Monday, December 30, 2013

"The End" Week: the Brave and the Bold #200!

Sometimes, a comic is cancelled less because of sales, than the feeling that it's perhaps going out of fashion, or to clear the schedule for something new. Like this issue, another cancelled Batman book! How is that guy still around...Brave and the Bold #200, "Smell of Brimstone, Stench of Death!" Written by Mike W. Barr, art of Dave Gibbons, inks by Gary Martin.

Although this was a team-up book, the heroes don't meet this time: the Batman of Earth-2 in 1955, and Earth-1's Batman in the present 1983. The villain, a hood using the nom de plume Brimstone, uses hell-themed gimmicks like white phosphorous capsules; but is no match for Batman and Robin. Batman escapes from Brimstone's death-pit, but Brimstone is clonked on the head and put into a coma for 28 years. Revived by an experimental treatment, Brimstone is furious over his aged, decrepit body; but a grinning senior citizen Joker gives him the bad news: Batman was already dead.

But Brimstone had an ace up his sleeve: as a child, he was aware of another Nicholas Lucien, his counterpart on Earth-1, who was as good as Brimstone was evil. Transferring his consciousness to the Earth-1 version, Brimstone begins a new crime spree, starting with random bombings. As Batman works the case, he doesn't realize Brimstone's whole goal is a rematch for revenge, since they've never met. After a trap with goons and "hellebore flower," Brimstone puts Batman in a updated version of his death-pit, which Batman escapes again; and after another clonk on the head Brimstone is forced back into his own body, to live out his days as a vegetable.

The rest of this issue was a preview for Brave and the Bold's replacement, Batman and the Outsiders. Enh.

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