In times long past, they were called by many names. The Fair Folk. The Fomor. The De Danann. Or, quite simply, the Faeries or Fae. Whatever name they were known by, they were a part of the world of The Celts until, much like their Greek cousins, they chose to seal themselves and their home in Tir Na Nog off from Man’s World.
Now, necessity has driven Cernunnos Cernach – the god of fertility and the hunt – from his resting place. Many of his people grow restless, seeing their sanctuary as a prison after so long locked away from the world of Man. He hopes to find one who among the mortals who may negotiate a peace between the faerie factions who threaten war over whether or not to abandon Tir Na Nog and reenter the world of man. To that end, he seeks out one whose tales have reached his ear even in exile – a woman born of his Greek cousins, who walks between the worlds of god and man – Diana of Themyscira.
At the same time, half a world away, Batman has his own concerns, seemingly unconnected to the coming faerie war. People in the Irish quarter of Gotham City are falling prey to some mysterious condition that leaves them wandering the streets in confusion…
This first chapter of Liam Sharp’s The Brave And The Bold is a solid introduction to one of the most fascinating story ideas I’ve seen in a Western comic in recent memory. While this first issue is decidedly light on action and the plotting moves at a leisurely pace, this suits Sharp’s story which has quite a lot to develop before we reach the first major plot point.
There’s no clear connection between the Batman and Wonder Woman halves of the story so far but this can be easily forgiven since Sharpe does a fantastic job with a series of wonderful character-building scenes. The best of these centers upon the romance between Diana and Steve Trevor and shows that for all her selflessness and desire to help others, even Wonder Woman would dearly lovely to quit being a hero for the sake of love. It’s a nice touch that makes Diana seem simultaneously more real as a person and more noble as a hero.
The leisurely pace also allows us more time to savor Liam Sharp’s fantastic artwork. Those who are familiar with Sharpe’s work on Wonder Woman are well-familiar with the intricate level of detail he puts into every panel, seemingly without effort. The color art by Romulo Farjardo Jr. is equally impressive, giving the finished artwork an epic aspect that evokes images of the Irish countryside with every panel. Attention must also be paid to Troy Peteri, who offers up some wonderfully complex lettering.
The only real flaw to The Brave and The Bold is that so much of this first chapter is devoted to setting things up, that it seems to breeze by too quickly. I suspect this series may read better in its eventual trade-paperback collection. As a monthly book, however, it is far from bad and well worth checking out, especially if you’re a Wonder Woman fan or like Celtic mythology.