On Tuesday night, I was at the mall with my girlfriend and we stopped by the food court for dinner. She went for sushi, while I opted for some KFC since, here in Canada, they have a promotion called Toonie Tuesday (named after the nickname for our two dollar coin) where you get two pieces of chicken and fries for nearly three bucks (it was named years ago when it actually only cost a toonie). I waited in line for five minutes or so since it was busy (and slow), but when I got up to the front, I was informed that they were currently out of chicken and wouldn’t have any ready for another 15 minutes. Now, seeing as actual chicken is the main draw at KFC, this came as quite a shock; if it had been a chicken sandwich or popcorn chicken or some other item on the menu, it would have made sense, but chicken? Isn’t that the one thing they should have in ample supply at all times, especially at supper time? They kind of fell flat as far as expectations go, wouldn’t you say?
Which brings me to “The Brave and the Bold” #21, where the cover promises a team-up between Green Lantern and Green Arrow, but the actual comic doesn’t deliver anything of the sort. What we get is a lot of waiting around only to hit the end and find out that there will be no team-up until next issue... maybe. No, we get a continuation of the previous issue as Green Lantern continues to team-up with the Phantom Stranger, which is all fine and good, but that isn’t what the comic promises. It’s not the main draw. It’s popcorn chicken when I wanted actual chicken! Close, but not quite the same thing.
Is it fair to judge a comic by what’s on the cover like I am? Well, when the sole reason for this particular title existing is to offer readers a new team-up in each issue and which characters are teaming up may draw in new readers wanting to see two specific characters have an adventure together, then, yes, it is fair. It’s entirely fair and, as a result, this comic is a lie. No doubt there are people who picked up this book because they’re a fan of team-ups between Hal Jordan and Oliver Queen, two characters with a long history of working together and, thus, having a certain fan following as a pair. That doesn’t happen here and readers would be right to be upset over that.
The actual story involving Green Lantern and the Phantom Stranger isn’t that spectacular. There’s an evil entity called the Purge that thinks being entrapped in a physical shell leads to sin and wants to kill everyone to release their souls. They need to stop this and they team-up with a Green Lantern named Orlan who was possessed by the Purge. At the tail end of the issue, the Phantom Stranger contacts Green Arrow on Earth and tells him to do some stuff.
Doug Braithwaite’s art is breathtaking in some spots as he has really grown and improved his craft over the past few years. His work is very detailed and, while inked by Bill Reinhold, looks like it was colored directly over the pencils, making this book look far better than it reads.
But, ultimately, it’s a case of bait-and-switch as the cover promises a team-up that never happens. While both characters do appear in the comic, they never meet and their only contact is actually through another character, making the idea that they “team up” more a game of “five degrees of separation.” I waited in line for my Green Lantern and Green Arrow team-up only to be told that, sorry, they’re all out of that right now, come back next month and maybe they’ll have some. Good luck with that, DC.
(Dough Braithwaite’s art is breathtaking and a very good reason to see CBR’s preview of this issue!)