Editor's Note: That's right. You did not read the title incorrect. We are going to start trying to review other books that we normally do not review on the comic cast. These books would fall into the catergory of books that are not main Batman titles, but feature Batman characters in them. If you are interested in helping review more DCU books that feature the Bat-family, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And now on with the review-Dustin
The Brave and the Bold is one of DC’s most underrated titles that are currently being published. J. Michael Straczynski’s run on the title has been some of the best superhero team-ups that you will ever read. JMS has truly perfected the one and done storytelling method. Issue number thirty-one is one of the most interesting stories that JMS has written thus far. In this issue, he brings together two unlikely characters, the Atom and the Joker.
If you haven’t been reading the Brave and the Bold, you should start. While the stories do not always involve Batman or Batman related characters, the title has been fun superhero comics at its finest. The basic premise is the Joker is dying from some sort of neurological problems. The doctors at Arkham Asylum come to the conclusion that only the Atom can save him by shrinking down and entering the Joker’s brain to disperse some sort of canister that contains chemicals that could save the Joker just as easily kill him. The Atom reluctantly agrees with hopes that the procedure will kill the Joker rather then save him. However, there’s a catch; the doctors explain that there is a chance that some of the Joker’s memories and behaviors could spill-over into the Atom’s own brain if he is hit by a bioelectrical surge that houses any memories, which would leave the Atom with these horrible memories. The Atom quickly makes his way to the Joker’s brain but is struck by one of the surges. During a memory we learn that the Joker has always felt like an outcast, ever since his early childhood. We also learn that he would often act out through violence which would make life for his parents extremely stressful. We also see during a memory that as a teenager, he barricades the doors of his parent’s home and lights the house on fire while they are in it. After the Atom regains his himself, he is yet again struck by another surge. During these memories, we see the beginning of the Joker’s career and some of his most sinister crimes and murders. We also learn that the Joker feels he is a victim of society and he will not stop until everyone is a killer just like him. After the Atom awakes from these memories he decides to save the Joker. He believes that the Joker is better off being a prisoner of his own mind rather than being dead. The procedure is a success and the Atom questions the doctors; he asks if the memories could be long-term. The doctors do not believe so but are not one-hundred percent sure. The Joker awakes and finds it amusing that the Atom saved his life rather then letting him die. The Atom explains that the Joker is a prisoner of his own mind. The Joker calls the Atom, “Weird”, which leads to the Atom remembering something the Joker, said as a child. This sends the Joker into a livid laughter in which he replies, “Happy Dreams”.
After reading the issue summary, you probably are thinking, “What a ridiculous concept” and, “How many times have they told this kind of story”, and you are exactly right. However, JMS keeps you excited and this issue is just good comic book fun. JMS is one of my favorite writers and I thought he did an excellent job in bringing these two characters together. While we may find this to be an illogical concept, this should not shy you away from picking up this book.
Issue number thirty-one also marks the first issue of JMS’ run that the artist, Jesus Saiz did not do the penciling for. If you are familiar with Saiz’s work, than you are aware of how polished and well-rounded he is. Chad Hardin and Justiniano are solid artists in their own respects, but are not the caliber of Saiz. There are slight inconsistencies throughout the issues that I think these two will work out as they continue to do more work in comics. The artwork isn’t fantastic, but is respectable and doesn’t take anything away from the story.
I have always enjoyed superhero team-up books, but I have felt that this method of storytelling has declined in recent years. JMS has reinvigorated this concept and continues to provide us with good fun. I strongly suggest going and checking out issue number thirty one and check out some of JMS’ previous issues. You will not be disappointed.
The Brave and the Bold #31:
Reviewed by Zfactor