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'Batman: The Brave and the Bold' #5 review
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‘Batman: The Brave and the Bold’ #5 review

‘Batman: The Brave and the Bold’ #5 offers up four stories, three of which are ongoing.

Short-form comic stories offer varied entertainment, so Batman: The Brave and the Bold is a great addition to most buy piles. Add in ongoing multi-chapter stories, and there’s something for everyone. This series has been good, especially with Tom King and Mitch Gerads headlining with the first-ever Joker and Batman battle. It’s another good issue in a series with great moments.

In its fifth issue, Tom King and Mitch Gerads reach the penultimate chapter in their Joker tale, Ed Brisson and Jeff Spokes continue their excellent Stormwatch story, Harcourt continues to understand herself post-death, and a great black-and-white detective tale with Batman closes things out. Each story is good, although it could be more new reader-friendly with only one new done-in-one story.

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First up in this anthology is “Batman: The Winning Card,” part 3 by Tom King and Mitch Gerads. Joker rules this issue figuratively and metaphorically, acting as a direct threat to Gotham citizens and looking like a demon that can’t be contained. He’s truly frightening, and Gerads gives him a horrifying look with striking white eyes.

DC Preview: Batman: The Brave and the Bold #5

Joker is incredibly haunting.
Credit: DC Comics

Gerads continues giving Bruce Wayne eyes like Batman at opportune moments, even with his mask off, further cementing a mythical nature to both characters. While the art is grounded and realistic, it’s intriguing how there’s an elevated nature to their battle through visuals.

The story shows Bruce as a bit green as Batman. King has Batman lose his temper over being defeated by Joker in the last chapter. In response, Bruce ends up working through some of his rage via Alfred, while Alfred takes it in stride as if Bruce has some learning to do. I’m not sure there’s enough time to really develop Batman in a way that’s understandable, but it’s interesting to see him emotionally. The continued use of silent movie title cards adds a mysteriousness to Joker that enhances his inhuman nature. Oh, and props to King, who draws a panel in his cover-quality style. Nice touch.

Ed Brisson and Jeff Spokes continue their Stormwatch tale next with the fifth chapter. It’s cool to see this team go up against a god in this issue as they’re more street-level as far as their powers. Brisson continues to flesh out the larger story of how these characters are being used while giving each one a nice characterization. Spokes brings a high level of detail and nice volume through colors. The fact that you’ll be rooting for multiple characters shows how well this creative team has fleshed out these characters, many of which are quite underused at DC.

Next up is part two of “Harcourt: Second Life” by Rob Williams and Stefano Landini. In an espionage-style story, Williams reminds us Harcourt’s memory is a bit lacking while Waller is likely pulling strings. Add in her disdain for supers yet seemingly working with powers unknown to her, there’s an interesting conflict she’s working out in real-time. Landini keeps the action intense with shootouts and flips.

Closing out the issue is another black-and-white tale by Ed Brisson and Jorge Fornes. There’s a murder in the Narrows, and since onlookers don’t talk to cops, it’s up to Batman to figure out who did it. A detective tale through and through, it captures the hopelessness some feel in Gotham. Even Batman can’t save the day on some scale, as the murder is tragic on different levels.

Batman: The Brave and the Bold #5 continues to develop ongoing stories while offering action, mystery, and an ongoing Joker story for the ages. There’s a good mix of stories here – well worth reading.

'Batman: The Brave and the Bold' #5 review
‘Batman: The Brave and the Bold’ #5 review
Batman: The Brave and the Bold #5
Batman: The Brave and the Bold #5 continues to develop ongoing stories while offering action, mystery, and an ongoing Joker story for the ages. There's a good mix of stories here – well worth reading. 
Reader Rating1 Votes
8.4
King and Gerads are whipping up a truly haunting Joker tale
Stormwatch continues to draw you into the characters experiences
Harcourt brings a nice espionage spy thriller vibe
Last story is a good detective tale
Not very new-reader friendly
Bruce's characterization in the first story is a little hard to grasp
8.5
Great
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