The Brave & The Bold Index Part 16

The Brave & The Bold Index Part 16
Team-ups: The Long Goodbye Part 2
June 1979 – July 1983

1981
#170:   … & Nemesis. “…If Justice Be Blind”, Writer: CaryBurkett.
            The Head hires a killer to assassinate his contacts with the members of the Council. Then he has the assassin killed! Batman and Nemesis finally find The Head by finding the ex-Nazi scientist who brainwashed Craig. The Head turns out to be a criminal shot by Ben Marshall early in his career and forced to live the rest of his days in an iron lung. In a moment of truth, Nemesis refuses to kill The Head when he had the chance.
            A Batman comic’s back-up series teams up with Batman to finish a major story arc. Shades of Simonson’s Manhunter from Detective Comics
#171:   … & Scalphunter, “A Cannon for Batman”, Writer: Gerry Conway, Artist: Jose Luis Garcia Lopez (excellent and flawless art as usual from Lopez, but I would have lovedto see Aparo do Civil War battle scenes!).
            Bruce Wayne finds a Civil War campaign patch suspiciously similar to his bat symbol. Through hypnotist Professor Carter Nichols, Batman goes back in time to the Civil War (Nichols hypnosis technique was used by Batman in the 1940s and most recently in the Superfriends comic). Batman and Scalphunter help Martha Jennings, “the Florence Nightingale of the Civil War”, deliver medicine to the Union forces, if they can get past the Confederate Army! Wah dew awl thuh nawthun soljerz tawk with a suthun ache-cent?
            Nemesis: “Double or Nothing”, (Burkett/Spiegle).  With The Head dead, Nemesis goes after the rest of the Council. His first job: stopping the rigged gambling house of M.C. Curtis – unless the pretty blond with the bomb stops Curtis first!
#172:   … & Firestorm, “Darkness and Dark Fire”, Writer: Gerry Conway, Artist: Carmine Infantino and Steve Mitchell.
            Firestorm is experiencing memory blackouts, and Batman investigates.  It seems the same explosion that created Firestorm gave the nuclear power plant sentience, and is slowly taking control of Firestorm’s mind.  Jason Bard, who appeared in only one panel in #165, has a larger role here.
            Infantino’s art is fair here (a rare thing at this time); in fact, his final battle between Firestorm and Batman (dressed in an asbestos suit) is fantastic!  His talent for drawing futuristic machinery never faded, but the rest of the art was angular and sketchy – his trademark in later days.  Does he draw faces with a T-square or something?
            Nemesis: “Pirate’s Peril”, (Burkett/Spiegle). After rescuing the lady from the casino, Nemesis chases Curtis to LA, where he foils Curtis’ video pirating racket.
#173:   … & Guardians of the Universe, “One of Us is Not One of Us”, Writer: Gerry Conway, Artist: Jim Aparo.
            Green Lanterns are missing!  One of the Guardians of the Universe is an imposter!  A Guardian comes to earth to enlist the help of the world’s greatest detective.  But first Batman must stop a jewelry theft ring.  “Very well,” sighs the Guardian, “let us go stop it, then.”  They eventually find Hal Jordan, revive his memory and discover Sinestro is behind it all!  On to Maltus, the Guardian’s home world!
            When someone suggested this as a team-up in the letter column of B&B #152, it was (nicely) called one of the strangest ideas ever submitted.  But here we are.  It is an excellent off-beat issue; Aparo’s art is at its best!  This is one of my favorites – full of dry humor.  The Guardian states, “… it seems odd that the law-breakers have left no one on guard!” And as a ship’s rigging smashes harmlessly against his skull, he says, “perhaps I spoke too soon!”  Wonderful!   This story continues in the next issue.
            Nemesis: “Knight’s Gambit”, Burkett/Spiegle.  English Council member Noel Chesterton is next on Nemesis’ hit list.  Why does Chesterton want to kidnap ex-RAF officer Sir Robert Greene?
#174:   … & Green Lantern, “To Trap an Immortal”, Writer: Gerry Conway, Art: Aparo.
            On Maltus, Green Lantern reunites with the Old Timer, the mortal Guardian from the classic Green Lantern/Green Arrow series #76 – 81.  The Old-Timer and Batman trick Sinestro into revealing himself, while GL goes for reinforcements – the entire Corps!  Sinestro takes over the minds of the Guardians, leading to “a battle that will live in legend as an epic”: Green Lanterns versus Guardians!  Well, they saidit is an epic battle; the readers couldn’t tell – the battle only lasted two pages…
            Nemesis: “Bishop’s Sacrifice”, Burkett/Spiegle.  Nemesis uncovers Chesterton’s plot – first he kidnaps a knight, his next victim is a bishop!  Is the queen next?
