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'Batman the Brave and the Bold', is a popular children's cartoon, currently showing on Cartoon Network, and this comic book is based directly on the Cartoon Network series. This series is clearly aimed at the younger fan, and includes a large number of other heroes from the DC Universe. To avoid confusion, I would mention that there is another series with the same name, which appears to be written for older fans, which can be purchased as individual comics or in a 'Showcase Presents' version.
This book collects issues 1-6 of the Batman the Brave in the Bold series which was released in the UK in March of 2010. This sells for £8.99 new from Amazon, or £7.99 from Amazon Marketplace ( including postage) with used copies currently costing significantly more than new. I purchased this used for roughly £5 though, so it is worth checking the site often to get the best prices. When we consider that new comics would usually sell for £2.99 -£3.50, even at the top prices this becomes a real bargain, and all the advertising is cut out as well.
This book contains 6 stories, the first of which is The Panic of the Composite Creature. There is a brief appearance from Aquaman at the beginning of this story, as he and Batman quickly defeat a large red robot called Carapax with the help of a friendly whale. Batman receives a call from Alfred and rushes off to London to save the Crown Jewels and the people of London from the Composite Creature. The illustrators seem to want to make very certain we don't miss the fact that this is taking place in London, so there are plenty of Union Jacks, a fellow in a bowler hat, the Underground sign and the obligatory red bus, well as the Tower of London and the Queen's Guards. Batman and Power Girl rush in to save the day, but they quickly discover the creature consists of ordinary Londoners. It is a huge blob with several mouths and eyes, but within it gelatinous structure, Power Girl can see the faces of many people, one of whom most politely requests "Would you mind not punching me in the face? I'm in already in a bit of a spot, don't you know". Batman and Power Girl can not directly attack the creature without harming innocents, so they must find out who is controlling it.
In all honesty I found the attempts to convince us this was London a bit too much. Surely the fact that the text tells us it is London, and we do see the Tower of London should be enough. I would certainly expect the double decker bus, but I found the attempts to imitate the London vernacular a bit too much. I have known a great many people from England, and I can't say any actually speak like that, but then no one says "Top O' the morning to ye", in Ireland either unless they are with an American tour group. Their attempt at having the Queen ape Americanism's is also terrible - but in a so terrible it is funny way. But all complaints aside, it is still a fun quick story, and my sons both enjoyed it.
The next story is the Attack of the Virtual Villains. When creatures from a popular video game emerge into the real world, Batman must enter their realm to defeat the Thinker. He needs an expert on video games though, so he turns to the Blue Beetle ( who happens to be a teenager as well). This was my oldest son's favourite story in this collection, with plenty of action and children saving the day.
Issue 3 begins with Batman and Wonder Woman in a very short battle with a whole array of famous villains, including Scarecrow, the Joker, and Two Face. It continues with a threat to kidnap the President. Batman takes the president's place to foil the evil Ultra Humanite in what I consider the best story of this book. This was also very popular with both of my children, and the ending is excellent.
Issue 4, The Menace of the Time thief sees Batman turned into a toddler. Only the help of two new allies in Day Care can help turn the tables on Felix Faust. This section is short, but is still the favourite of my youngest son. The rest of the story sees Dr Cyber meddling with the fabric of time. It has a mix of dinosaurs, Roman soldiers and knights in a fast moving tale with plenty of action. Aquaman joins in the fight, all the more motivated when his wife is turned into a neanderthal.
The main story in issue 5 is The Case of the Fractured Fairytale. The Queen of Fables is abducting children and holding them captive in a castle no adult may enter. Thankfully Captain Marvel's alter ego, Billy Batson is still a child. This story has combines elements from several children's fairy tales, including the white rabbit, the magic bean stock and my favourite, the flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz.
The final story is the charge of the Army Eternal. General Immortus is trying to build an army of soldiers from the past, including what appear to be Spartan warriors, knights, Viking Raiders, and American outlaws from the old west. They all go awol and Batman must clean up the mess with some help from Kid Eternal.
This book was purchased after reading the Amazon blurb which claims that Plastic Man appears in this. Plastic Man is shown on the cover, and features in the series, but he is not in the book. I honestly do not think the blurb writer has read the book, and if he were reviewing for dooyoo, I'm afraid I'd give him a NU.
All the same, I am very glad I bought the book. We enjoyed it so much I bought the second in the series ( which thankfully does have Plastic Man) and have ordered the third. The artwork is cartoon like, which is fair enough as this is based on a cartoon, but it good. The paper is a rougher, cheaper paper than one would find in graphic novel, but this is certainly to keep costs down, and keep this priced for children to read. The stories are light hearted and very funny. My sons are ages 7 and nearly 4 and both love this. It has been read a number of times at bedtime, and my oldest has read it himself several more times. It currently ranks as a very favourite book for both boys - which makes story time easier for me :) . I would highly recommend children from ages 3- 10 who like Batman, especially if they are fans of the Brave and Bold cartoon. I would caution that this book is suitable only for children who are used to handling books carefully though. Even at age 3, my youngest is very careful with books and my oldest keeps his treasured comics carefully bagged in a special case which he can take along wherever we might go. The paper is very thin, and very much like the newsprint type of paper that was used in comics when I was young. This would tear very easily with rough handling. I would also note, that while this is written for children, it does contain a number of more difficult words a new reader may be less familiar with such as "bacillus", "behemoth", and "flummoxed", and as it to be expected with comics, the print is small.
As an adult, I can't say that I would read this on my own. I have really taken to many of the comics and graphic novels, but this is very clearly aimed at a much younger audience. I would not consider this for an adult who collects comics.