The Brave and the Bold: Batman and Wonder Woman #4 – Liam Sharp, Writer/Artist; Romulo Fajardo Jr, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Corrina: Such Detailed Panels!
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: The Brave and the Bold: Batman and Wonder Woman #4, the most gorgeous book in DC’s stable at the moment, enters its second half, expanding the mythology of the realm of Tir Na Nog and deepening its mythology. When the story last left off, Batman and Wonder Woman were caught in the middle of an ambush by a group of ogres as they investigated the dead king. As the issue opens, they’re trying to broker peace between the rival leaders and stop a war from breaking out, while also continuing to probe for information on the murder. That leads them to the late King’s castle, where his widow Queen Ethne awaits them. This segment leads into the issue’s finest moment, a gorgeous sequence of historical fantasy battles told through paintings, explaining the history of the royal family and the tragedies and betrayals that led to the current king ruling. Despite the Queen’s openness, it’s clear that she has secrets of her own, and that leads the heroes to their next target.
That would be the tomb of King Nuada, the most storied king of Tir Na Nog and one whose rule was tied into the enchanted metal arm he wore to replace one he lost in battle (the odd rules of Tir Na Nog state that the king must be whole in body to rule). Once it’s clear that’s gone missing, the mystery opens a new chapter – but the heroes have also been caught desecrating a sacred site, which opens them to a lot of trouble next issue. Wonder Woman’s been dealing with fantasy concepts for a long time, while Batman almost never does. However, here their partnership works brilliantly (better than Wonder Woman and Superman’s title ever did) and the fantasy world they explore is fascinating and multi-layered. It’s also gorgeous, with so much detail packed into every page. Liam Sharp is a genuine master of the comic book art form, and he’s stated he’s heading off to creator-owned work after this series. I, for one, will be following him anywhere he goes.
Corrina: Those paintings of the fantasy battles have seemingly endless facets. I could study them for literally hours. Sharp has certainly poured his all into the artwork, providing not just foregrounds and backgrounds but exquisite levels of detail, even decorating panel edges with Celtic symbols.
The best part of this issue is anything with Batman ignoring all protocols and instead, doing the detective work that needs to be done. That reminded me of how often Sherlock Holmes was sneered at and opposed by the people he was investigating and it’s a great dynamic to give Batman in this magical murder mystery.
I’m familiar with many parts of Celtic mythology, having read more than a few histories of it, and a few fantasy novels depicting the myths, but I admit to becoming a bit confused at the wealth of information laid out in this issue. There is a ton of information about battles. family lines, and ancient blood feuds. The good news is that it’s clear war is coming, and all should come clearer into focus then.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.
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