The Brave and the Bold: Batman and Wonder Woman #1 – Liam Sharp, Writer/Artist; Romulo Fajardo Jr., Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Corrina: Must Buy
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Liam Sharp was one of the breakout stars of the Rebirth era thanks to his incredibly detailed, gorgeous art on Greg Rucka’s Wonder Woman run. Rucka is gone from the title (and much missed), but Sharp is returning to the character to do double-duty on The Brave and the Bold: Batman and Wonder Woman, featuring Wonder Woman and Batman solving a mystical crime.
From page one, Sharp reminds us of why he was such a rock star on Wonder Woman, with a fantastical, brutal two-page spread of Tir Na Nog, a mystical Irish realm now consumed in a vicious civil war between mystical beings. The wise leader of this realm, Lord Cernunnos, tries to keep the peace but things have spiraled out of control. So, seeking help to bring peace back to Tir Na Nog, he contacts the expert in magical affairs – Wonder Woman. She’s currently occupied with Steve Trevor, and Sharp shows a good handle on their relationship – even though he’s only written a few Wonder Woman stories, he feels like he has that part down pat.
Batman, honestly, feels like a bit of a side character in this issue – he’s here to sell comics, but this is definitely a Wonder Woman issue. He’s investigating a mysterious phenomenon in Gotham’s Irish quarter, where the entire population seems to be taken by some sort of mysterious haunting that’s slowed them to a crawl. These scenes are eerie, but they essentially seem to be taking place in a different comic. There’s a little too much exposition at times, especially when Lord Cernunnos guides Diana to Tir Na Nog while explaining the history of the land and the troubles that beset it. But Sharp’s depiction of the fantasy realm is strong enough that it makes these scenes very readable. When they arrive, there’s a murder, a potentially wrongly-accused culprit, and a violent execution slated – which is where Batman will come in, as a detective is needed. Lots of setup in this issue, but what we’ve seen so far is pretty great. We have a proper Wonder Woman comic again!
Corrina: After reading this, my first thought was “why isn’t Sharp writing the current Wonder Woman comic?”
Though, realistically, a monthly deadline might be too tight to create the lush layers of art/story present in the Brave and the Bold series. I shouldn’t be surprised at the quality of this issue but it’s never easy to predict how one-half of a creative team will do without the other, whether it be writer or artist, because graphic storytelling is so collaborative. But Sharp has blown me away here, not just with the depiction of Tir Na Nog but with his handle on storytelling. True, it’s somewhat set up, but it introduces readers to yet another fascinating corner of the DC universe without ever forgetting the human element.
By “human,” I mean not only the obvious love and acceptance between Diana and Steve but also how Cernunnos himself is a human figure, torn with grief, and weary of his burden.
Batman’s part isn’t fully integrated as yet but I like how he’s drawn into the mystery through his own efforts, initially.
This is a terrific week for Wonder Woman comics, with the debut of this and the conclusion of Wonder Woman/Conan. Just ignore the current comic series and concentrate on those two.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.