Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Batman: The Brave And The Bold #4 Review


Written by: Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing, Ed Brisson, Rob Williams, Meghan Fitzmartin
Art by: Kelley Jones, Pasquale Qualano, Stefano Landini, Belén Ortega
Colors by: Michelle Madsen, Ivan Plascencia, Antonio Fabela
Letters by: Rob Leigh, Saida Temofonte, Simon Bowland, Pat Prosseau
Cover art by: Simone Di Meo
Cover price: $7.99
Release date: August 22, 2023

Batman: The Brave And The Bold #4 delivers four tales to astonish as Batman fights (literal) darkness, Stormwatch contends with their corner of Knight Terrors, Emilia Harcourt gets a second chance at life while she deals death, and Batman reflects on the value of his family.
Is It Good?

Batman: The Brave And The Bold #4 takes another stab at telling chapters and complete short stories about Batman or in a world where Batman exists. On the whole, this issue provides a little more variety in the lineup with newer creators, seasoned creators, and ideas that stray from the norm. Whether or not that counts as a win is up to you.

Enter The Abyss

Batman tracks down a string of disappearances, including Cullen Row, which leads to a mysterious woman with no official past. What Batman finds is a refugee from the darkness living beneath Gotham who acts as a lightning rod for the shadows waiting to engulf anyone who ventures too close.

This week appears to be the week of DC writers presenting high-concept ideas that get a little too "high" (if you know what I'm sayin' ;)) Kelly and Lanzing's invention of a dark garden/monster/spirit/god/something living underneath Gotham has merit, but the intentionally vague nature of the darkness defies understanding, which defies relatability.

Batman's character art is fantastic, drawn by the legendary Kelley Jones, which is why this Batman looks like Batman from Red Rain. That said, Jones puts all the style and energy into Batman, but less effort into everything else, so the supporting characters look quickly drawn and loosely defined.

Stormwatch: Down With the Kings, pt. 4

Core, Shado, Phanom-One, and Flint find their worst fears and insecurities coming to pass as they're engulfed in the Nightmare Wave from Knight Terrors. Only Phantom-One has the prescience of mind to break free and find the others. Core grows younger by the second, Shado's all-so-important limbs wither and fall off, and Flint's family comes back to challenge her righteousness. Eventually, Stormwatch overcomes the nightmare, and Flint's eyes are opened to the intentions of Director Bones.

If you're into Stormwatch, this Knight Terrors tie-in serves as a good character study to help you learn about (most of) the team members - what motivates them and what worries them. As with most of the Knight Terrors tie-ins, this chapter has nothing to do with the main event, so although it's a good character piece, it interrupts the main arc with nothing to show for it in return.

Harcourt: Second Life, pt. 1

Emilia Harcourt, of Peacemaker fame, is sent to a club in Opal City to find a particular man. That man happens to be the person who murdered Emilia Harcourt. Back from the dead by Amanda Waller and a Lazarus Pit, Emilia now has a second life and the power to do Amanda's dirty work, after she gets revenge for her murder.

If you're into Pecaemaker and/or James Gunn's vision of the DCU, this is a good opportunity to get in on the ground floor of one of the recurring characters from that space of DC media. The setup is clean and straightforward, the art is excellent, and the future potential is medium to high.

My Family

Batman and the Bat Family battle Hush and Bane in Crime Alley when Batman receives what could be a fatal blow. In Batman's mind, he meets his younger self at the very spot where his crusade began and remembers that he lost one family, only to be gifted another.

As Batman short stories go, Meghan Fitzmartin's take on the Bat Family is fine. The script doesn't say anything new or particularly gripping. At best, it demonstrates a level of competent knowledge about Batman's view of his extended family. The standout, however, is Belén Ortega's excellent B&W art.

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.

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Bits and Pieces:

Batman: The Brave And The Bold #4 continues Ed Brisson's Stormwatch story but shakes up the rest of the anthology with newer creators and different stories for a greater variety than the previous issues. The most intriguing short is Rob Williams's first chapter in an Emilia Harcourt story, and the best art goes to Belén Ortega for a character piece about family.


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