oh, and anyone as bored as me at the tedious tendency of artists to pose Batman with gargoyles will get a kick out of this panel (click to enlarge). Nice one!



  1. I've only read one issue of this B&B and that was the one with Captain Marvel and the ueen of Fables, Good stuff.
    I like Captain Marvel enourmously and that's why I like this particular treatment of him, it just gets on with the job of telling a story using Captain Marvel in a confident and straightforward manner. DC haven't done that in the mainstream universe in a few years now... it's as if they either don't have any faith in the concept or are deliberatly keeping him and his goody two-shoes cast down & out. (I mean Osiris? Really?!)
    The upcoming Shazam series by Eric Wallace(?) does not excite me either.... :(

  2. I'll try the Eric Wallace book, but I didn't enjoy his recent Power of Shazam one-off, Dave. I'd rather DC presented the Marvel Family straight than twisted them out of recognition.

  3. I really do get the impression DC do not care a whit about Captain Marvel. Eric Wallace (and I'm sure that's who they announced) is a really strange choice for a new attempt at a relaunch Book as he isn't setting the world on fire elsewhere with his Titans work and he isn't going to do anything exceptional here either.
    Over on Newsarama over the new year they have celebrated Captain Marvels 70th Anniversary in style with some extensive articles and yet DCs contribution is this half hearted effort?

    Deep deep shame.

  4. It is. The Newsarama pieces are rather good, I found the comments in the Don Newton segment, about whether or not Cap and co would have thrived artistically had the series been in continuous publication, especially interesting.


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