Monday, April 20, 2009

Single Issue Hall of Fame: Brave and the Bold #165

This one ranks right up there as one of my all-time favourite comic books. First of all, you get a double dose of classic Batman artists. On the cover, Jim Aparo delivers a very dramatic scene that simply dares the reader not to pick it up. On the inside, we get wonderful work by Don Newton. His atmospheric work really lends itself to a Man-Bat story. Man-Bat has always appealed to me, even as a young child. He could have been just another gimmicky DC super-villain, but the editors of the various Bat-titles ensured that he was injected with just the right mixture of danger and pathos to make him stand out from the rest. He is a tragic figure, in the mold of the Frankenstein monster - although he is also the creator. This is a great, great tale - written by Martin Pasko. It delves into medical ethics and the lengths to which parents will go for their child (something I am just beginning to appreciate). Batman is once again forced to walk to fine line of helping the Langstrom family while protecting Gotham from Man-Bat. From the opening sequence featuring a truck chase to the highly poignant and ironic closing frames - this story flows beautifully and holds up well 30 years later.

3 comments:

The Titan said...

Isn't Man-Bat just an ersatz Lizard? Innocent scientist using an animal serum to correct a handicap and turning into the animal? Although I doubt the Lizard is the first of those, even.

Scott M said...

They are totally different. You see, the Lizard lives in Florida and Man-Bat doesn't. Also, the Lizard has a son, and Man-Bat has a daughter. Finally, I don't think Mrs. Connors ever became a She-Lizard. See - totally different. Although, I sure would have loved to see Frank Robbins draw the Lizard.

Andrew Wahl said...

Scott:

Just got done reviewing this one myself. I didn't like it as much as you but certainly enjoyed it. I agree that Newton's style fits the atmosphere of Batman well, but I find his storytelling and page design to be awkward at times.

Andrew

P.S. I'd like to second your desire to have seen Frank Robbins on the Lizard! That's a comic I'd buy in a second.