Posted on: April 21st, 2010 Comically Challenged: The Brave and The Bold #33

I know that I tend to read comics through rose-colored glasses. Even when a story is mediocre, I love the fact that I’m getting the chance to read it. I’m very willing to look past the faults of the creators. It’s all out of love. I enjoy comic books that much. I believe, often times, that’s why I have to preface my praise with a “Keep in mind” or “This is where I’m coming from”. There’s a good chance that others won’t have my sugar-coated acceptance when it comes to reading a lot of these books. Listen up and listen carefully. This selection IS as great as I make it out to be. None of this is puffery.

J. Michael Straczynski has quite a few titles in several mediums under his belt. Amazing Spider-Man, Thor, Fantastic Four, Rising Stars, Babylon 5, and The New Twilight Zone are just among the many.  Back in September, he took over on The Brave and the Bold with issue #27. The stories themselves have been great. Hell, he was nominated for an Eisner for issue #28 featuring The Flash and The Blackhawks. My only qualm with his run is that he tends to get preachy. Sometimes the main character will go off into this ridiculously involved monologue that reflects on society or moral lessons or some such grandeur. But at their core, the stories are insightful, original and truly enjoyable. This week issue #33 dropped and it put all previous titles to shame.

BB33This month’s installment of The Brave and the Bold featured a team up with Wonder Woman, Zatanna and Batgirl. I was so excited going into the book as those three are among my favorite female comic book characters. When I was expecting sassy crime-fighting, I had no idea what awaited me.

After having a nightmare, Zatanna wakes up in horror and decides that she, Diana, and Barbara need to go out for a night on the town. There’s high fashion, dancing, witty one-liners and a Star Wars reference by Zatanna. My mind was officially blown. What issue #33 shows is just how much characters in the DC Universe are connected. They deeply care and are affected by others. We can see how much Barbara’s father means to her and how much she misses seeing him just by listening to a quick anecdote about shoes. Wonder Woman, often times written very pretentious and regal, is written to show her humorous and compassionate side. Then there’s Zatanna who was just a C-list character created to be thrown into a story that needed magic or fishnets. Straczynski writes to explain the gift of the Oracles of ancient Greece. Those are the beings that could foresee glimpses of the future and were considered to be the keepers of information. Wonder Woman goes on to explain that the hardest part about being an Oracle is having the knowledge of what the future holds but not being able to stop it. In fact, if they were to interfere, it would turn out much worse than they had envisioned. It all seems to be just a little side note to say, “Oh, that’s where Barbara came up with the name Oracle.” Yeah, it does that too but what you start putting together is that it’s Zatanna that has glimpses of the Oracles’ power. It was her nightmare and she saw Barbara’s tragic encounter with The Joker. She and Diana just wanted to take Babs out dancing for the last time.

The Killing JokeTears are welling up in my eyes right now. I’m never affected this much, it’s just an amazing book. Any person that doesn’t see comic books as a legitimate literary outlet is thankfully proven wrong with this very issue. I wasn’t as heavily impacted by Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke as I was with this one-shot story. It speaks volumes about Staczynski’s talents as a writer. Yeah we have female characters doing girly things but this is not a story about women. He does it right! They are just human beings that genuinely care about the well-being of each other. Let me tell you, if this is a glimpse of what we’ll be seeing when Straczynski takes over Gail Simone’s run on Wonder Woman, I think it’ll be considered an upgrade. It has to be his experience in writing television. The man just knows how to tell a strong and important story in a short length of time.

Cliff Chiang’s art on this book is equally as stunning. Anything from the movement in the dance club to the gut-wrenching emotion in the eyes of Zatanna and Diana as they hug in the restroom, it’s truly beautiful. It all culminates to a double page splash when Barbara opens the door. Her word balloon is split in half by Joker firing the gun. The depth and symbolism of that alone can be chalked up among Chiang’s finest work.

I don’t care if you haven’t stepped in a comic shop for the past five years. Maybe you’ve never purchased a Brave and the Bold title before; it doesn’t matter. Please read this comic. I promise you, you will be thankful you picked it up. Please share it with someone else. It deserves to circulated. This one will win the 2010 Eisner for the one-shot category. It broke my heart, it lifted my spirits and it solidified my adoration for comic books.

2 Responses to “Comically Challenged: The Brave and The Bold #33”

  1. Kenneth Mark Hoover Says:
    May 22nd, 2010 at 10:42 am

    So basically WW and Zat learn Babs is gonna take a bullet to the spine and instead of doing EVERYTHING they can to stop it (and since when does an iconic character like WW go dancing instead of doing everything she can to help her friends and damn the consequences) they take Babs out for a girl party.

    It’s slag writing at its worst and nothing more.

  2. Auburn Says:
    May 22nd, 2010 at 11:41 am

    I heard this response quite a bit but believe me, it IS covered in the book. Like I said, “Being an Oracle is having the knowledge of what the future holds but not being able to stop it. In fact, if they were to interfere, it would turn out much worse than they had envisioned.” Had they tried to stop it from happening, maybe Barbara would have died, maybe the Commish would have been shot-PLUS, we wouldn’t have Oracle and that was the best damn thing to happen to that Barbara Gordon since her character had long since fell flat.

    Does that seem like a cop-out? You got to take in consideration that it’s Brave and the Bold. It’s not like this book has the ability to change continuity-it’s more of a story within a story kind of setup. Yeah, he could have done a “What If” scenario but this way, it adds depth to a storyline already set in DCU continuity.

    To call it ’slag writing’ is pretty unfair. Tell me, did you read it?

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