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Wonder Woman w/o Powers Pt. 11: The Brave & the Bold #87

The issue opens with what looks like a death race between Batman and an unknown bad guy whose eyes “glitter with hatred” from behind his racing mask. Diana and Ching are in hot pursuit…

What’s this all about? Well, it all started like this…

The Widow-Maker

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Diana explains to Ching how exciting it is to see Grinichi’s fashions against a backdrop of fantastic racing cars. She’s glad they decided to “stop over” on their way home. Bruce Wayne recognizes Wonder Woman and wonders if she will recognize him in his civilian guise. (She’s met him only as Batman when she was in the JLA.)

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After introductions are made, Bruce is called for his qualifying run as “cold, cruel eyes” assess the weakness and strength of an opponent. When Bruce’s time is announced, the person with the cold, cruel eyes thinks...

Herr Wayne – something will have to be done about you – you and your car are much too good!

Diana and Ching discover that the villain is going to “fix Wayne’s car so that he will not finish (the) race tomorrow…” Instead of telling Bruce, Diana tells Ching that they will stop it from happening.

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Later that night, Diana and Ching watch Bruce discover the thugs…

Bruce plays the role that his secret identity requires, but his ego gets to him as he exclaims…

I can’t let a woman and a blind man rescue me –

It’s too late as he’s hit in the face by a wrench, leaving Diana to get him a doctor.

Poor Bruce – he doesn’t know the first thing about handling himself in a fight!

In the hospital, Diana tells Bruce she’ll race for him, but he objects…

The next day, as Diana laments that she doesn’t get to race…

Batman recalls that he “straightened out his (General Van Dort) thinking with a couple of rights to the jaw. Willi vows to avenge his family honor and Diana warns Batman not to race against… the Widow-Maker!

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Fearing that the officials will not be able to protect Batman, Diana and Ching jump in a car. As they stop one of Willi’s thugs…

Willi continues his attempts to thwart Batman, while Diana and Ching… get a flat tire! Distracted, they’re captured by one of Willi’s thugs.

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Somehow, Batman manages to escape all of Willi’s traps and wins the race by only a couple of seconds. The story ends on a somewhat comical note…

Thoughts

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With its absolutely gorgeous, albeit misleading, cover, I was disappointed with the art inside the comic. I don’t mean that it wasn’t good; it’s just that it never takes an opportunity to expand beyond the squares of a standard page to widen the scope of the action. That’s strange, because pages two and three are a double-page spread that sets the scene.

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There are some fun, in-continuity moments, between Bruce Wayne/Batman and Diana. If unfamiliar with the status of the characters in other books, we learn that Wonder Woman is no longer a member of the JLA and she doesn’t know Batman’s secret identity. That begs the question… since Bruce recognizes Diana as Wonder Woman, was Diana Prince not really a secret identity at this point?

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Going by its dialogue, there were a couple of confusing moments in the story. I didn’t think Willi was identified before the point that Diana knew his name. It’s also unclear if he’s the man who comments when he first sees Diana, “The American girl – not bad – not bad at all! I must know her!” When Bruce “rescues” Diana from his advances, the plot point becomes irrelevant.

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Finally, there’s a lot of action in the final third of the story. However, with it restricted by small boxes, it’s hard to see exactly what’s happening and what tricks Willi has up his sleeves. Using so much dialogue to explain it also takes up valuable real estate when pictures could tell us the same thing in a more visually interesting way.

Title: The Brave & the Bold

Issue #: 87

Cover Date: Dec 1969/Jan 1970

On Sale Date: 10-23-69

Writer: Mike Sekowsky

Penciller: Mike Sekowsky

Inker: Dick Giordano

Editor: Murray Boltinoff