In this collection JMS explores different story dynamics with different characters in one issue long story arcs that has little to no restraints from continuity.
How is it?
Team-ups of the Brave and the Bold is a collection of 7 independent stories, so lets look at each one of them.
Death of a HeroDial H for Hero and Batman star in a story that dwells into what it takes to be a hero. Sometimes its only a matter of opportunity. When a common criminal gets his hands on the Dial H for Hero's special dial and turns into a superman he gets that opportunity.
This is a good story with a moral tag line that is entertaining without being preachy.
This is a cool concept but needed more than a single issue to get to the point where the twist made any impact. As it is its a bit boring to be honest.
Lost Stories of Today, Yesterday and TomorrowBatman meets a revived and confused Brother Power/The Geek in the streets of Gotham. BP/Geek is a living mannequin with a 60s view of the world. Unavoidably he get disillusioned when seeing how the world really is. Batman has a "don't judge a book by its cover" moment.
This is one of my favorite stories. I love tragic characters, and BP/Geek is one of those characters. But like Firing Line this could be a great story if it had a few more issues to grow.
The Green & the Gold
This is the second least meaningful story in the bunch, but one I quite enjoyed.
Small ProblemsThe Atom is summoned to aid some doctors in operating a sick man from inside the brain. Without their help that man will die a slow and painful death. The problem his that man is the Joker. Of course the Atom won't let anyone die, even the Joker, so he jumps right into the Joker's mind. But the electrical discharges of the Joker neurons are hitting the Atom and transferring the Joker's memories to him. Get a glimpse at the Joker before he was the Joker and find out how is this going to affect the Atom.
This one wins the best plot of the book award. It is quirky and unpredictable and very fun to read.
Its entertaining enough but in the end its very forgettable.
Ladies NightThis is the only story in this book where some continuity knowledge is required in order to get the punch in the gut JMS delivers in the end. Wonder Woman, Zatanna and Batgirl go out to paint the town red on a girls night out of a lifetime. This story has the biggest impact of all that are collected in this book.
Jesus Saiz does a great job in the art department. While his art is better suited to the dark and gritty Gotham environments, it did well portraying the deep seas and the other settings. He draws a glorious Dr. Fate. I loved the faces he draws. Especially in the last story when he conveys the joy of the girls in one panel and the deep sadness of a shared secret in the next.
This is not a must have book by any means. Its not relevant in any iteration of the DC Universe nor does it contain very deep or though provoking stories. It is however loads of fun to read. I bought it originally because of the Dr. Fate story (there are so few of those, and I'm a sucker for magic) and I'm glad I did. Most of the stories are really good, even if some could use some more pages to better tell their tale.
So, you don't "have" to buy this book, but if you're looking for something entertaining, free of the shackles of continuity, then give this one a try.
Publisher: DC Comics
Authors: J. Michael Straczynski, Jesus Saiz
Originally Published at Reading Graphic Novels http://readinggraphicnovels.blogspot.com/2013/02/review-team-ups-of-brave-and-bold.html