Brave and the Bold (vol.3) #16 (October, 2008)
Writer – Mark Waid
Artist – Scott Kolins
Colorist – Rob Schwager
Letterer – Rob Leigh
Editor – Joey Cavalieri
Cover Price: $2.99
Living up to our “random review” mission statement today… just reached into my still-stuffed “to be filed” box, and plucked out… this very issue.
We open in Gotham City, where the Bat-Signal is illuminating the night sky. Commissioner Gordon is surprised to find that it isn’t Batman responding to the call tonight… instead, it’s Superman! Gordon fills him in on some goings-down concerning an Underworld Auction in Gotham, however, before he can finish his thought, Superman hears an alarm ping off in the distance. He excuses himself and sees to it. Gordon is taken aback by Superman’s politeness… and considers whether or not a transfer to Metropolis might do him good.
Superman speeds across the city, to find… duh, Catwoman breaking into a vault. A vault, which houses a large golden egg.
Superman winds up triggering the vault-sensors, which gives him quite a jolt… not that it really affects him all that much, but it does give a split-second’s distraction… long enough for Catwoman to (think she’ll) get away. Catwoman makes a run for it, while sharing a somewhat pervy monologue on what she might do with the Man of Steel.
He tells her to ‘splain… and so, she does. Ya see, she was only trying to steal that “Horse Egg” because she needed it in order to get herself into the Underworld Auction… it apparently takes a million bucks (in cash or “goods”) to get inside… and tonight’s top item is one she cannot miss. Turns out they’re auctioning off a map… to some hidden cave right outside Gotham! Ruh-roh.
Upon hearing this, Superman rushes off to Atlantis… where he plucks a necklace off of a statue, which he values at well over a million dollars. This oughta get ’em in!
Buuuut, they certainly can’t go in looking like Superman and Catwoman… and so, we get a “dressing down” montage. It’s cute, but completely predictable… Superman is dressed down to look, ya know, exactly like Clark Kent. Selina doesn’t notice… which, stands to reason… not sure how familiar she’s supposed to be with a mild-mannered reporter from Metropolis… but, you’d figure somebody in Gotham might recognize him, right?
The pair make their way into the auction, and are seated just as item fourteen is put up for bids. It’s a joker playing card coated in jen-you-wine Joker venom. How ’bout that? The single card goes for ten-grand. Just imagine if it were CGC slabbed!
Finally, the map is put up for bid… however, it’s right about now that the Atlantean necklace starts to crumble… ya see, the atmosphere topside ain’t exactly ideal for its suppleness… suppledy… suppleocity, you know what I mean.
As Clark worries about the necklace, the auctioneer describes the item up for bids. This map is to… not the Batcave, but to Clayface’s hidden grotto!
Just then, the necklace goes to pieces… or dust, if you prefer. The auction-goons surround Clark and proceed to pound on him with baseball bats… which, goes about as well as you might imagine. Once the “S” is spotted, the place clears out… including Selina Kyle.
Superman rushes the stage to try and get some info out of the auctioneer… but he ain’t spillin’. Also, he knows Superman won’t really hurt him, so he doesn’t have all that much to lose anyway… just jail time, and I suppose that comes with the gig. Superman tries to “Bat-up” his dialogue… but, well… you know.
Nearby he hears a woman shouting into her cell phone. This woman knows that Catwoman has stolen the map, and it headed to the grotto in order to get herself some Clayfacey powers. Superman is able to (somehow) track the phone call from cell tower to cell tower, and discover who she is speaking with. That’s a pretty interesting use of super-hearing… not one I recall seeing before (or perhaps, since).
We shift scenes over to the grotto, and sure ’nuff… Catwoman is being attacked by a trio of Clayfaces. Superman shows up and takes the wind out of their sails… and lungs!
Then, it’s lecture time! Superman feels as though Catwoman used him in order to get her hands on the Clayface-pool-water. She’s all, “nuh-uh”… and explains that she just wanted to find the place in order to destroy it. Three seconds later… t’ings go boom.
We rejoin our heroes atop a building in Gotham City. Catwoman gives Superman a peck on the cheek, and suggests maybe they hang out again real soon… perhaps even in Metropolis… and, ya know what… maybe she’ll bring a friend. Superman’s eyes widen… and he suggests she just leave.
As a parting shot, we see that Catwoman does have a sample of the grotto water… but, unfortunately for her, Superman sees it too.
Well, this was a lot of fun, wasn’t it?
It isn’t all that often we get to see a Superman/Catwoman team-up. There’s probably plenty of good reasons for that, but I’m glad they had the chance to work together here.
As a “one-off”, I mean… this was a blast. It sorta teeters on “silly” without falling over the edge… and is lighthearted enough as to not feel draining. It’s Superman sorta as a fish-outta-water, working in his buddy’s city… alongside one of his buddy’s “associates”.
I remember when I was growing up, for whatever reason I thought it might be cool to have Batman and Superman swap titles… like, give Batman six-months on Action Comics, and have Superman in Detective Comics. It might also be fun to have them swap cities for a month or two… looks like, at the very least… Jim Gordon might certainly appreciate the change!
The bait-and-switch on the “cave outside Gotham” was handled incredibly well. I never read this one before now, and didn’t see the twist coming. I truly expected it to be that someone discovered the Batcave… and Selina was going to wind up considering use of lethal force in order to contrast “Gotham” methods with Superman’s.
I think my only real “ehh” moment here is, having Superman change clothes… and look exactly like Clark Kent. I know it’s supposed to be a “funny, ha-ha” for us… but, ehhhhh… even though I’m “in on” the joke, it just comes across as a little too “cute”.
Overall… throw this in any random stack of comics, and chances are… this’ll be the most fun one there. Scott Kolins’ art is really fantastic, and he delivers some great facial expressions to depict Superman’s reactions toward his temporary teammate. Definitely worth a look. For your convenience, this bugger is available digitally.