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Batman: The Brave and the Bold #1

Comicscore Index
Generally favorable ratings

Based on 16 critic ratings.

Coming off the spectacular success of Batman – One Bad Day: The Riddler, the Eisner Award-winning team of Tom King and Mitch Gerads reunite for a horrifying four-part retelling of the first bloody clash between The Joker and the Batman. A tale of loathing, lies, and laughter, this may be the most frightening Joker story in a generation. Everyone is going to be shocked. Everyone is going to be talking about it.

The Justice League may be gone, but its enemies aren’t. Who’ll protect the world from the worst of the worst? Ed Brisson and Jeff Spokes pick up the story started in the Wildstorm 30th Anniversary Special as Director Bones and his new covert StormWatch team travel the globe on black-ops missions to take super-powered weapons of mass destruction off the board. But this is StormWatch, and as always, not all is as it seems. “Down with the Kings” starts here!

Superstar artist Dan Mora (Batman/Superman: World’s Finest, Detective Comics) makes his writing debut kicking off a new series of Batman Black & White short stories. In a Gotham City overrun by the cybernetic henchmen of The Joker, the only person who can save us is the mysterious motorcycle-riding, bat-costumed hero of urban legend…

In “The Order of the Black Lamp-Part I,” from writer Christopher Cantwell (Halt and Catch Fire co-creator, Briar, Iron Man) and artist Javier Rodríguez (Daredevil, Defenders), Superman finds a decoder ring with a secret message – “Save me” – which sends him on a quest to solve a mystery with ties to the Man of Steel’s past.

Publication Date
Kindle Edition
Print Lenght
70 pages
Amazon ASIN

16 Critic Ratings & Reviews from:
  • 100


    New anthology series Batman: The Brave and the Bold launches today, and it just so happens to have the same title as the high-profile Batman movie in the works. This comic features four stories. There’s a lot to love about this anthology, even before you crack it open. High-profile comics duo Mitch Gerads and Tom King supply the first time Joker and Batman fought, Christopher Cantwell and Javier Rodriguez deliver a Superman story for the ages, and Dan Mora delivers his first story drawing and writing. If that doesn’t excite you, take this to heart: These are really damn good comics. This anthology features three ongoing stories starting with “Batman: The Winning Card” by Mitch Gerads, Tom King, and Clayton Cowles. Ed Brisson and Jeff Spokes (with letters by Saida Temofonte) kick off “Stormwatch: Down with the Kings,” and Christopher Cantwell and Javier Rodriguez launch “Superman: Order of the Black Lamp.” Rounding things out is Dan Mora’s “Heroes of Tomorrow”, with letters by Tom Napolitano. All four stories look fabulous, and each offer pulse-pounding moments. (...) When an anthology arrives that features multiple stories that could easily serve as solo series in their own right, you know you’re in for a treat. Batman: The Brave and the Bold is everything you want in an anthology and more. Heart, drama, ingenuity, and originality, Batman: The Brave and the Bold is a must-buy.
  • 100

    Batman on Film

    With so many different aspects of The Batman captured, it’s easy for me to recommend the relaunched Batman: The Brave and The Bold on the strength of the Batman stories alone! King and Gerads were so effective that I felt like I was inside their story. Mora captured an optimism and determination in Batman that I found refreshing. King continues to define The Dark Knight long after leaving his main title, adding hidden depths to the legend. More of this, please!
  • 100


    Batman: The Brave and the Bold is a celebration of DC’s history, both in the style and quality of storytelling. These talented individuals have delivered four insanely engaging tales in this first issue, expertly showcasing a variety of new and familiar characters to readers. Most importantly, this book was just fun. I truly appreciated each of the chapters in this first outing, as each story felt like it needed to be told. Each and every page turn added to my overall excitement. Batman: The Brave and the Bold #1 is the gold standard for how anthology stories should be handled, and I can’t wait for the next issue.
  • 93

    Comic Watch

    Batman: The Brave and the Bold #1 is a stunning collection of stories that showcase some of the best elements of the DC Universe. The wide gambit of storytelling and artistic sensibilities on display speak to the past, present, and future of the publisher, while making clear there are strong voices telling interesting stories with characters new and old.
  • 90

    Graphic Policy

    Batman: The Brave and the Bold #1 is a solid start to the series featuring a nice mix of stories that are fun and feature some great art. Why “Batman” is in the title is a bit of a headscratcher, especially if it features far more than just Batman and his family. Overall though, it's a great read and one that's a definite buy. It's a rate anthology where every story is top notch and something to get even if they were on their own.
  • 90

