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Monday, November 13, 2006

The Crank File: The Brave and the Bold #115

Ever since "Hoosier X" mentioned it a few months ago as being Bob Haney's favorite story, I've been looking out for a copy of Brave and the Bold #115, and thanks to my pal Dr. K, I've finally been able to get my hands on a copy. It's in pretty bad shape, to the point where the cover's gone and the pages are falling apart, and I can only assume that it exploded from the sheer amount of radness it was trying to contain.

Because this is the story where the Atom reanimates Batman's corpse so that he can fight crime from beyond the grave

It's official: "By Bob Haney and Jim Aparo" is the sweetest phrase in the English language.

So here's how it all goes down: Debbie Manton is a beloved college student who takes time out from her busy schedule to mentor unforunate kids under the watchful eye of Batman. Unfortunately, she also happened to stumble across a gangland murder on her way home from work, a bit of bad luck that happens roughly every twenty minutes on the mean streets of Gotham City.

Of course, being the good citizen that she is, Debbie comes forward, and--again, because this is Gotham City we're talking about here--is immediately kidnapped and held for ransom.

Needless to say, Batman does not approve, and launches an investigation that consists of him beating the living hell out of everyone that isn't Alfred or Comissioner Gordon with his pantented Jim Aparo Backhand:

I've said it before, but it bears repeating: Every time Jim Aparo drew Batman hitting someone, it looked like--at the very least--they would never walk again.

In the wake of a sustained and brutal beating, information is pretty quick to arrive, and in order keep from spooking the kidnappers, he decides that it'd be a good idea to not tell anybody else where the gang's hideout is. This, as you might expect, will be important later. Equally important? The fact that the gang thinks it's a good idea to electrify the fifth-floor windows of their building, but not the front door.

Either way, it's enough to kill Batman:

Yeah, you heard me: Batman's dead! Well, brain-dead at least, with actual death to follow sometime within the hour once his lungs and heart get the memo. It's a shocking piece of news, and although Comissioner Gordon's reasonably upset, he seems a little more bothered by the fact that Batman died without finishing his case. Let me tell you, that guy's all business sometimes.

He refuses to accept the word that Batman's shuffled loose this mortal cape and cowl, and brings in an expert in to confirm things. Because when you have a question of a complex medical nature, you want to get a particle physicist to come in and check things out.

Fortunately, he manages to pick the one visiting physicist who's also well-versed in science of a highly dubious nature and has the ability to shrink down and go stomp around in Batman's brain to see what happens.

Yes, friends, he calls upon Ray Palmer: Re-Animator.

...and that's when the Atom shrinks down, hops into Batman's ear canal, pauses just long enough to drop some knowledge on the kids by explaining how the ear works, and starts stomping around in Batman's brain until he finally kicks the synapse that makes him get up and go fight crime.

By this logic, Sue Dibny should be frigg'n immortal by now.

Also, I feel I should mention that Dr. Frankenpalmer explains that while he'll be contributing to some of the major motor functions, Batman's mostly going to be operating purely on reflex. Which means that Batman's involuntary reaction to the world around him is to hunt down evil and beat the crap out of it.

And that is probably the most badass thing I have ever heard.

So Batman--with the Atom riding shotgun in his skull and giving his frontal lobe a swift kick every time he needs to punch something--heads over to an abandoned police station to rescue Debbie, only to find a thug holding a gun to her head, threatening to shoot her if Batman comes any closer. Which is why the Atom gives up on controlling Batman, jumps out of his skull, and takes care of things in his own inimitable fashion:

For the record, the Atom is punching with "the impact of a closely-fired bullet," which means that he is essentially shooting that guy in the face with his bare hands. Sweet Christmas!

So, Debbie is rescued, and even better, Batman comes back to life... somehow... in a scene that reads like Murray Boltinoff had to call up Bob Haney and remind him that Batman couldn't die again at the end of the story. The actual explanation, however, is much more sciencey. Sort of.

So remember, kids: If you come across a dead body, just kick 'em in the brain a couple times to get things going again.

It's science.

More of the Craziest Frigg'n Things I've Ever Seen:

| The Brave and the Bold #81 |
| Adventure Comics #303 |
| Metal Men #3-5 |


Blogger Ragnell said...

You've done the improbable -- I now miss Ray Palmer.

Though I would have bought a series starring him if it were titled "Ray Palmer: Re-Animator" instead of a variation on "The Atom." Something about the dead rising from the grave gets a chuckle out of me.

Also, if it were written by either Boby Haney, HP Lovecraft, or Bob Haney consulting HP Lovecraft through a Ouija board.

11/13/2006 11:32 PM

Blogger Steven said...

For the record:

"TZAK" is the sound of electricity hitting Batman so hard it kills him.

"TZOK" is the sound of the Atom punching a guy in the jaw with the force of a bullet.

Yeah, sorry: That dude's dead.

11/13/2006 11:53 PM

Blogger Marc Burkhardt said...

That's even better than Supergirl wrestling a gorilla!

11/14/2006 12:43 AM

Blogger LurkerWithout said...

Dude, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but Ronnie Dio sucks the ass of suckitude musically. I kept hearing how he was the greatest gamer rocker ever to be played over and over again in some kids basement. And I was sad that I had never heard him.