#175:   … & Lois Lane, “Heart of a Monster”, Writer: Paul Kupperberg, Artist: Aparo.
            Another oft-requested team-up comes to pass.  A high-ranking member of crime-terror organization Skull wants to turn himself in, unless Superman bad-guy Metallo gets to him first!
            Nemesis: “Queen: EnPrise”, (Burkett/Spiegle).  As Nemesis rescues his female companion Valerie and the kidnapped bishop mysteriously returns. Why?
#176:   … & Swamp Thing, “The Delta Connection”, Writer: Martin Pasko, Artist: Jim Aparo.  Excellent cover by Mike Kaluta (a non-Aparo cover being very rare!).
            Someone is killing off all the participants of a Gotham jewel heist from years before – and Felicia Kyle (Catwoman’s sister) is next!  (Un)Fortunately, she has escaped her Louisianaprison and has fled into the swamp.
            This was an unsuccessful attempt to relaunch a Swamp Thing title (that influential title reboot wouldn’t happen for two more years). “Created by Bob Kane” appears under Batman’s splash-page logo for the first time.
            Nemesis: “Endgame”, (Burkett/Spiegle).  Bishop takes Rook (sonic trap on the bishop knocks castle occupants unconscious)!  Knight takes Queen (fake Sir Robert Greene kidnaps Queen Elizabeth II)!  Fake Queen (Valerie in disguise) and Nemesis take Council-member Chesterton!  Will Nemesis mate Valerie?  Check!!
#177:   … & Elongated Man, “The Hangman Club Murders”, Writer: Mike W. Barr,   Artist: Jim Aparo, Dick Giordano begins as editor.
            This story was dedicated to Bill Finger and a very … er … Fingerish story.  A genuine whodunit, complete with a challenge to the reader to ID the killer before the heroes do! Who is killing fellow members of the Hangman Club – an organization of reformed criminals? Well, all but one member!
            Nemesis: “Honor Among Thieves”, (Burkett/Spiegle).  The next Council-member on Nemesis’ hit list is Samuel Soloman. Too bad Soloman captures Nemesis first!
#178:   … & Creeper, “Paper Chase”, Writer: Alan Bennett, Artist: Jim Aparo (who has said this was his favorite story in B&B!).
            A right-wing TV commentator’s hatred creates a living origami monster that kills off criminals, poor people, minorities and then goes after Jack (The Creeper) Ryder!
            Was that a Legion cruiser silhouetted against the moon?  Yes, this issue starts a brief tradition in B&B’s last years – each issue has a “clue” as to next issue’s guest.  Jim Aparo: “I’d find out who the next team-up would be and I’d start leaving a clue for the readers in the drawing to see if they could find it. That way the readers would know who was going to be coming next. If it was Green Arrow, I’d have an arrow lying around or stuck in a wall. I did it to make sure these kids were reading.”
            Nemesis: “The Bitter Choice”, (Burkett/Spiegle).  With a devise strapped to his chest that could stop his heart, Nemesis agrees to bring all other Council members to justice, leaving Soloman alone to rule!
            A shortened letter column only has room for one letter – the third letter to appear in Brave & Bold by T.M. Maple.  His letter was roundly mocked by Dick Giordano.  It made one wax nostalgic for the old days of Murray Boltinoff laughing at the fans.  No, actually it didn’t…
#179:   … & Legion of Super Heroes, “Time Bomb With the Thousand-Year Fuse”, Writer: Martin Pasko, Artist: Ernie Colon & Mike DeCarlo.  Price increases to 60 cents.
            Never say never. The Legion has been suggested for a B&B team-up with Batman as long as there has been a letter column in B&B. It was always laughed off as silly or “undoable”. Maybe they were right…
            In 1981, an impenetrable anti-matter egg, set to hatch (and explode) in 1000 years, is switched with a Gotham Citytime capsule by an evil 31st century scientist. This is all a plot by Legion villain Universo to destroy Metropolis! When the time capsule hatches…boom!
            Although well received according to later letter columns, to me it seemed very rushed and confusing, even at 25 pages. Why not simply open up the egg in the 20thcentury?  It was under lock and key in the 31st century to prevent just that! Why go back in time? This should have been a two-parter, or another 48-page “Special”.
            Jill Weber is mentioned in the letter column in the team-up round-up.
#180:   … & Spectre, “Scepter of the Dragon God”, Writer: Mike Fleisher, Artist: Jim Aparo. Fleisher and Aparo together again on the Spectre! They redefined the Spectre in Adventure Comics in the mid-1970s. If hyped, this issue would have been a mega-seller!
