RandoMonday: The Brave and the Bold #184

Here’s a comic chosen at random from my collection.

Brave and the Bold #184 by Mike W. Barr (w), Jim Aparo (a & cover), and Adrienne Roy (c)

Ok, I cheated a bit. This is not an issue that was picked by the randomizer, but I pulled out a few Christmas related/themed issues from my collection in preparation for a guest spot on the Heroes and Villains podcast and this was one of them. So I “randomly” chose it to spotlight today.

This is one of my favorite late Bronze Age Batman stories, mostly for the appearance of the Earth-2 Huntress. The story opens with Batman having just dropped off a bunch of presents at the Gotham Childrens Home. Holy St. Nick, Batman! Anyway, Huntress visits her “Uncle” Bruce because she doesn’t want to spend the holidays alone (what does that say about her relationships back home, eh?). (Side note: I love how Mike Bar and Jim Aparo take two panels to explain the whole multiverse concept to a possible new reader, and you know what? I think it works perfectly and simply. Take that multiverse detractors!) She appears just in the nick (see what I did there?) of time because Batman, after apprehending a thief who stole some accounting records belonging to a mobster, discovers that his father bankrolled the very same mobster, “Spurs” Sanders. Batman has a crisis of faith, but after talking to Helena, they go off to investigate. After talking to a Wayne family accountant whose records seems to corroborate the claim that Daddy Wayne was EVIL, Bruce decides that he can no longer be Batman. Of course, this doesn’t last long, and he figures out that his father was framed by the very same accountant he spoke with earlier via a very flimsy finger tapping tick the accountant has that Bruce remembers from when he was a boy–yeah, I find that hard to believe as well. Regardless, at the end and with Huntress nearby, Batman stands at his parents’ graves and rededicates his life to “warring on all criminals”. On the last page is also a scroll listing the names of DC staffers who wish us a Merry Christmas. I wonder how many other comics out at the same time has this scroll?

I loved looking through this dog-eared issue (I need to buy a replacement copy some time) because of the Jim Aparo art–his Batman was MY Batman for many years. No one can draw Batman so simply and effectively as Aparo in my mind. And Adrienne Roy’s skill as color artist graced many a comic I read from this time period–the industry is much poorer without her.

What comics will be featured in 2014? Tune in, same Bat-day, same Bat-blog to find out!

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