The Brave and the Bold: Batman and Wonder Woman #5 – Liam Sharp, Writer/Artist; Romulo Fajardo Jr., Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Corrina: Deep Dive Into Celtic Myths
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Brave and the Bold: Batman and Wonder Woman #5, the penultimate issue of Liam Sharp’s gorgeous, masterful crossover miniseries finally brings the story full circle and reveals the big bad and central mystery of the story. It opens with the kingdoms of Tir Na Nog at the brink of war, and Wonder Woman is desperately trying to preserve the peace for a few more hours while Batman takes one more pass at interrogating the young suspect in the murder of the King. Although the current leader, Cerrunos, is sympathetic to Diana’s peacemaking efforts, he’s losing control of his people and even Batman is flummoxed about the case that’s well outside of his expertise. Batman is able to get the boy to open up, being the first person who doesn’t seem to want to kill him, and he pieces together the hidden secret of the entire case – the king was never murdered. The king was never there at all. In fact, King Elatha is still alive and currently loose in Gotham, the actual mastermind of all the unrest that’s taking place in Tir Na Nog.
That spins the entire story in a completely new direction, as Elatha’s reasoning for pulling off this entire ruse is exposed – he wants to break down the barriers between Earth and his realm, allowing his people to be free and invade ours. In some ways, he’s a tragic villain, believing that his actions are necessary, and that makes for a powerful scene when he makes an unspeakable sacrifice to be able to complete his plan. However, his actions lead to an unexpected consequence – the return of the bloody dark king Balor, as the final villain of the series.
Where the issue falls a bit flat is in the cover – which reveals this twist before you ever open the issue. That’s a DC editorial issue, as always, but the art is gorgeous as always, and Liam Sharp has proved with this series that he’s as great a writer as he is an artist. DC has a genuinely unique all-star talent in Sharp, and while he says he’s heading off to creator-owned work next, I sincerely hope DC is leaving the door open for him to do any project he likes in the future.
Corrina: I wish I had better words for how gorgeous the art is on this book. It reminds me of the work done on The Atlantis Chronicles by Esteban Maroto. (That was written by Peter David.) Like Maroto’s work, Sharp creates an entire fantasy world of gods, monsters, incredible settings, and characters steeped in tragedy.
On the writer side, Sharp relies heavily on tragic Celtic mythology for his plot and characters. That’s not a complaint, as it’s a fascinating mythology, but the story does sometimes push Wonder Woman and Batman to the side, as somewhat happens this issue, even though Batman sorts out the murder mystery by revealing it was not a murder at all.
I expect, however, that our heroes will have something to do with the resolution of these eternally warring Celtic tribes. It’s too bad they can’t be integrated somehow into the DCU, like when the Asgardians lived on Earth over in the Marvel Universe. But I expect the resolution will forever banish them from the DC realm.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.