The Brave and the Bold volume 2: The Book of Destiny


By Mark Waid, George Pérez, Jerry Ordway, Bob Wiacek & Scott Koblish (DC Comics)
ISBN: 978-1-4012-1838-6 (hc)   978-1-4012-1861-4 (tpb)

The Book of Destiny is a mystical ledger which charts the history, progress and fate of all Reality and everything in it – except for the four mortals entrusted with its care at the end of The Brave and the Bold: The Lords of Luck

The death-defying Challengers of the Unknown – cool pilot Ace Morgan, indomitable strongman Rocky Davis, intellectual aquanaut Prof. Haley and daredevil acrobat Red Ryan – live on borrowed time and were bequeathed the terrifying tome by Destiny of the Endless since their lives are not included within its horrifying pages…

After the staggering spectacle of the previous Brave and the Bold story-arc, here Mark Waid, George Pérez and inkers Bob Wiacek & Scott Koblish are joined by co-penciller Jerry Ordway for a stunning sequel featuring most of the DC universe…

This compilation collects issues #7-12 of the high-energy, all-star revival of the venerable DC title and plays novel games with the traditional team-up format when a mysterious mage begins manipulating heroes and villains in a diabolical alchemical scheme to transform the cosmos forever…

Beginning with ‘Scalpels and Chainsaws’ wherein Wonder Woman and the ever-abrasive Power Girl rub each other the wrong way (oh please, what are you, ten!?) whilst tackling an undead invasion, the case takes a strange turn and the Princess of Power accidentally discovers the Caped Kryptonian has been brainwashed into trying to murder her cousin Superman

Their ill-tempered investigations lead to the fabled Lost Library of Alexandria and a disastrous confrontation with the deranged Dr. Alchemy, but he too is only a pre-programmed pawn – of a sinister presence called Megistus – who needs Power Girl to use the mystical artefact known as the Philosopher’s Stone to turn the Fortress of Solitude into pure Red Kryptonite…

Thanks to Wonder Woman’s battle savvy, the plot is frustrated and the stone thrown into the sun… just as Megistus intended…

All this has been read in the mystic chronicle by the Challengers and their fifth member Dr. June Robbins – whose merely mortal existence and eventual doom are tragically recorded in the Book. They rush off to investigate the universe-rending menace even as ‘Wally’s Choice’ brings the Flash and his rapidly aging children Jai and Iris West into unwelcome contact with manipulative genius Niles Caulder and his valiant Doom Patrol. “The Chief” claims he can cure the twins’ hyper-velocity malady, but Caulder never does anything for selfless reasons…

With no other hope, Wally and wife Linda acquiescence to the mad doctor’s scheme which relies on using elemental hero Rex Mason to stabilise their kids’ critical conditions. It might even have worked, had not Metamorpho been mystically abducted mid-process – consequently transforming the children into bizarre amalgams of Negative Man and Robot Man…

Worst of all, Flash was almost forced to choose which child to save and which should die…

Thinking faster than ever, the Scarlet Speedster beat the odds and pulled off a miracle, but in a distant place the pages of the Book were suddenly possessed and attacked the Challengers…

‘Changing Times’ featured a triptych of short team-up tales which played out as the Men that History Forgot battled a monster made of Destiny’s pages, beginning as the robotic Metal Men joined forces with young Robby Reed who could become a legion of champions whenever he needed to Dial H for Hero.

Sadly not even genius Will Magnus could have predicted the unfortunate result when crushingly shy robot Tin stuck his shiny digit in the arcane Dial…

Next, during WWII the combative Boy Commandos were joined by the Blackhawks in battling animated mummies intent on purloining the immensely powerful Orb of Ra from a lost pyramid, after which perpetually reincarnating warrior Hawkman joined substitute Atom Ryan Choi in defending Palaeolithic star-charts from the marauding Warlock of Ys, none of them aware that they were all doing the work of the malignly omnipresent Megistus…

The fourth chapter paralleled the Challengers’ incredible victory over the parchment peril with a brace of tales which saw the Man of Steel travel to ancient Britain to join heroic squire Brian of Kent (secretly the oppression-crushing Silent Knight) in bombastic battle against a deadly dragon, whilst the Teen Titans’ second ever case found Robin, Wonder Girl and Kid Flash in Atlantis for the marriage of Aquaman and Mera.

Unfortunately Megistus’ drone Oceanus crashed the party, intent on turning Aqualad into an enslaved route map to the future…

And inCalifornia, the Challengers attempted to save Green Lantern’s Power Battery from being stolen only to find it in the possession of an ensorcelled Metamorpho…

As the Element Man easily overwhelmed Destiny’s Deputies, Jerry Ordway assumed the penciller’s role for issues #5-6.

‘Superman and Ultraman’ saw the natural enemies initially clash and then collaborate at the behest of an alternate universe’s Mr. Mixyezpitelik, who revealed the appalling scope and nature of Megistus’ supernal transformational ambitions, leading to a gathering of the heroic clans and a blistering Battle Royale in the roaring heart of the Sun…

With the fate of reality at stake and featuring a veritable army of guest stars ‘The Brave and the Bold’ wrapped up the saga with a terrible, tragic sacrifice from the noblest hero of all, whilst subtly setting the scene for the upcoming Final Crisis

With fascinating designs and pencil art from Ordway to tantalise the art lovers, this second captivating collection superbly embodies all the bravura flash and dazzle thrills superhero comics so perfectly excel at. This is a gripping fanciful epic with many engaging strands that perfectly coalesce into a frantic and fabulous free-for-all overflowing with all the style, enthusiasm and sheer exuberant joy you’d expect from the industry’s top costumed drama talents.

The Brave and the Bold: The Book of Destiny is another great story with great art, ideal for kids of all ages to read and re-read over and over again.
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