And then thanks to VH1 Classic I got to see his videos (along with bands like Scarazon or Scarmazon or something).

Sweet baby Jeebus he was awful. A crime against nerd-dom. It was like an older and ever more annoying version of Coheed & Cambria...

11/14/2006 1:58 AM

Blogger Michael said...

So Ray Palmer walking in Batman's brain will make him a zombie crime-fighter, while Jean Loring walking around in Sue Dibny's brain kills her?

Oh wait, I forgot, on Earth-B that makes you a zombie crime-fighter. Damn that Crisis on Infinite Earths!

11/14/2006 3:37 AM

Blogger Diamondrock said...

Ah, but recall that Batman was *already* dead when Ray started his dancing. Sue Dibny was alive to begin with.

It's the constant rule: if something kills you when you're alive (such as lightning or kicks to the head) then it will bring you back to life if you're dead to *begin* with.

It's science!

11/14/2006 6:23 AM

Blogger lostinube said...

Remember kids, tiny feet on brains don't kill people, crazy ex-spouses kill people.

11/14/2006 6:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This story would have been the greatest thing I had ever seen in my life if not for one little detail:

When Batman takes his "leap into eternity" and gets electroshocked, he yelps...


What? This is The Batman, people. How come he's screaming like a 9-year old girl? I don't care about the wattage, now way is Batman going out with an "aaaaiieee".

He'd go out with some sort of manly grunt. Something like my word of the day, "Jlofrt!"

11/14/2006 8:19 AM

Blogger Jeff Rients said...

pgr1974, you've totally misreading "AAAIIEEE!" That's the sound a kamikaze pilot makes in old war movies as he crashes his plane into an American ship.

11/14/2006 9:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, that Aparo backhand! Never mind beating criminals, NASA could have Batman stand on a launch pad and thump things into space.

I hereby vote this article as one of your best, really showing off your knack of delivering ultra-hardcore lines - "involuntary reaction" and "shooting the guy in the face" being pure sweetness.

11/14/2006 9:24 AM

Blogger Evan said...

Dude, I so remember that comic. My favorite part was Batman's zombie walk when the Atom was getting used to the controls.

11/14/2006 9:51 AM

Blogger Jeff said...

What if every tiny Loring step switched Sue's brain on and then off again?

No wonder she had to use a flamethrower.

11/14/2006 9:59 AM

Blogger Matthew E said...

I'm pretty sure I had this comic when I was little. Is this also the one that had the story about Dr. Fate, Hourman and Alan Scott fighting Solomon Grundy, or am I thinking of another comic?

11/14/2006 10:32 AM

Blogger JG said...

I'm not sure so let me check...yep, that was the funniest thing I've ever read.

11/14/2006 11:36 AM

Blogger SallyP said...

Chris, this is magnificent. Boy howdy, that Aparo art is truely a beautiful thing to behold. But I also have a theory about why Ray stomping around Batman's brain revived him, while Jean Loring killed Sue. Obviously, Jean was wearing high heels.

11/14/2006 11:51 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I laughed so hard that I died.
Then, as my spirit was leaving my body, it saw the next bit of awesome and I was revived.

I do believe that the ISB is now far greater than Dave's Long Box.

Or at the very least, if such a thing were possible, they two blogs should TOTALLY get Gay-Married.

IMAGINE the wonderful bizarrity & hilaritude their offspring would produce!


11/14/2006 11:59 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris, that was hilarious. I had tears rolling down my eyes at work. Well done.
Thank you.


11/14/2006 1:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the second to last panel, I think we're supposed to believe that the Atom went through the guy's chin and out his mouth.

11/14/2006 3:15 PM

Blogger C. Elam said...

I once traded a copy of Grant Morrison's JLA #1 for this issue of B&B.

One of the best deals I've ever made.

11/14/2006 11:21 PM

Blogger paperghost said...

When I saw the panel with Batman standing behind the teacher and kids in a creepy fashion, I was sorely let down by the fact he didn't smack them up too. Bah.

11/15/2006 3:18 AM

Blogger Richelle Mead said...

I think my favorite part was when it said Batman coming back from the dead was "like some miracle of resurrection." Reading that was "just like some miracle of simile redundancy."

Awesome job, as always, Chris.

11/15/2006 8:34 PM

Blogger Chance said...

Something about this comic and especially its resolution reminds me of the Simpson' lackadaisical approach to continuity and sense. "And in the end, they were all rescued. By... oh, say... Moe."

"And in the end, Batman came back to life fully... because of... oh, say... science."

You're dead-on about that Aparo art. Each blow looks like it shatters every bone in the recipient's body.

11/16/2006 10:39 PM

Blogger giffmex said...

Please add a couple panels of Atom running thru Batman's brain!

5/16/2007 11:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my god. I actually owned that issue as a kid.

Thank you so much for reawakening the nightmare.


5/29/2007 6:44 PM

Blogger Bully said...

Don't you think you possibly diverted attention away from some comics announcement or news by posting this momentous piece on this day?

9/25/2008 9:38 PM

Anonymous site said...

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7/20/2012 6:40 AM

Anonymous putas said...

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1/17/2013 10:11 AM


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