Saturday, June 2, 2012

Classic Comics - Brave and the Bold #100

In 1972 The Brave and the Bold reached its milestone 100th issue.

By this point the comic was locked into its format as a team-up vehicle for Batman, but by this time DC had figured out the value of going the extra mile for "milestone" issues, and for this one they made it a showcase for some top artists.

So we have a cover by the great Nick Cardy, a Deadman reprint in the back drawn by Neal Adams, and the main feature drawn by Jim Aparo.

Aparo always seemed underappreciated to me, yet for many years he was "the" Batman artist. Perhaps he was somewhat overlooked because he had the misfortune to follow Neal Adams, who certainly left an indelible mark on the look of that character, but Aparo's unique style was a perfect match for the Dark Knight.

Dark, moody, but very detailed, Aparo's characters were emotional, animated and unique - no cookie cutter heroes here. Each panel is loaded with energy, original layouts and loads of detail.

The story is written by Bob Haney, and it's a good one. It begins with Batman being mortally wounded by a sniper - he's immobilized while waiting for the only surgeon who can perform the operation to save his life.

He was about to shut down a major drug smuggler, so he calls on several friends to do the legwork, including Robin, Green Lantern, Green Arrow and Black Canary. It's a solid cat-and-mouse game as they track down the routes used by the smugglers.

The story has a few silly moments - Black Canary goes missing at one point because she stopped to dry her hair during the rain - but then they give her a "women's lib" moment after that to (one supposes) balance the scales.

It's a tense story with a clever bit of business at the end - a worthy effort for the milestone issue (which ended up marking the halfway point for this series).

Grade: A-



Dwayne said...

Thank you for praising Jim Aparo! He was always my favorite artist growing up due to his work on Batman. And you're right about him being under appreciated. So I'm glad you took the time to mention him again.

Chuck said...

Dwayne, you're welcome! I always liked Aparo's work, especially on Batman and Phantom Stranger!

Dwayne said...

If you ever get a chance to review one of of Jim Aparo's old Spectre stories in Adventure, I'd love to get your take on that.

Chuck said...

Excellent suggestion, and we do take requests here at radio Chuck, so I'll dig into the archives - I'm pretty sure I picked up a few of those!