            One-third of the scepter is placed too close to the ashes of ancient wizard Wa’ar Zen, resurrecting him. Zen gathers the other two pieces and Spectre and Batman are too late to prevent him from becoming omnipotent. Well, almostomnipotent. Some of Fleisher’s dialogue for Batman didn’t ring true – Batman’s flippant “I did it with my little batarang.” And calling Zen “old buddy” were too out of character even for me!
            Nemesis: “Be Still My Trembling Heart”, (Burkett/Spiegle).  Nemesis finds the doctor who created the heart accelerator, and the doctor promptly turns on the devise, leaving Nemesis writhing on the floor!
#181:   … & Hawk & Dove, “Time See What’s Become of Me”, W: Alan Brennert, A: Aparo.
            An excellent story. B&B does something it hasn’t done in years – it makes a major change in a character (or two in this case). Here, it marks the end of two superhero’s careers! The art is also not to be believed. Aparo was inspired!
            Hank Hall (Hawk) has mentally broken down over the past 12 years and is losing control of his emotions. Don Hall (Dove) has become more and more passive. The “Presence” that gave Hawk & Dove their powers returns and realizes that giving Hawk & Dove their powers merely atrophied their humanity. So it strips Hawk & Dove of their powers to allow them to grow. Bad timing – Hawk has been kidnapped by a heroin kingpin!
            Nemesis: “Heartbreak”, (Burkett/Spiegle).  Nemesis subdues Dr. Rice and uses him as a disguise to again infiltrate Soloman’s mansion, where Nemesis deactivates the heart stimulator and puts it instead on Soloman himself!
1982
#182:   … & Robin (of Earth Two), “Interlude on Earth Two”, W: Alan Brennert, A: Jim Aparo.
            Another excellent story and art!  Intelligent and thought-provoking!  Two stories in a row that dealt more with emotion than violence – things that might have been, lost opportunities and second chances. Both should appear in any “best of …” compilation.
            Professor Hugo Strange steals Starman’s cosmic rod and threatens to decimate Gotham City. So great is the storm he creates that it causes a rift between earths, whisking Batman to Earth Two. Strange, having taken over the Batcave, assaults Batman, Robin and Batwoman with the batmobile, a Batman robot and other bat-weapons.  Robin is angry at Batman – for treating him as a junior partner (he points out that he and Batman are the same age and Robin has been fighting crime much longer) and considers Batman a rank imitator of the original. Robin is also mad at himself for thinking such things. Batman is angry at himself for forgetting how much he misses Batwoman (the Earth-One version is deceased). Batwoman is angry at herself for not telling Earth-Two Batman her true feelings, all the while trying not to fall in love with Earth-One Batman.  Can the three heroes overcome their jealousy, mourning and melancholy in time to stop Strange?
            Nemesis: “Enter: Greyfox”, (Burkett/Spiegle).  The three surviving Council members hire the Grey Fox – French assassin – to off Nemesis. The Fox’s only clue is Valerie’s brother in Las Vegas. In the terms of Marvel Role Playing Game this is known as the Disadvantage: Relative.
#183:   … & Riddler, “The Death of Batman”, W: Don Krarr, A: Carmine Infantino.
            Clues on a board game leads Batman to a kidnapped mystery writer. The Riddler receives clues too – he’s trying to find the fiend who’s stealing his modus operandi!
            Carmine Infantino art is typical Infantino at this time – very stylistic, to put it diplomatically. Takes some getting used to. Actually, this looks very much like one of his 1960s story. Hard-corps fans probably loved it, but it is somewhat stiff and distant.
            This is the Riddler’s first appearance in Brave & Bold since #68, fifteen years before. This plot – a villain going after an imitator – is done much better in #191.
            Nemesis: “Fox & Hounds”, (Burkett/Spiegle).  The Grey Fox hunts Nemesis through his stolen helicopter, Nemesis hunts the Grey Fox through his henchmen. A deadly confrontation builds on a lone airstrip.
#184:   … & Huntress, “The Batman’s Last Christmas”, W: Mike W. Barr, A: Aparo.
            In the first Christmas story since #148, Batman discovers evidence that his father bankrolled gangsters! Bruce decides since his father was a hypocrite, so was his entire career as Batman! Can the Huntress (visiting from Earth-Two for the holidays) convince Batman to put back the cape and cowl back on to find the truth?
            This is the third issue in a row featuring a character strictly from the Batman family. What gives? Are they trying to see if a new Bat-book might sell without a non-Batman Family guest star? Considering they only have sixteen issues left, it’s possible.
            Nemesis: “Outfoxed”, (Burkett/Spiegle).  The Grey Fox kidnaps the daughter of Barney (Nemesis’s mechanic) as bait. Nemesis is injured while rescuing the girl and Barney’s wild rifle shot causes the Grey Fox’s helicopter to explode!
Copyright (c) 2012 Michael G Curry

 

 
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