BATMAN: THE BRAVE & THE BOLD #12 Review

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SYNOPSIS: Batman and Maps have unraveled the monstrous mystery that has been terrorizing Gotham, but will they be able to stop it in time? The school bell rings as Batman’s adventure at Gotham Academy reaches its stunning conclusion! Last, but definitely not least—don’t miss the newest installment of Batman: Black & White, drawn by one of comics’ most legendary B&W artists, The Walking Dead’s Charlie Adlard!


Karl Kerschl is back on writing and art to close out “Mother’s Day”, bringing the action and horror to finish up with a bang!

Opening with a vampiric Bruce Wayne who is attempting to feed on Professor Macpherson, it’s Maps to the rescue! It’s not just the glasses taking the place of a domino mask, Maps has many shades and similarities of Carrie Kelly’s Robin and I am digging it. Seeing Bruce and Batman through her eyes serves as a reminder of just how awesome the Caped Crusader is. Kerschl’s art as she sees the bat suit in the Cave is a prime example of this. It’s a magical moment that reminded me of what it was like seeing Michael Keaton on the Silver Screen back in 1989!

There’s a brief respite before Batman and Robin face the varcolac, an undead creature with a taste for human livers that tries to seduce and eat its prey. I love seeing the Batman, Robin, and Alfred dynamic, but it’s not too long before things turn to all-out action for the finale. Kerschl brings the spectacle, delivering a classic-looking Bronze Age Batman who works as well in the shadows as he does the daylight.

The conclusion is inevitable, but bittersweet, ringing true to the Bruce we know, valuing the mission above all. Kerschl understands the Batman dynamic, crafting a tale that feels retro, yet contemporary.

“Henchman”, the Black & White tale, was written by Herik Hanna with art by Charlie Adlard of The Walking Dead fame. As you can imagine, Adlard draws a magnificent moody Batman, one who is cloaked in the darkness. Adlard uses the format exceptionally well, with the low lighting present in the story adding to the ambiance and mystique of the Dark Knight. He really is the shadows.

I’m unfamiliar with Hanna, but I would welcome his return to Batman. “Henchman” is a compelling character piece, as Batman confronts a career henchman who perhaps has bitten off more than he can chew as he strives for “the jackpot”, even after suffering a personal loss. The eponymous co-lead has the reader go through a gamut of emotions, wondering if he is friend, foe, or possibly both. So much is accomplished in such a short time that I was astonished at how unsettled I felt by the last chilling panel.

Delivering two different flavors of The Dark Knight, Batman: The Brave & The Bold continues to be an entertaining anthology for me that I look forward to every month. Kerschl delivers on the excitement and Hanna delivers on the noir, appealing to different types of Batman fans. Freed of continuity, this is a book any Bat-fan can pick up and enjoy! Javier E. Trujillo

 

GRADE: A

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Javier Trujillo
Javier E. Trujillo was a Batman fan long before the 1989 blockbuster opened on his 12th birthday. After following BATMAN-ON-FILM.COM -- the "Dad-Gum Original" -- since its inception, he started to write for BoF in 2019, covering Batman's 80th anniversary. He's a lover of all eras and aspects of The Dark Knight, but artist Jim Aparo will always be how he pictures him. When on the internet, odds are it's because he's talking about Batman or James Bond (or MAYBE Wally West). He resides in the "Live Music Capital of the World" (and also the genesis of Adam West's Bat-Boat), Austin, TX. You can follow him on Twitter @JaviTru or on Instagram @TheBondIsNotEnough.