Title: The Brave and the Bold.
Story-Arc: Batman and Wonder Woman.
Writer(s): Liam Sharp.
Illustrator(s): Liam Sharp.
Colorist: Romulo Fajardo Jr..
Publisher: DC Comics.
Release Date: November 20th 2018.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.
What happens when the DC Universe collides with Celtic fantasy and mythology? Leave it to Liam Sharp to write and illustrate it for fans to discover in The Brave and the Bold: Batman and Wonder Woman. While remaining as loyal as humanly possible to Celtic myths and folklore, Liam Sharp looks to conjure an ambitious and beautiful story featuring the Princess of Themyscira and the Dark Knight of Gotham City. With the wonderful talents of colourist Romulo Fajardo Jr., they both deliver a six-part story arc, that is bound to be pursued later on, but begins the adventures within a realm filled with ancient Gods and faeries. Centered around a murder mystery, Liam Sharp doesn’t shy away from throwing readers right into tales and legends that are brought back into the light as things start to shaken up among these divine creatures.
The Brave and the Bold: Batman and Wonder Woman puts readers at the heart of the kingdom of Tir Na Nóg where ancient Celtic gods and faerie folk have lived on the brink of war for countless years. Upon discovering the murder of king Elatha, rage fills the factions, but Cernunnos Cernach, lord of fertility and the hunt, knows that a peacekeeper is needed to stop a war from brewing within their realm. It is in Diana Prince, commonly known among mortals and gods as Wonder Woman, that the solution is found. However, a murder also entails a mystery and there is no one other than the world’s greatest detective that could help resolve this conflict once and for all. As both Wonder Woman and Batman attempt to solve this puzzle, a larger scheme is at play and the impending danger that roams over Tir Na Nóg only seems more and more inevitable.
As much as the concept sounds phenomenal with the death of a king in a fantasy realm that connects with the real world, a death that could potentially lead to an all-out war between factions, Liam Sharp’s story-telling skills are rough and unrefined. A lot of the story is info-dumped and very little dialogue truly capture the essence of the Celtic folklore. With some characters speaking with a very rich vocabulary worthy of a poet, others sound dull and lifeless. Even with Batman there seemed to be a heavy focus on his detective skills, which was appreciated since the overlook of it in many other stories out there has been saddening, but the attention put into him trying to figure out a magical universe through logic and deduction seemed off. There’s also an overall lack of intrigue in the murder mystery itself and there’s nothing that could’ve been done to really make it work besides restructuring the whole story and taking more time to do it.
The upside to this volume is honestly the artwork. Although it pains me to see that it isn’t complimented by great writing, it remains a delight to see an original panel structure being used, a lot of detail put into the setting and an integrated grandeur in certain characters. There is no doubt in how much talent Liam Sharp has in creating these fantasy beings, but the rushed story only dampens the boldness of this title. Nonetheless, the idea of merging Celtic folklore with DC’s mythology is one that holds a lot of promise and one can only hope that the next volume will do a significantly better job both in direction and in execution. Although deep inside I would’ve preferred if this had been a stand-alone story with no sequels, we will have to have hope in the plan envisioned.
The Brave and the Bold: Batman and Wonder Woman is an ambitious yet beautiful story arc looking to plunge DC Comics within the realms of ancient Celtic gods yet struggles to be coherent and thorough.