A little bit history, a whole lot of fiction and reverence for the mythologies and legends of the past, while building on the modern heroes of the present; Liam Sharp’s The Brave and The Bold has been a joy to read and to pause and pore over, creating a vibrant Celtic otherworld that could well be snuffed out if forgotten. But, the mystery of King Elatha takes a twist in this issue that you won’t see coming, which could very well lead to the establishment of Tír na nÓg and the faerie folk of Irish folklore in this realm, too.
And, if that’s the case, as mentioned before, Sharp has left the doors open for others to mine, which would be more than appropriate given the ever shifting stories from Celtic culture that have developed over centuries of retelling, embellishment, and exaggeration. Finn McCool, Cernunnos, Balor and so many other characters we have come across in this series are rich and real in their depiction thanks to Sharp’s lifelong love of such literature. Reading it now, I’m shocked no-one else has tried to take on this specific mythology. I’m glad Sharp did, though. Just as Walt Simonson’s love of Norse mythology made his Thor such a delight too. Know your subject matter, inside and out!
Batman continues to brood, while Diana continues to exhude confidence, control, and the desire to keep the peace. One more day is all they’re asking, and one more day they’re getting. And so we are once again treated to a set of pages that are surely only drying now from the blood, sweat and tears Sharp has poured into them, with the right mix of dynamism, Celtic tradition and inspiration, and the odd splash of Arthur Rackham for good measure.
And to think, one of my favourite comics of the year has, for the most part, taken place against a very earthy, pastoral backdrop of moss, heather, cairns and Celts. Hardly the urban environment we are used to and a testament to Sharp’s developing storytelling and artistry (his absolute, slavish attention to each and every detail is astounding) that such an unnatural setting for a superhero comic has succeeded so well.
With one more issue to go, forces are gathering. I just can’t imagine how he’ll go even more all out and bombastic in this last issue, but if the closing pages are anything to go by, it’ll be a book bursting at the seams.
See you in 30, Sharpie.
The Brave and The Bold #5 is out now from DC Comics.