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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! - Brave and the Bold #200

I’ve finally gotten to my last comic for the month. I picked this one up since I was on a Brave and the Bold kick and the cover looks pretty interesting. The Brave and the Bold was where the Justice League of America first started. Since that time, it became a team-up book and Batman has been main star since the 60s. The Brave and the Bold #200 was an anniversary issue and it was actually the final issue of the series. The story is written by Mike W. Barr. Dave Gibbons, the artist of Watchmen, provided the pencils and inked some of the issue. Gary Martin inked the first part of the story. So, let’s see what happens when two Batmen take on a hellish villain.

The Brave and the Bold #200
Writer: Mike W. Barr Artist: 
Dave Gibbons Inker: Gary Martin (pgs. 4-19)
Colors: Adrienne Roy



We start out by getting a description of the Multiverse… ow, my head. It all revolves around a man named Nicholas Lucien. On Earth-2, he grew up to be the villain known as Brimstone while his Earth-1 counterpart became a respectable man. We start out with the character on Earth-2 (1955) as he returns to Gotham to rule the criminal underworld and kill Batman. He sets Batman and Robin on a game of cat-and-mouse as he does his evil deeds.

It all comes to a head at Gotham’s Bait Company. The duo show up and end up getting trapped by Brimstone and his goons. Brimstone decides he will kill Batman by using an elaborate version of a pit. Luckily, Batman uses some ingenuity to get out of the trap. He knocks out Brimstone and his henchmen. Brimstone gets carted off to jail and falls into some sort of coma.
Taste the Hammer of Justice!!!

Lucian then awakens 27 years later because of an experimental drug. When he realizes that his Batman has already died, he laments that he can’t get his revenge. He then remembers that there are other universes out there, so he… concentrates hard or something and is able to enter his Earth-1 counterpart. We then shift to Earth-1 which is two decades younger than Earth-2. In a chilling scene, someone blows up a black church, a synagogue, and a place for Hispanics. While everyone is pestering Commissioner Gordon for answers, Bruce dumps a date and heads out as Batman. Gordon tells Batman of the situation and gives him a note from the bomber.

He finds a clue on the note and that leads him to Lucien’s chemical company. It turns out to be trap as a gang waits there for Batman. He beats them all up and finds a clue on one of the gang members. It leads him to the Hellenic Club, some sort of membership building. He heads inside and is knocked by knockout gas. Batman awakens to find himself in the same trap his Earth-2 counterpart was in. He’s able to get out of it and stop Brimstone from blowing up another place. When Lucien is knocked out, Earth-1’s Lucien has control of his body again.
Hey, it's  McGuyver!

On Earth-2, Brimstone falls back in to his coma. On Earth-1, Batman has Lucien tested and knows that he wasn’t in his right mind. The riots quiet down, so Batman swings off and heads home.

……………………………

This was a fine issue. It’s not without its faults however. It pretty much gives us two stories from the Golden Age and the modern (at that time) age. Barr and Gibbons do their best to make the Earth-2 story look and feel like it’s from the Golden Age. They definitely succeed in that. It looks like a simpler time. The Earth-1 story has a lot more grit to it and that’s evident by its shocking first page. The writing and the artwork are pretty good in that as well.

I did have an issue with the whole mind-control thing Brimstone did. How did he exactly do it? Was it the drugs or was it something he could always do? Barr doesn’t explain that at all. I also thought it was weird that Brimstone would try the exact same trap on Batman when it failed earlier. Brimstone himself was a bit of a lame villain. There’s also a part of me that wishes that the two Batmen actually teamed up. That’s not a complaint against this story, but it would have been cool.

Overall, this was a nice anniversary issue. It showed some of the old and some of the then new. Well, I’m done with this stuff. Still, there’s one more thing I have to answer about the character. Peace, God bless, and hope your counterpart isn’t some evil villain.


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