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Wonder Woman w/o Powers Pt. 33: The Brave & the Bold #105

Strumming guitars… staccato heel-stamping… the odor of saffron and cigars! Spain? Mexico? No, a fancy cafe in Gotham City where Bruce (Batman) Wayne has just finished dinner.

Bruce notices a beautiful girl out to dinner with “an old crone of a chaperone.” When they leave and he sees the elderly woman collapse, Alfred races them to the hospital. However, on the way, they drive into the middle of a gunfight. Bruce gets out of the car and “moments later,” Batman appears.

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The police arrive and Commissioner Gordon tells Batman, “It’s these people from San Sebastian… they’ve brought their war here to Gotham!” Later, after a brief misunderstanding with her brother, Bruce Wayne offers to help Conchita. Her brother, Raoul, explains…

It is simple, my rich, spoiled, and ignorant friend! My father, leader of the San Sebastian revolutionary forces, is secretly held prisoner here… in Gotham City! He can be freed with enough money for a bribe… a ransom!”

Later, Bruce tells Alfred that Conchita and her wild brother are con artists, trying to hook him on the old Spanish Prisoner game. “But it’s the Batman who’s going to catch them at it!”

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The following day, a lithe figure saunters saucily into that part of Gotham City known as Las Pampas…

Diana introduces herself as Conchita’s new duenna (chaperone.) Even though a duenna is usually old and homely, Conchita likes Diana’s youth, style, and excitement about danger, so she stays. As if we didn’t expect it, we soon learn that Diana is a plant for Batman to foil the game of the bad guys.

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At the big rendezvous…

While Diana lies unconscious in the street, Batman investigates. Inside a shed hidden behind a sign on the rooftop of a Las Pampas building, he discovers manacles and signs that someone really was held captive. He’s hit from behind and, some time later, wakes up held captive by the manacles. Diana, who has recovered, finds him and listens to his report that there was no con game; Conchita and Raoul really are on-the-level revolutionaries!

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A showdown with the real bad guys happens at the Festival of the Fishermen, where fishing boats are blessed before they sail. It’s all resolved within two pages, leaving the issue to conclude with a light ending:

Thoughts

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This is a dense story that’s not exactly an easy read. I suppose it’s a good mystery for Batman, and one where his original suspicions turn out to be false. However, Diana doesn’t appear until almost halfway through the book.

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A continuity junkie like me knows that, when Diana tells Conchita on page 12 that she runs a boutique, she has already sold her shop in the pages of her own title a few issues ago. Of course, these team-ups are usually one-offs, so the timeline isn’t necessarily relevant.

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However, who or what in the heck is Diana's "Amazon guardian angel?" She has not appeared in any of the Wonder Woman stories I've been reading. If she's from back when Diana had powers, I don't know her. If she's new here, there's no introduction or explanation.

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This issue makes me want to read more Batman and Detective Comics stories from the same era, which has little or nothing to do with Wonder Woman or Diana Prince. It’s surprisingly gritty for something written by Bob “Zany” Haney, but the Jim Aparo art works well with it.

Title: The Brave & the Bold

Issue #: 105

Cover Date: Jan/Feb 1973

On Sale Date: Nov. 2, 1972

Writer: Bob Haney

Artist: Jim Aparo

Editor: Murray Boltinoff


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