Friday, October 31, 2008

40 Years Ago Today From DC Comics -- Brave and the Bold #81

Brave and the Bold #81 (On Sale: October 31, 1968) has a great Batman and Flash cover by Neal Adams.

"But Bork Can Hurt You" is by Bob Haney, Neal Adams and Vince Colletta. This is Colletta's first super-hero inking job for DC and boy did it cause a stink. Adams was infuriated when he saw what Colletta had done to his pencils, going back and inking over Colletta in places in an attempt to salvage his work. Some also say that Adams got some of the later pages back from Colletta and had Dick Giordano ink them. It's been so long since I looked at this book that I really don't remember, but if ever two artists styles clashed it was Adams and Colletta. Neal made sure that Colletta never inked his work again.

Small-time hood Carl Bork suddenly discovers that he is invulnerable to any physical harm. Using his new ability, Bork takes over a local gang and stymies police who cannot stop the bulletproof crook. Even Batman is unable to beat Bork, who begins raising a criminal army to take over Gotham City.

Batman and the police try to hold off Bork, while the Flash searches the world for the source of Bork's power. He discovers that a statue of Bork is responsible, and it shares a mystical connection to its subject. Flash locates the statue, but, like Bork, it too proves to be invulnerable. Flash is finally able to damage the hand slightly with a laser, but the laser is not powerful enough to harm the statue further.

Batman notices that Bork's hand is no longer invulnerable. He believes that Flash is working on the problem and is inspired by the progress. Rather than risk a war in the streets of Gotham, he challenges Bork to a one-on-one fight. Bork's invulnerability proves more than a match for Batman. However, the Caped Crusader holds on to hope that Flash will come up with the answer to defeat Bork. His hope is rewarded when Flash is able to drag the statue into the sun where it is consumed. Once the statue is destroyed, Bork loses his power and is defeated by Batman.

Bork would return years later in a mutated form as a reformed criminal and an associate member of The Power Company, even getting his own book at one time. Reprinted in Best of the Brave and the Bold #2, Batman Illustrated by Neal Adams Vol. 1 HC and Showcase Presents the Brave and the Bold Batman Team-Ups Vol. 1 TPB.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

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