Classic Comics Cavalcade: An Unusual Team Up In ‘The Brave And The Bold’ #85

by Tony Thornley

Truly kicking off our month of team-ups, we knew it had to be special. So why not an issue of The Brave and the Bold that features early work by one of the artists destined to leave a huge, lasting mark on both of the issue’s leads?

The Brave and the Bold is probably the comics industry’s second-most famous team-up series (though it didn’t start as such). Much like it’s Marvel counterpart, it featured DC’s flagship character – Batman- teaming up with another hero on a monthly basis. Sometimes it was big name heroes like the Flash and Wonder Woman (but not Superman due to the ongoing World’s Finest), other times, not so much (like Metamorpho and Deadman).

Either way it made for some memorable moments, especially when written by Bob Haney. The writer was infamous for silly and over-the-top plots, but they were all at least entertaining. For a significant portion of his run on the title, he was joined by arguably one of the first superstar artists, Neal Adams, and a popular creative team, including Dick Giordano, Ben Oda, and Murray Boltinoff.

This issue is a prime example of Haney’s work. Simply put, this story doesn’t make a lot of sense. When a US Senator from Gotham is shot, Bruce Wayne is appointed to the US Senate in his place, just in time for voting on a sweeping anti-crime bill. Meanwhile Oliver Queen’s is trying to buy a parcel of land for development. These two heroes are about to have their worlds collide.

The art is undeniably great. This is Adams just as he was hitting it big and Giordano’s inks were always exceptional. There’s a reason Giordano’s career spanned decades, and his ink line over Adams’ pencils here shows his talent at supporting the pencillers without overshadowing them. This is also Adams doing great work on two characters that he would eventually become best known for.

As for the story… it’s a fun popcorn story, but not much else. It really doesn’t have any internal logic, and the plot is completely undone by the end of the issue. And this plot is packed. There’s a massive development project that’s never mentioned again, a crime lord who’s of no consequence, a status quo change for Batman that could be interesting if it wasn’t undone by the end of the issue and more. It even includes both Bruce and Ollie revealing their identities to the same person independently of each other… and said character using hypnosis to erase it by the end of the issue.

Is it worth checking out? Absolutely. It looks great, and the story isn’t BAD– it’s just weird and overstuffed. Even better, it’s a fun artifact of a bygone era.

The Brave and the Bold #85 is readily available in digital, and is collected in various editions that are still available, both in digital and print.

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