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'Batman: The Brave and the Bold' #2 continues to impress
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‘Batman: The Brave and the Bold’ #2 continues to impress

A unique approach to superheroes with action, adventure, and atmosphere all rolled into one.

After a stellar opening issue to the new anthology series Batman: The Brave and the Bold, the second issue is out this week, continuing stories started and delivering a done-in-one tale too. All told, there are four stories here, three of which are ongoing tales. Packing a lot of punch, each story does something a little different, drawing you in and wishing its adventure would never end.

Kicking things off is part two of “Batman: The Winning Card” by Tom King and Mitch Gerads. This story picks up where we left off, with silent film title cards delivering Joker’s dialogue in the form of jokes intercut with James Gordon trying to keep a man alive. Joker is killing very rich Gotham residents, and nearly every cop is trying to prevent it, but soon we see for ourselves there’s no stopping Joker.

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This second part opens up Batman’s interest in the Joker case while also delivering some intriguing backstory on Gordon. You get the sense this is their first rodeo together — and that Gordon sees Batman as just as much of a freak as Joker — with the threat of Joker made abundantly clear to Batman. While Batman was brutal in the first part, we see Joker might be even more so, even if Batman thinks he’s far more willing to push the boundaries.

Highlights in this chapter include Batman putting on a character as Bruce Wayne over the phone, Joker looking as horrifying and otherworldly scary under Gerads’ artwork, and some truly horrifying jokes. Both creators are firing on all cylinders here for an all-timer Batman vs. Joker tale. I will say it’s a little surprising to see Batman falter so easily, especially since he seems to have the edge multiple times, but this is the earlier days for Batman.

Batman: Brave and the Bold #2

The jokes in the captions are quite horrifying.
Credit: DC Comics

Ed Brisson and Jeff Spokes continue to show what Stormwatch is made of in the second part of their story. This time, the team is facing a threat that could kill many people. It’s a virus that somewhat sidelines the team as they await orders. As they sit on a boat mucking it up, Brisson explores the dynamics between the team members while giving us a taste of who they are. The sidelining does make this story feel a bit like it’s treading water — pun intended — seemingly to end on a select cliffhanger rather than progress the plot naturally.

Spokes show off a clean and incredibly pleasing style with framing and action. When things get violent, you’ll feel every slash of a sword and the tearing of an arm. A mercenary team for sure, the creative team makes each member feel important in their own right.

Superman continues to uncover a secret even to him in “Superman: Order of the Black Lamp” by Christopher Cantwell and Javier Rodriguez. The adventure feel continues in this chapter, sending Superman to one of the highest mountains yet to be climbed. The story is told mostly through captions, continuing to use Clark’s voice and Superman’s, as both are “teaming up” for a Daily Planet piece. It’s a clever way to separate the two.

Rodriguez’s art is phenomenal, with a wholesome and old-school feel that’s apparent. Props to Rodriguez for the Roy Lichtenstein homage, too. The layouts always seem to be playing around, be it a kaleidoscope style on one page or how a cutaway of the mountain reveals operations.

The larger story in “Superman: Order of the Black Lamp” ends up feeling lost along the way, though. The first chapter set up a mystery with an interesting secret of Clark’s to pursue, but here he’s more figuring out a stronghold and then reacting to its defenses.

Closing things out is a one-shot tale beautifully drawn in black and white by Joëlle Jones. The photorealistic art style will please most as Jones explores Bruce Wayne’s end-of-day experience after a long day as Batman. We get to see him reflect on recent battles told via collage-style imagery, or in another case as if the monitors around him are spilling out onto the floor.

This narrative has a dreamlike quality as Bruce reflects on past fights, loves, and bonds made over the years. It ends beautifully with Alfred, reminding us he’s not alone, even if he sometimes gets stuck alone with his thoughts. I can’t say what we have here is brand new, but given the sentiment and the quality of the art, it’s a stand-out tale.

All four stories in the second edition of  Batman: The Brave and the Bold are worthy of your attention and time. The ongoing narratives of these three tales build towards some exciting moments, while the fourth one-shot tale reminds us of the daily heavy burden Bruce Wayne lives with. Batman: The Brave and the Bold offers a unique approach to superheroes with action, adventure, and atmosphere all rolled into one.

'Batman: The Brave and the Bold' #2 continues to impress
‘Batman: The Brave and the Bold’ #2 continues to impress
Batman: The Brave and the Bold #2
All four stories in the second edition of Batman: The Brave and the Bold are worthy of your attention and time. The ongoing narratives of these three tales build towards some exciting moments, while the fourth one-shot tale reminds us of the daily heavy burden Bruce Wayne lives with. Batman: The Brave and the Bold offers a unique approach to superheroes with action, adventure, and atmosphere all rolled into one.
Reader Rating2 Votes
8.9
Each story is entertaining in ways unique from each other
Joker is truly horrifying in the first story
Superman's story is all kinds of adventure-friendly fun
Little things don't quite work here or there, like plotting of one tale, or Batman's convenient way of not nabbing Joker
9
Great
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