Announced by “DC Comics” via The Washington Post in November 2017 as “a new six-issue… miniseries that will bring the two heroes into some very unfamiliar territory”, this opening instalment to “The Brave And The Bold: Batman And Wonder Woman” certainly depicts William Moulton Marston’s creation in something of a different light, with the somewhat surprisingly subdued Diana volunteering to investigate the murder of a Celtic god in order to prevent “a war between the fairy folk and a possible breach between worlds”. Indeed, Tir Na Nog’s wonderfully brutal and dirtily-grim setting, based upon “the legends of Irish and Celtic gods”, must surely have proved an enthralling contrast to the demigod’s Amazonian mythology for this book’s 42,087 readers and simultaneously shown just why “DC Comics” were willing to support Liam Sharp in “looking for a way to continue working with the character” having just come “off a run illustrating the new Wonder Woman series” during the publisher’s “Rebirth” re-launch.
Unfortunately however, such lavish attention to detail, both in the narrative’s meticulous background to Cernunnos Cernach’s world, as well as the Lord of Fertility’s return journey from requesting an audience with Hippolyta’s daughter, does mean that the Derby-born writer’s script pays far less attention to the “top billing” Batman than it does the “most beloved of the Amazonians”, and in many ways seemingly just clumsily crowbars Bruce Wayne’s alter-ego into the story whenever the author needs a reason to momentarily distract his audience away from Wonder Woman’s situation; “When worlds collide, there will always be a reckoning… and when gods and monsters meet, it seems, nothing is ever predictable…”
Equally as unnerving as the Dark Knight’s near non-existent presence, is the “Madefire” co-founder’s unnerving preoccupation with Diana and Steve Trevor’s love-life. The twenty-two page periodical starts with a seemingly innocuous bed-room scene between the pair, which merely alludes to their intimate relationship and is rather discerningly pencilled by the magazine’s creator. But within mere moments of the Celtic horned-god appearing before them the comic turns decidedly distasteful with its unsubtle implication that the tusked deity would happily join “the rutting of the beast with two backs” and even go as far as to “gladly anoint such a union with my –”.
Interestingly, arguably this book’s biggest draw is also, in certain places, one of its weakest elements. There should be not doubt that the “2000 A.D.” artist’s attentive drawings of Tir Na Nog and all its fantastical inhabitants are absolutely top-notch and simply crammed full of the most intricate of details, such as tiny red-eyed imps clambering up over the shoulder of a beleaguered earth elemental who is simultaneously stomping on a dwarf’s chest during a street-fight. But sadly, the same cannot debatably be said for this comic’s panels featuring the Caped Crusader, which at times provide such a stark contrast in quality that they disconcertingly seem to have been sketched by someone else entirely…