By J. Michael Straczynski (writer), Jesus Saiz (artist)
The Story: Finding himself reborn in a world that no longer cares for the values he fought for and believed in, Brother Power strives once more to try and make a difference.
The Good: With every issue released, it’s clear to see that Straczynski and Saiz have chosen to diverge wildly from the standard superhero fare of their predecessors. Which isn’t to say that this is not another superhero book, because it clearly is, but rather that they are creating stories that are about ideas and themes more than brightly colored men and women hitting each other repeatedly. I like that, and wish we had more stories that had something to say. Saiz’s art is sleek and reliable and a consistent delight to look at. Frankly, if I had one complaint about his art at this point it’s that he hasn’t had a chance yet to turn it up to eleven, because I think he definitely has the chops to deliver some truly stunning images.
The Not So Good: This issue didn’t quite work for me. For a comic that touts its ability to pair heroes together, Batman and Brother Power may as well have been each starring in their own issues. They were practically strangers throughout this book, and even Batman is so confused over how to deal with the reanimated peacenik that he makes Brother Power promise to stay out of trouble before leaving to take care of more important things. They eventually reunite by the end of the story, but there was only the most superficial interaction between the two of them and it left me feeling like Straczynski had wasted an opportunity to explore the ideologies of these two by the way they interact with each other. The theme here implies that the times they are a changin’, but that Brother Power will keep coming back until we remember the lessons of peace he lived and died for. But that seems like a lost cause when it took Brother Power forty years to be reborn for this issue. At that rate, how long before his efforts pay off?! I would have liked to see JMS spend less time characterizing Brother Power as a displaced monster and more time explaining why he feels compelled to fight for the values of the 60s no matter what year he is reborn into.
Conclusion: The Brave and the Bold was a miss for me this month. It felt like JMS and Saiz had the right ideas in mind, but couldn’t connect them to tell the kind of quality story they are known for.