Sunday, June 3, 2012

Classic Comics - Brave and the Bold #167

The Blackhawks suffer from the same problem as Sgt. Rock, the Justice Society, the Howling Commandos and any number of other World War II-era comic characters - they're so firmly set in the wartime that it's difficult to bring them to the modern day.

But the beauty of the pre-Crisis DC Universe was that there was a logical way to manage a team-up in The Brave and the Bold between those war heroes and Batman - namely, set it on Earth-2 in 1944 with the original version of the Dark Knight and the original Blackhawks!

It features the Golden Age versions of those heroes, right down to Batman's long ears, the early Batmobile, and Blackhawk's planes. My favorite panel is one of Batman swinging through the night with his cape billowing out behind him - it's easily 24 feet across. How does Batman walk, dragging that thing around?

But I love the comic, artistic license and all. It's an action-packed adventure with lots of little in-jokes for fans (including a mention of the Shadow and the Hidalgo Trading Company, for you Doc Savage followers).

The art is a treat as Dave Cockrum and Dan Adkins cut loose on a story that must have been a labor of love. Depicting so many characters, a aerial war and a period story had to be a challenge, but Cockrum was a big fan of the Blackhawks, and it shows.

The story by Marv Wolfman has a new weapon in the hands of the Nazis that threatens to destroy the east coast of the United States - nothing a little teamwork can't handle.

Lots of fun, though the whole thing seems a bit cramped, with only 17 pages to work with (the comic was published in 1980). Still, it's a prime example of the vast possibilities the DC Universe held before the Crisis - and thankfully, the company seems to be getting back to that model these days.

Well, almost.

Grade: B+


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