Brave and the Bold evolved into a Batman-centric series that featured plenty of guest team-ups – all to the book’s benefit.
Team-up comics used to be a regular fixture with super-heroes. At one point, Marvel and DC each had two series of team-ups every month. One of the best came from DC in the Brave and the Bold. It wasn’t created as a team-up book, but evolved naturally.
The stroke of genius came when the title went from a try-out format that debuted the Justice League, Teen Titans, Suicide Squad, and Metamorpho to a Batman-centered series with guest stars. Occasionally, stories would carry over, but it wasn’t until the third series that a continuous story was attempted over multiple issues.
10 Kid Flash, Aqualad, and Robin (Brave and the Bold #54)
The first appearance of the Teen Titans by Bob Haney and Bruno Premiani was presented as a normal team-up. Rescuing teenagers from Mr. Twister showcases all three heroes equally. Robin stands out when he defeats the villain. The three heroes work so well together. It’s not surprising that DC made their trio a team. The importance of this issue makes up for any Silver Age weaknesses the story has.
9 Legion of Substitute Heroes and the Inferior Five (Brave and the Bold Vol. 3 #35)
The very last issue of the 2010s series was one of its best. The previous issue had the Legion of Super-Heroes teaming up with the Doom Patrol to stop a sun-eater. The next featured the Legion of Substitute Heroes trying to gain credibility by stealing a time bubble to upstage them.
It goes a bit awry when they recruit the Inferior Five to help. When the Substitute Heroes are the straight men in a comedy team-up, something special is happening. There’s a bit of humor caused by the teams’ ineptitude and a little bit of double-entendre for good measure.
8 Batman and Metamorpho (Brave and the Bold #68)
Sometimes the cover of a Silver Age comic can be so absurd that it makes the issue legendary. However, past the hilariously silly cover is a solid story by Bob Haney, with art by Mike Sekowsky. The Bat-Hulk is a creation of Batman’s three biggest foes – Joker, Penguin, and the Riddler. Batman recruits Metamorpho to help cure him of the Bat-Hulk.
The Bat-Hulk is a silly name given to a threat treated very seriously. Along the way, the three villains get captured by the two heroes. The solution is very simple, with the massive shock of lightning nullifying the Bat-Hulk chemicals.
7 Batman and the House of Mystery (Brave and the Bold #93)
It could be argued that every issue of Brave and the Bold drawn by Neal Adams deserves re-reading. This issue, written by Denny O’Neil, shows why he and Adams were able to craft so many great comics between their work with Batman, Green Lantern, and Green Arrow.
Cain from the House of Mystery narrates a tale that takes Batman to an Irish island. The story is a true mystery with wonderful characterization from O’Neil. Brave and the Bold #93 is grounded for Batman. but keeps an air of the supernatural with enough unexplained to baffle even the Dark Knight Detective.
6 Batman and the Legion of Super-Heroes (Brave and the Bold Vol. 3 #5)
Mark Waid and George Pérez had a terrific run on the 2009 Brave and the Bold. Their first story even put Batman in the 31st century. There, the Legion of Super-Heroes made the mistake of underestimating the Dark Knight. In the chase, Batman shows up the various Legionnaires. Because Mark Waid was also writing the Legion’s book at the time, the depiction was consistent, something that often goes wrong in team-up stories.
5 Batman and Catwoman (Brave and the Bold #197)
The Earth-Two universe allowed writers to marry Batman to Catwoman, something that writers of the Earth-One Batman at the time could not do. In Brave and the Bold #197, Alan Brennert and Joe Staton told the story from Batman’s autobiography of how he came to marry Catwoman.
Pursuing Scarecrow leads a vulnerable Batman to recruit the retired Catwoman to help him. Over the course of their team-up, she confesses that her ex-husband’s abuse drove her to become a jewel thief. Their shared pain brings them together. Batman and Catwoman get to realize that they can be happy, and they can do it together.
4 Batman and Deadman (Brave and the Bold #79)
Bob Haney and Neal Adams wrote a team-up issue that did the perfect job of introducing Batman readers to Deadman. Batman takes on the case of finding Hook, the assassin that killed Deadman. Things dovetail into a killing that Batman drops to take Deadman’s case.
Of course, it is very intricately interwoven with the murder of Batman’s parents as well, and an eccentric millionaire on a crusade to clean up Gotham, including Batman’s removal. The story is wonderfully done, especially with Neal Adams’ very appealing and unique layouts.
3 Batman and the Batman of Earth-Two (Brave and the Bold #200)
The last issue of the initial series by Mike W. Barr and Dave Gibbons featured an unconventional team-up. Brimstone, a foe of the Earth-Two Batman, manages to send his mind to his Earth-One counterpart. Hijacking his double’s mind, his explosions spark riots in Gotham City. He lures Batman into a trap, seeking revenge on the Batman that thwarted him. In the end, his counterpart’s moral fiber sent his mind back to Earth-Two and a paralyzed body.
2 Atom and the Flash (Brave and the Bold #53)
With artwork by Alex Toth, Bob Haney’s story makes use of Atom and The Flash in a way that highlights both. Toth really shines through, crafting a believable alien world expanding to threaten Earth. Within that world, the Atom becomes more effective than the Flash. The Flash only has super-speed as the world expands. The day is saved by splitting the world, then forcing the expanding spheres to fuse back together.
1 Green Lantern and Supergirl (Brave and the Bold Vol. 3 #2)
When Mark Waid and George Pérez relaunched Brave and the Bold, they set out to tell a connected story through a series of team-ups. Probably the best series of moments comes with Green Lantern Hal Jordan and Supergirl. It starts with Kara innocently flirting with Hal Jordan and his thoughts reminding him of how young she is. He even remarks about Oliver Queen being the type to chase younger women.
It all culminates in Supergirl going undercover to draw out their criminal with the book of Destiny. Her masquerade as a naive challenger against deadly combatants gives Hal the chance to find him. All this follows a moment where Hal points out that even if she were older, everyone knows that they will have to deal with Superman if they break her heart.
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