BRAVE AND THE BOLD, MISTER MIRACLE & THE TEEN TITANS -
The Brave and the Bold #105 - Mister Miracle #12 - Teen Titans #43
|When two rival Hispanic groups take their violent conflict to thre streets of Gotham City, Batman enlists the aid of Wonder Woman to help him find the cause by infiltrating one of the factions. They soon find out that it is the civil war raging in the small nation of San Sebastian spilling over into Gotham. After having enough information to determine who is good (the revolutionaries) and who is bad (the corrupt leaders of San Sebastian), Batman and Wonder Woman bring down a plot which involved smuggling parts for fighter jets into the country to help the dictatorship. After defeating the mastermind behind the operation, Batman turns over the parts to the rebels.|
|A swift and entertaining
tale served up by seasoned Brave and the Bold
team Haney and Aparo, this team-up has the added
curiosity factor that Wonder Woman was
"depowered" between September 1968 (Wonder
Woman #178) and November 1972 (Wonder Woman
#203), during which time she was simply Diana Prince,
adventurer extraordinary. And just as she was being
returned to star-spangled hot pants and golden lasso in
her own mag, she teamed up with Batman for a last outing
in civilian clothes.
Not that DC continuity mattered in any way to "Zaney" Bob Haney (1926 - 2004) - he simply wrote the Darknight Detective's team-up adventures the way he felt like doing, sometimes in outright contradiction to established DC Universe and even core Batman conventionalities. So much so that Haney's Brave and the Bold Batman would be deemed to not be the Batman from Earth-One (i.e. within Silver and Bronze Age continuity) but rather a Batman living in an alternate reality: "Earth-B" - a term coined by Bob Rozakis (Eury, 2013), a fan turned pro who, incidentally, had a letter published in this issue.
You could hardly ask for more - plus you got two more comics to go in this Super Pac.
|In that respect, Mister
Miracle #12 is a bit of a hidden gem in this Super
Pac as Mister Miracle is challenged to a death-duel
against Mystivac, a mysterious robot who has already
given him a hypnotically induced subconscious death wish.
However, aided by his wife Big Barda, the escape artist
knocks out Mystivac and learns his opponent's secret: he
is actually an alien.
What may sound a bit lame and somewhat cheesy in plain text synopsis actually makes for a well paced and entertaining read spread out over 22 pages. It's a self-contained comic book adventure (as the cover splash is eager to point out too, though this effect was, of course, lost to buyers of this Super Pac) which is highly entertaining - typically Kirbyesque but in palatable doses even for those who don't care too much about Kirby's storytelling or, for that matter, artistic style. And from today's perspective, Mister Miracle #12 is a real gem of an early 1970s comic book to have in pretty much mint condition anyway. Plus I feel certain that had I been given this Super Pac at the time I would have been thrilled by this example of the "surprise comic book in the middle".
|First published in
January/February 1966, this is actually the final
installment of the series which was cancelled after this
issue (after a hiatus of almost four years the series
would be relaunched in November 1976, continuing the
numbering). This makes Teen Titans #43 a special
curiosity from a DC publishing history perspective,
although in terms of content the cancellation seems
hardly surprising as this is by far the weakest comic
book in the 1973 A-1 Super Pac. The story kicks off in
mid-action (which was probably okay for younger readers
at the time who could do without the logics of a plot
build-up) and demands nothing but complete suspension of
belief. Highly fabricated and with logical loopholes
galore, it's an all together forgettable read. The
artwork is solid but just as uncaptivating as the story.
Here, the backup (which has its share of illogical plot
elements too) differs as Ernie Chan ("Chua" in
the credits and the editorial notes - which by the way
fail to mention this being the last issue, so they
probably didn't see it coming yet) delivers one of his
earliest artwork for DC Comics; he would later help shape
the visuals of Batman during the mid 1970s.
Originally, the concept of the Teen Titans series revolved around the protagonists helping fellow teenagers from around the world, and author Bob Haney tried to link up to hip youth culture by calling the Teen Titans the "Cool Quartet", the "Fab Foursome" or the "Whiz Kids" (as per this issue's cover). This didn't go down well with some observers who felt it was "strained" (Daniels, 1995) - and possibly just not in line with DC's rather more conservative house style and tone compared to main competitor Marvel's hip lingo and ramblings. Whatever, Teen Titans never enjoyed more than modest success on the salesfront, and the only reason imaginable why it was inserted into this Super Pac as one of the two visible comic books would seem to lie with Robin, who would bring up images of Batman even amongst unseasoned buyers.
DANIELS Les (1995) DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes, Bulfinch
EURY Michael (2013) "The Batman of Earth-B", in Back Issue #66 (August 2013), TwoMorrows Publishing
posted on the web 11 December 2013