    Geek Dad

    This oversized anthology seems to be a replacement for Batman: Urban Legends—but with a broader focus outside Batman and Gotham, and some seriously heavy-weight creative teams right out of the gate. This first issue has three multi-part stories and one one-off. So how does the debut issue shake out? First up are one of DC’s most iconic creative teams, Tom King and Mitch Gerads on “Batman: The Winning Card.” A full-length story, this tale is set during the early days of Batman’s time in Gotham—and during the first day’s of Joker’s attack. It seems like a series of vignettes—Batman pursues a drunk and foul-mouthed petty criminal to the train tracks, Alfred keeps watch over a rather obnoxious guest waiting to meet Bruce, Jim Gordon, and his men guard a paranoid rich man who is convinced he’s about to be robbed and murdered, a desperate man searches for his missing daughter, and a little girl with a balloon sits in the rain and talks to an unusual pale-skinned man about some odd things. The stories seem disconnected at first, and then one by one they link up in a disturbing unveiling of just how ahead of the game Joker already is. No surprise, a King/Gerads book is likely to be excellent. Also full-length, Brisson and Spokes’ “Stormwatch: Down with the Kings” tries to bring the Wildstorm antiheroes fully into the DCU with a new crew. This tale sees Director Bones assemble a new crew of anti-heroes from around the DCU—including original Kenyan agent Flint, Deathstroke’s daughter Ravager, Green Arrow’s ex Shado, and a pair of villains Brisson has already worked with, Ghost-Maker’s erstwhile sidekick Phantom-One and cybernetically-enhanced police brutality poster boy Peacekeeper 0-1. Add in a new crew of international agents, and it’s a busy crew sent into action to recapture a powerful metahuman. This story definitely pays tribute to the parent property’s ’90s roots, but with some nicely dark twists behind the scenes. Christopher Cantwell makes his DC debut alongside Javier Rodriguez on “Superman: Order of the Black Lamp,” a shorter continuing tale that finds the Man of Steel dealing with something new—existential angst. He’s struggling to find his place now that his identity is secret again, and Lois Lane is battling to keep the Planet afloat as the new Editor in Chief. This intersects when she tasks Clark with finding a killer story—and reporting on Superman isn’t doing it. But when Clark gets a mysterious cipher tying back to an old adventures show he watched as a kid, he’s pulled into an intriguingly pulpy mystery. I think maybe this story could have stood to have more pages, but it’s a very promising start. Finally, Dan Mora goes solo on “Heroes of Tomorrow,” a black-and-white tale set in a Gotham of the future, where a cybernetic Batman goes up against a high-tech Joker. There’s relatively little context to this tale, but a lot of surprises. When the reveal of the two boys Batman is trying to save is made, it raises a lot of questions and the story doesn’t have enough time to answer them, but it’s an interesting look at a completely new Gotham and Mora’s art is always stunning. Hope to see more. Overall, this is a fantastic start from four excellent creative teams.
  • 90

    Comics: The Gathering

    The Winning Card is a delightful yet terrifying story by Tom King that takes readers into the early days of Batman’s career and shows just how menacing The Joker truly is while laying the groundwork for what may be one of the best Batman and Joker stories we’ve ever seen brought to life by twisted noir like art that only Mitch Gerads could deliver.
  • 90

    Dark Knight News

    Batman: The Brave & The Bold #1 is a refreshing look at, not just Batman, but other characters around him or in his sphere. You have your classic tale from King and Gerards, your Bat-adjacent story with Ravager and the new Stormwatch from Brisson and Spokes, his best friend Superman’s story from Cantwell and Rodríguez, and an exciting alternate Batman from Mora. What more could you ask for? If the tales from these teams continue to be as good as this, The Brave & The Bold will be on a LOT of pull lists moving forward, that’s for sure!
  • 90

    Fortress of Solitude

  • 86

    The Super Powered Fancast

    STORY 1: Batman: The Winning Card Part 1 - A dark and terrifying first chapter from King. The story has a fantastic build up that is enhanced with beautifully dark and disturbing art from Gerads. I was instantly hooked. STORY 2: Stormwatch: Down with the Kings Part 1 - A strong, solid opening for this new and interesting team. I like the mystery and intrigue of the story and the art is vibrant and visually engaging. STORY 3: Superman: Order of the Black Lamp Part 1 - An entertaining and engaging mystery from the start. Tying the story to Clark’s childhood and a hero he admired is a great touch and I look forward to seeing where this story goes. STORY 4: Heroes of Tomorrow - Dan Mora writes and illustrates a beautiful, bold and entertaining story with a take on the Dark Knight that absolutely got my attention.
  • 80

