Review: Bravest Warriors #23

There are comics that I review that I love, and there are comics that I review that I hate. And then, in the Bravest Warriors pile, there are comics I review that leave me simply mystified. This issue is somewhere in the middle of a multi-part storyline, which I just jumped into last issue and it was not particularly new-reader-friendly. Perhaps in the spirit of that, neither is this one, but I’m picking up on threads from the last issue that are carrying over, and I’m not just going glossy-eyed about Catbug. The main feature of this issue is mostly a running-from-booby traps story, along with more of the misadventures of Chris, who is in the thrall of some mean aliens and an even-meaner slave-boy.

Where Bravest Warriors as a concept starts to lose me is around the time it actually introduces a plot to these characters. I’m not saying the plots are difficult or hard to follow, but rather that the characters are such cyphers that it’s hard for me to assign meaning to their plots. In a lot of very real ways, the Bravest Warriors crew are all amalgamations-upon-amalgamations of cartoon tropes and sci-fi heroes. Where Finn and Jake from Adventure Time have a rich past that gets revealed piece by piece, they also function in the present as a dynamic team with needs and wants. The Bravest Warriors seem like they just hang around and sometimes weird things happen to them, and nothing tends to change. On some level, that’s why they work really well in short backup stories or under-five-minute internet videos. You don’t have to invest much, you can just take the ride.

BravestWarriors23_COVER-ANone of this is to say this comic is poorly written or drawn. I’m criticizing the property, not the artists. Kate Leth has some kind of magical ability to step into other peoples’ worlds and take hold of their characters by making them her own without losing them in fan service. She is telling her own story with the Bravest Warriors gang, and while it’s not a story that moves me particularly, it’s set up well. Her pacing is on point, and I like that she is including little brain-teaser codes to break. They’re a little bit nostalgic, since I remember them from literally all the magazines I had as a child, so seeing them here is fun.

Ian McGinty’s art is strong in this issue as well, with a vibrant color palette, and excellent pacing for the chase through the caves. He and Leth seem to be gelling quite well on this series, and it’s a pleasure to see them firing on all cylinders like that.

Overall, I’m not sure I’ll be able to stick with Bravest Warriors. I’m seeing what it’s putting down, and I’m noting that it has value and is enjoyable to a slice of the population, I’m just not picking it up. Sorry, gang. I’ll hang on for Leth’s Edward Scissorhands and Fraggle Rock books and I’ll keep an eye out for McGinty’s next project.

Score: 3/5

Writer: Kate Leth Artist: Ian McGinty Publisher: KaBoom/BOOM! Studios Price: $3.99 Release Date: 8/27/14