“Truth. Justice . Etcetera.”
The Brave and Handsome Square are a collective of fairly random ‘heroes’, who try (and usually fail) to solve crimes, usually as a direct result of their own dysfunction, inadequacy and… well… flat-out weirdness.
The book employs a somewhat scattershot approach to its humour, firing off gags and puns at a startling rate. Thankfully, enough of them find their mark to make the book a worthwhile experience, although there are almost as many groans as chuckles to be had here, it has to be said. The comedy has a definite ‘all ages’ approach, and while there’s a lot of cheesy puns and colourful characters on tap for the younger readers, the comic also features hefty amount of fourth wall breaking and self-referential humour for the ‘grown-ups’.
There’s definitely some potential here, and when the humour finds its mark, it’s pretty darn hilarious (in particular during the team’s interaction with the latest ‘villain’). The team itself, while interesting enough, seems to be trying a little too hard to be offbeat, and comprises of a chubby loser, a robot, a Neptune-esque “king of the sea” and a dry, sarcastic moon man. Yes, a moon man, as in a moon with arms and legs. If that doesn’t give you an idea of the vibe this book is going for, then I’m not sure what else will.
The story of the first issues sees them taking on a nefarious plot to enslave the world through the medium of fast food, and deals with such punchy topics as addiction, redemption, and the corrupt nature of big business. Well, not really, although it’s still a lot of fun, and works perfectly well asa self-contained ‘episode’ of the BAHS’s life.
The artwork is undeniably basic, with the colouring giving everything a flat, two dimensional appearance and some of the backgrounds sorely lacking in details. That said, for an all-ages title, it’s more than passable, and I get the impression that highly detailed, highly realistic artwork wouldn’t quite work on a title like this.
Overall, while it’s a little rough at the moment, I think that with a bit of polish on the artistic side of things and a slightly more restrained approach to the humour, The Brave and Handsome Squad could do really well for itself. Glasgow-based Cooper clearly has an extremely high level of creativity, and with a little more focus, we could be looking at something truly special. As it stands, this is worth a look anyway, if only for the Squad’s final showdown with the ‘big bad’.
The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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