Showcase Presents: The Brave and the Bold VOL 01: The Batman Team-Ups Paperback – Jan 24 2007
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Nearly every DC Great of the silver age makes an appearance, from Green Arrow to Green Lantern, from the Metal Men to the Teen Titans,(one of Robin's few appearances in this particular book) Batman even teams with Sgt. Rock in World War II,(!) and does battle with Eclipso, a rare villain who headlined his own series. One conspicuous absince is Superman, I guess we'll just have to wait for a Showcase of "World's Finest"
The DC comic Series, The Brave and the Bold went through a variety of format changes. At Issue 50, it became a superhero team up book. Batman didn't feature until Issue 59 and didn't become the regular star of the series until Issue 74. This book collects Batman's appearances in Brave and the Bold from Issues 59, 64, 67-71, and 74-87.
The book is divided in two artistically. Prior to Issue 79, a variety of artists drew the comic. The styles were typical silver age style with some good artists chipping in. On a Batman Team Up with the Flash (Issue 67), Carmine Infantino provided the pencils. With Issue 79, Neal Adams took over and gave readers the unique style of art that would come to define Batman into the Bronze Age and in ways that screamed for more realistic stories and got them.
The team ups include plenty of DC Comics A-listers including two appearances each for Green Lantern, the Flash, Wonder Woman (traditional and Mod redesign). The series did feature some of the lesser known characters including Metamorpho, Eclipso, the Spectre, and two separate appearances by Deadman, however these were all fairly well handled. The Eclipso story gave us a rare look into Batman's personal life and the first appearance by Deadman is one of the book's finest efforts. The book also worked in a flashback crossover with Sergeant Rock which is always a plus.
In terms of writing, the book is a bit mixed. The comics were longer than typical stories of the era, running from 23-25 pages when a typical comic was only 20 which allowed time for more development. Prior to Adams taking over as artist, the stories were often goofy to the max. Issue 77 features Batman teaming up with the Atom to fight circus a human cannonball who has a nefarious scheme that involves shrinking a circus midget and a cowboy romance thrown in for good measure. Issue 78 has Batgirl and Wonder Woman staging a fake romance to lure Copperhead into a false sense of confidence. Things go wrong when the two beauties actually fall for the caped crusaders. Both stories are fairly well-done but silly, and so this book may be less enjoyable if you don't like silly stories. In addition, some aren't as well done.
Issue 67's Flash Story has the Flash risking certain death to stop a gang of fast robbers in Gotham City. While it was meant to be noble, it came off as silly to put your life in unusual jeopardy to stop a series of property crimes. Issue 71's tale of Green Arrow and Batman helping a businessman become chief of his Indian tribe was a tad dull. However, that's more than made up for by all the great stories in the book including, "War of the Cosmic Avenger," "But Cork Can Hurt You," and "Punish Not My Evil Son."
Overall, I enjoyed this book's contrasting art, it's fantastic guest act, and it's most enjoyable stories and it's a great read for fans of Batman or superheroes in general