    The newest anthology of Batman (and related) stories is undeniably stylish as The Brave and The Bold #1 showcases several of the best artists working in superhero comics today, even if the stories themselves range from the familiar to cyphers needing more context. "The Winning Card" introduces an early Joker-oriented mystery penned by Tom King that provides many unrelated elements of a conspiracy and a particularly creepy approach to portraying Joker. However, it's Mitch Gerads' art and colors that infuse the noir tale with a potent tone to keep readers hooked while the plot remains largely unrecognizable. "Down With the Kings" drafts a number of C-list characters into Stormwatch for an adventure story that evidences little novelty and few flaws as it runs right down the center of expectations. The Superman story "Order of the Black Lamp" is the issue's biggest highlight with artwork from Javier Rodríguez that showcases the new Metropolis status quo as a mysterious, retro-styled adventure is introduced. Minor design elements and the scope of Superman's powers alike make a big impact on the page and are bound to hook readers for issue #2. Dan Mora writes and draws a final installment, "Heroes of Tomorrow," that shows the growth of a new writer, but remains impressive due to his inimitable skill depicting superhero comics. Overall, The Brave and The Bold #1 makes a strong case for itself as an artistic showcase with room for the many mysteries inside to grow into something more compelling.
  • 80

    Graham Crackers Comics

    I have to admit that I was fooled into thinking that DC was bringing back it’s most iconic team-up title. And once I sat down and started digging into it, I was a bit disappointed. Turns out that this is actually an multi-story anthology comic with Batman being a headliner. And with DC’s output being so Batman driven these days, my heart kind of sank. But once I got over my sorrow, I found that these stories were not only very well done but really grabbed the reader. Writers Tom King, Ed Brisson, Christopher Cantwell, and Dan Mora really do an excellent job with the characters they are given to work with. And as always, Tom King puts a little dark tone to his reimagining of a classic Batman tale. Round out the tales with a new group of heroes in Stormwatch, Superman, and an alternate version of Batman and you have the beginnings of something wonderful. I just with they would have not used that title.
  • 78

    Weird Science DC Comics

    Batman: The Brave and The Bold #1 assembles four short chapters centering on Batman and his allies from alternate times and alternate realities. The collection has a little something for everyone, but Dan Mora's B&W short is the best of the bunch.
  • 75

    The Comicbook Dispatch

    I always thought Batman: The Brave and the Bold was supposed to be stories containing Batman. The first and the last do but not the middle ones. Moreover, this outline of storytelling reminded me of the most recent Batman: Urban Legends line of storytelling, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Yet, the problem is that with an issue being this packed and more expensive, the writers better make sure each of these stories makes it worth the cover price. And the problem is, I can’t say that they did. I didn’t sign on to read Batman: The Brave and the Bold for Stormwatch or Superman. I signed up for Batman stories. And the only true Batman story was the first one by King that simply wasn’t the greatest. I thought we’d be getting Batman team-ups but sadly that’s not the comic. If you liked Batman: Urban Legends, then you love this style and storytelling. Otherwise, I think this series is probably a hard pass. I’m sure King fans will love the opener, however, is that small single story worth the cover price just to get the rest of the stories involved? Probably not.
  • 75


    Batman: The Brave and the Bold #1 is a mostly really solid collection of distinct stories, ranging from suspenseful thriller to action packed team-up. Not all of them work, but for the ones that do it’s a wide array of first chapters that show a lot of potential.
  • 50


    It’s not a bad collection, but the most notable story is very hit-and-miss, and the backup stories aren’t are all that memorable, with the Stormwatch story missing some key characters to sell me on the team instead using the issue to recreate the concept of StormWatch yet again. Sure, it’s cute with Superman jumping into a more goofy Batman-style investigation involving ring but its entirely exposition between two characters sitting around a bedroom for a story that may lead somewhere interesting eventually but isn’t there yet. A more balance of fully complete stories, with some ongoing, would have helped balance out the issue.

More From Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2023)

About the Author: Tom King

Tom King (born July 15, 1978) is an American author, comic book writer, and ex-CIA officer. He is best known for writing the novel A Once Crowded Sky, The Vision for Marvel Comics, The Sheriff of Babylon for the DC Comics imprint Vertigo, and Batman and Mister Miracle for DC Comics.

Early life

King primarily grew up in Southern California. His mother worked for the film industry which inspired his love of storytelling. He interned at both DC and Marvel Comics during the late 1990s. He studied both philosophy and history at Columbia University, graduating in 2000. He identifies as “half-Jewish, half-midwestern”.


King interned both at DC Comics and Marvel Comics, where he was an assistant to X-Men writer Chris Claremont, before joining the CIA counterterrorism unit after 9/11. King spent seven years as a counterterrorism operations officer for the CIA before quitting to write his debut novel, A Once Crowded Sky, after the birth of his first child.

A Once Crowded Sky, King’s debut superhero novel with comics pages illustrated by Tom Fowler, was published on July 10, 2012 by Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, to positive reception.

In 2014, King was chosen to co-write Grayson for DC Comics, along with Tim Seeley and Mikel Janin on art. After penning Nightwing #30, King, Seeley, and Janin launched Grayson in May 2014, featuring Dick Grayson leaving behind his Nightwing persona at age 22 to become Agent 37, a Spyral spy. King and Seeley plotted the series together and traded issues to script separately, with King providing additional authenticity through his background with the CIA.

