This issue’s cover boasts this is the strangest team up in history. That’s a bold claim, but it might not be too far off. Either way, it made for a heck of a great read.
Writer Tom King crafts The Brave and The Mold — an awesome title BTW — as an homage of sorts to Swamp Thing co-creator Bernie Wrightson. Batman starts an investigation into the death of a largely insignificant man with no friends, ties and connections to anyone with the lone exception of Swamp Thing.
King continues to show a tremendous knack for getting into the heads of Batman and his guest stars. For non-regular Swamp Thing readers, this made for an interesting look at one of DC’s most unique characters. Along with some great moments like Alfred frantically trying to keep Wayne Manor clean during Swamp Thing’s visit.
I’m a big fan of the more deliberate, inquisitive Batman. He doesn’t have all the angles worked out yet, but is getting closer and closer to closing his case. King has approached Batman from a variety of ways, but the detective version remains my favorite. With Swamp Thing tagging along, that makes for a very unusual investigation.
One of King’s favorite Batman villains makes his always welcome and hilarious cameo. It’s such a minor thing, but those appearances show how dialed in King is to Batman’s history. And isn’t afraid to have a little fun in a Batman comic.
I also really loved that King was able to tell this story in one issue. That is a lost art in comics, but this felt like a fully fleshed out and realized story all in 21 pages. Mitch Gerads handles the art here and his style is a terrific fit for Batman making the detective rounds. Gerads frames the various conversations smartly. It doesn’t need to be flashy as it feels so in sync with the story in a way some comics don’t.
King may not hit a home run every issue on his run, but when he does they are spectacular grand slam at the bottom of the ninth style hits. This is another one that’s going to be considered one of the definitive issues of his run.
Rating: 10 out of 10