Batman and Green Arrow encounter
Native American religion and culture in
The Brave and the Bold #71
This page presents excerpts from The Brave and the Bold #71, which revolves entirely around Batman and Green Arrow entering into a conflict between two rivals for the position of new chief of their Native American tribe.
All of the comic book excerpts on this page come from Brave and the Bold #71, written by Bob Haney and illustrated by George Papp; published in May 1967; reprinted in DC Showcase Presents: The Brave and the Bold presents Batman Team-Ups Volume 1, published by DC Comics (2007).
This story, titled "The Wrath of the Thunderbird," focues entirely on Native American religion and culture. As was often done with superhero stories from this era that focused on a minority religious or ethnic culture, both a noble heroic character as well an antagonist character were drawn from the same minority group. In this case, the story features the nefarious "Tom Tallwolf" and the noble "John Whitebird." Both of these men are members of the Kijowa tribe, and both have left the reservation to live in the big city where they have become immensely successful businessmen. Tom Tallwolf, however, uses underhanded, strongarm tactics in his trucking business, while John Whitebird is portrayed as more benevolent.
When the chief of the Kijowa tribe dies, a contest of traditional Native American skill is to be held to replace him. The two candidates are Tom Tallwolf and John Whitebird. Whitebird asks Batman to help train him in preparation for the contest, because he is woefully out of practice in traditional native American skills. Tom Tallwolf, however, is a practiced, skilled Indian warrior. Batman agrees to train John Whitebird, but Batman has little skill in archery, which is the most important part of the contest. So Batman brings in a friend to help: the Green Arrow.
There are shenanigans involving a corrupt event promoter (called "The Promoter"), who emerges as the story's true villain. The Promoter rigs the contest, ensuring that Tom Tallwolf dishonestly wins the event and is instated as chief of the Kijowas. Then the Promoter blackmails Tom Tallwolf into using his new status as chief to release the legendary, mystical "Thunderbird," which the Promoter hopes to capture and capitalize on in some sort of spectator event. Of course, the Thunderbird is not easily controlled, and it attacks all involved, including Batman and the Green Arrow. The two super-heroes manage to save the day, and Tom Tallwolf becomes repentant, showing that he's not really such a bad guy after all. After the heroes return the Thunderbird to its prison cave, Tom Tallwolf steps down and tells his tribe that not John Whitebird is their chief.
Webpage created 26 May 2007. Last modified 26 May 2007.
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