Graphic Novel Reviews

The Brave and the Bold: The Lords of Luck

(2009/2007) Mark Waid and George Perez, Titan Books, 12.99, US$17.99, trdpbk, 160pp, ISBN 978-1-84576-649-0

This is the 2009 Titan edition of the 2007 DC collection of the trade paperback of the first six issues of the revamped, re-launched The Brave and the Bold title. Originally a long-running 'team-up' title for Batman, the new incarnation does not necessarily use him in every issue. Mark Waid is (or should be) familiar to readers as the writer behind 1996's Kingdom Come, amongst other things, with art by the excellent Alex Ross; George Perez, a long-time fan favourite, is probably best remembered as the artist from 1985's landmark series Crisis on Infinite Earths, written by Marv Wolfman. Both Waid and Perez are unabashed DC Universe freaks who are so in love with the characters that they try to cram as many of them as possible into their books, with a sense of history of the true devotee. This landmark re-launch is no exception as Batman and Green Lantern, science fictional characters in their own right, are plunged into a story which features an enormous cast of characters from the more SF-end of the DCU.

The plot begins with Batman and Green Lantern discovering the theft of Destiny's Book of Destiny (wherein everything past, present and future is written) by aliens; those with long memories will remember that before Destiny was pressed into service as one of Neil Gaiman's 'Endless' in Sandman, he first appeared back in 1972 in Weird Mystery Tales No. 1. (Yes, I am using notes: you do not think I keep all this stuff in my head, do you?). The heroes are forced to split up, Batman following one of the aliens on Earth, Green Lantern following the book and enlisting the aid of Supergirl (the second team-up). After adventures on an alien casino-planet the book is zeta-beamed to Rann, home of Adam Strange (who first appeared in Showcase before going on to 'star' in Mystery in Space), along with Green Lantern, leaving Supergirl stranded. Meanwhile, on Earth, Batman teams-up with the new Blue Beetle only to be attacked by 31st century villains the Fatal Five and the Lord of Time which, ultimately, gets Batman transported to the 31st century where, inevitably, he meets the Legion of Superheroes. Supergirl is forced to team-up with Lobo, the last Czarnian, in order to make her way to Rann and catch up with GL. Rann is still in 'civil war' following the destruction of Thanagar, but the Rannian general in possession of the Book of Destiny is, himself, a pawn of the Lords of Luck (whose 'history' in the DCU spans two decades, 1966-1988 if you want to look it up, or you can just look at Waid's notes in the back of this volume). The Lords of Luck want to re-write history to eliminate all possibility of 'chance', but there is a fly in the ointment: the men who never were... Which is another bunch of SF heroes that I won't name but who are, or should be, obvious to the older fans. In addition, there are countless cameos from other SF heroes and titles, all of it presented with the sheer joy of the creators' enthusiasm shining off of every page. There is mystery, adventure, horror, romance and, of course, humour. Lots and lots of humour, from the in-jokes that only the long-term fans will appreciate, to the embarrassing fun of watching Green Lantern remind himself over and over that the sexy half-T-shirt and mini-skirt wearing Supergirl is only seventeen. This was a great comeback and is recommended to all.

Tony Chester

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