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There was a time when comic books were exclusively children's literature. they didn't make any attempt at a deeper philosophical meaning, a political statement or even any educational value. Comic books served one purpose and one purpose only - to entertain children. Of course they did encourage reading, and it is only after the demise of children's comics that many experts have really come to see their value. Comics make children see reading as fun. A child who reads often for pleasure is always going to develop reading skills faster and easier than a child who only reads when forced to.
The All New Batman The Brave and The Bold ( not to be confused with the older and somewhat more mature original Batman the Brave and the Bold) takes us back to the old glory days of comic books, and this series is especially suited for the very young reader or listener. The villains are silly. You do get some of the old bad guys like the Penguin, Bane and Killer Croc, but you also get some completely nonsensical ones. One of the villains is Mr Camera. He is literally and old style camera something like a Kodak Brownie model stuck onto the body of man, with somewhat insane face peering through the lens. Another villain is an ancient evil that goes back to teh dawn of time. He looks a bit like a ball of Swiss cheese and has a rather bland sounding name for a creature of pure evil - Robert. They don't quite make sense - they aren't meant to. This is just pure childish fun.
This comic is taken from the new animated series, and the stories will be familiar to regular viewers. One of the best things about the series is that it includes so many other DC universe characters. My sons both absolutely love Plastic Man, but comics with this character are few and far between so they were delighted that he features in one of the stories. There are also appearances from the Teen Titans, Captain Marvel, Aquaman, The Martian Manhunter and the Teen Titans. Hal Jordan features in two of the stories and a number of other Green Lanterns make appearances as well. We even get a chance to see the Dark Knight in Emerald Green, which actually does suit him.
This book is 128 pages and consists of six stories by my count. This book is primarily illustration so even reading all six is fairly quick, but you can read a single story if you are just looking for something very quick before bed ( well not in my house - story time lasts for hours here but I know some people need to limit it). I also found that my oldest son was more confident reading shorter stories and really preferred these as his reading skills developed. This is printed on a rough paper, and the illustrations are very much comic book illustrations. They are good, but they lack the detail of the more expensive graphic novels. They remind me quite a bit of comics from my youth.
My children are ages 4 and 7 and both really enjoyed this book, but the 4 year old does get the most from it. Both children like the first story the best. In this one Batman is laid up and all the other superheroes decide to take his place. Instead of having one Batman, Gotham now has many. Best of all - one of these new Batmen is Plastic Man, whose personality is a complete opposite of Batman's making him by far the most amusing. My favourite story is one with Batman and the white Martian, which is far and away the most mature episode in this book, but this is very much a book for children, not adults. If you are an adult fan who wants to introduce their children to comic books and Batman, by all means - buy this book. This is the perfect book to get children into comics, and you may enjoy reading it to them as well. But this really isn't a book I could see adults reading on their own. Batman the Brave and the Bold brings the franchise back to the children. All I can say to this is - it's about time! I recommend this book for ages 2 -10, but would point out the thin pages will not survive rough toddler handling. This book is best kept with parental supervision for children who are not old enough to understand the correct handling of books.
This book collects Batman the Brave and the Bold comics #13, 14, 16, 18,19 and 21.