A relaunch of classic DC Comics series The Omega Men was published in June 2015 by King and debut artist Barnaby Bagenda, as part of the publisher’s relaunch DC You. The series follows a group of rebels fighting an oppressive galactic empire, and feature White Lantern Kyle Rayner. The Omega Men, created in 1981, are DC’s cosmic equivalent to Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, though significantly more obscure. King’s and Bagenda’s use of the nine-panel grid, popularized by Alan Moore‘s and Dave Gibbons‘ Watchmen, has been praised by reviewers.

In San Diego Comic-Con 2015, Vertigo revealed a new creator-owned project written by King with art by Mitch Gerads titled The Sheriff of Baghdad. The project, a crime series in the vein of Vertigo titles like Preacher and Scalped, was set to launch in late 2015, and was inspired by King’s time in Iraq as part of the CIA. Initially an eight-issue miniseries, it was later re-titled The Sheriff of Babylon and expanded into an ongoing series. The first issue launched in December 2015 to critical acclaim, with reviewers praising its “deeply personal” storytelling and the “intriguing” and “captivating” personalities of its characters. That same year, DC announced “Robin War”, a crossover storyline set for December that would run for five weeks through titles Grayson, Detective Comics, We Are Robin, and Robin: Son of Batman; King was set to orchestrate the crossover’s story-line and pen two one-shots to open and close the series.

As part of Marvel Comics’ All-New, All-Different relaunch, King was announced as the writer of The Vision, a new ongoing following the titular character and his newly created family, with artist Gabriel Hernández Walta, colorist Jordie Bellaire, and covers by Mike del Mundo, launching in November 2015. The Vision has been well received by the public, with reviewers calling the series one of Marvel’s “biggest surprises” and praising the narration, art, and colors.

In September 2015, DC cancelled King’s The Omega Men, along with four other titles, with the series ending with issue seven. After negative fan response to the cancellation, Jim Lee, DC’s co-publisher, announced that they would be bringing back The Omega Men through at least issue 12. Lee described the decision to cancel the series as “a bit hasty,” crediting the book’s critical acclaim and fan social media reactions as the reason the title would go on for the planned 12-issue run.

King penned a Green Lantern one-shot that ties into the “Darkseid War” Justice League storyline, titled “Will You Be My God?”, which James Whitbrook of io9 praised as “one of the best” Green Lantern stories.

King and co-writer Tim Seeley announced they would leave Grayson after issue #18, with King clarifying on Twitter that they were working on something “big and cool” and needed time. King and Seeley officially left the series in February with issue #17, with Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly taking over for its last three issues with issue #18 in March.

DC Comics announced in February 2016 that King had signed an exclusivity deal with the publisher, which would see him writing exclusively for DC and Vertigo. King revealed via his Twitter account that he would stay on The Vision as writer through issue 12, finishing the story arc he had planned from the beginning.

In March 2016, it was announced that King would be writing the main bi-weekly Batman series beginning with a new #1, replacing long-time writer Scott Snyder, as part of DC’s Rebirth relaunch that June. King has stated that his run would be 100 issues total, with the entirety being released twice-monthly, though this was later curtailed to 85 issues and 3 annuals, with a 12 issue followup maxiseries Batman/Catwoman to finish the story.

In August 2017, King and regular collaborator Mitch Gerads launched the first issue of their Mister Miracle series, with a planned total run of twelve issues. In June 2018 DC Comics announced King would be writing Heroes in Crisis, a limited series centering around a concept he introduced in Batman.

In July 2018, he received the Eisner Award for Best Writer, shared with Marjorie Liu.

In May and June 2019, King, DC Co-Publisher Jim Lee, and CW series actresses Nafessa Williams, Candice Patton, and Danielle Panabaker toured five U.S. military bases in Kuwait with the United Service Organizations (USO), where they visited the approximately 12,000 U.S. military personnel stationed in that country as part of DC’s 80th anniversary of Batman celebration.

In September 2020, DC Comics announced that King would be among the creators of a revived Batman: Black and White anthology series to debut on December 8, 2020. From 2021 to 2022, King was the writer on the eight-issue miniseries Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow with artist Bilquis Evely. Susana Polo, for Polygon, wrote that “with the final issue of Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow I can definitively say this book slaps front to back. […] The best thing Tom King’s done since Mister Miracle”. David Harth, for CBR, commented that since The Omega Men, “King has mostly stayed away from sci-fi, going for a more psychological take on superheroes instead”. Harth highlighted that Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow “is very much a sci-fi epic” and that the series is “even more imaginative than Omega Men’s sci-fi, as it has King flexing his muscles in different ways”.

Personal life

King lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife and three children.

[Latest Update: May 23, 2022]