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Tigra would be jealous: Graeme gets brave, and bold, from 10/17.

Graeme McMillan

As the most open fan of all-female wrestling in the world of comic professionals, somehow you just know that George Perez didn’t need to have his arm twisted in order to draw THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #7, which has a high concept straight from Chris Claremont in his prime: Power Girl is possessed and Wonder Woman has to fight her! Thankfully for the readers, Perez manages to stay away from outright exploitation in his artwork, and Mark Waid takes that high concept and uses it to build an exciting, non-pandering, oneshot.

Just as in the previous issues of this series, Waid’s writing is pretty much a masterclass in superhero writing. Ignoring the pitch-perfect four-page opening to this issue, which manages to set up the odd-couple character conflict as well as the central mystery for the story without coming across as expositionary-heavy, despite two of those four pages being full-page splashes (and one of them being silent, with the exception of the titles and credits) – a pretty good trick in and of itself – it’s impressive to see the way in which Waid uses the action to further character, and vice versa, with the villain conflict acting as a McGuffin for a character study while still being both involving and entertaining in its own right. In addition, both his pace and pitch are perfect; we’re thrown in at the start of a battle that doesn’t get explained, and the climax of the main story is followed up by Waid winking to the audience through Superman, who more or less admits that these bad guys always come and back and no-one should really think too much about these kind of things anyway.

(He also throws in an unexpected epilogue, bridging to the next issue and tying back to the previous one, suggesting that there might be a grander scheme to these stories than initially suggested. I wonder if that’s just a trick to make people keep picking up the book, or whether there’s more going on than the readers know about…)

As for Perez, he rises to the occasion – and now I see the possible innuendo in there, which wasn’t intended – with work that’s restrained in its portrayal of its heroines (Although I wonder how much of that credit can go to the coloring of Tom Smith, who also does a great job) and dynamic in every other respect. Okay, Power Girl’s boots have heels, but still. It doesn’t stop this being a straight-forwardly enjoyable Very Good book that you hope wannabe superhero creators are reading and learning from.

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