Review: Batman 23

Abel Loza Abel Loza
Expert Contributor
May 22nd, 2017

If you give me the chance, ill talk your ear off about comic books. As the legend states, “Abel’s first words were ‘Batman.'”
#TeamBatman

Review: Batman 23
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Review of: Batman 23
Price:
Hell Yeah

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On May 22, 2017
Last modified:May 22, 2017

Summary:

Batman #23 was perhaps the best single issue of Tom King’s run so far, and that is saying quite a lot since he has had some really good issues. I absolutely love when Batman and Swamp Thing team-up and when left in good hands, those characters can work very well together. This issue peals back so many layers in only a few pages, and this is true talent at work.

Review of: Batman 23
Price:
Hell Yeah

Reviewed by:
Rating:

5
On May 22, 2017
Last modified:May 22, 2017

Summary:

Batman #23 was perhaps the best single issue of Tom King’s run so far, and that is saying quite a lot since he has had some really good issues. I absolutely love when Batman and Swamp Thing team-up and when left in good hands, those characters can work very well together. This issue peals back so many layers in only a few pages, and this is true talent at work.

MORE NEWS FROM THE WEB

Batman #23 is the first issue after the “I am Bane” storyline and the first after “The Button” crossover and Tom King takes a break from a major storyline to give us a single issue short story. In Batman #23, King pairs up two of the most unlikely partners in the DC universe in Batman and Swamp Thing. The two are trying to figure out the mystery of a  murder that ends up hitting closer to home to both characters than they had hoped. Our Batman and Swamp Thing fan, Abel Loza will break down “The Brave and the Mold.”

Review: Batman 23

Courtesy of DC Comics

"SHE IS DEARER BY FAR THAT THE WORLD’S BRIGHTEST STAR. AND I CALL HER MY WILD IRISH ROSE.”

Review: Batman #23

Synopsis:

After a mysterious murder occurs on the 84th floor of a Gotham City apartment complex, Batman and Swamp Thing are brought together by the details of the murder. Bruce and Alec then team-up to find out who was behind the murder and why the victim was shot twice in the head, after the first one had obviously killed him. After Swamp Thing and Batman find out who has behind the murder, a twist at the end of the issue tears apart the relationship that had built prior to and during the team-up to solve the mystery. The relationship between the two was torn so badly in fact, that Bruce and Alec might not be able to see eye-to-eye ever again.

Break Down:

Some Spoilers Ahead!

Story continues below

Courtesy of DC Comics

My two favorite DC characters in the entire world, Batman and Swamp Thing, teamed up in The Brave and the Mold aka Batman #23, in what was a fantastic one-shot story that takes place between the I am Bane story line and the next big story arc, whatever that is.

The entire story is centered on a murder mystery, where Batman and Commissioner Gordon find a dead body on the 84th floor of an apartment building. As it turns out, the person murdered was Alec Holland’s (Swamp Thing's) estranged father. Obviously Swamp Thing and Batman want to get to the bottom of it and figure out who killed Mr. Bernard McGinn.

The entire story is set within one single issue, which in my opinion, makes it harder to tell a self-contained, single issue story. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have seen Swamp Thing and Batman work together for more than one issue, but King is starting to become really good at telling these small-scale, street-level Batman stories that are packed with so much story, emotion and humor.

Speaking of the humor, Batman #23 has great jokes that are timed perfectly within this story. In such a serious story, the little pinches of humor that are sprinkled within the issue, keeps the story grounded and gives both Batman and Swamp Thing added layers, even if just for this single issue. There is never a moment where a joke or bit takes you out of the story. At its core, this story is a murder-mystery, but the humor makes the ending sting a bit more, in my opinion.

I love that King keeps using the C-level villains in his run. Kite Man (Hell Yeah!) makes his triumphant return to the series. After making his first two appearances on Batman #6 and Batman #14, Kite Man is back in Batman 23. How impossibly awesome would it be if Kite Man finally gets his day in the sun and gets a serious run against Batman?  Probably not going to happen, but a man can dream. King keeps digging deep into the Batman rouge’s gallery and it makes for very entertaining story telling.

Hell Yea

Courtesy of DC Comics

The continued collaboration between King and Mitch Gerard on Batman is paying dividend with the depth of the story. As we turn to a more serious breakdown of Batman #23, Gerard was able to do a fantastic job giving Swamp Thing facial features that make us feel for his father’s death. Towards the end of the story after *SPOILERS* Swamp Thing kills Headhunter, you cannot only obviously see, but you can feel the agony Alec had been through. Although his dad had been estranged, it was still his father. Gerard did a good job of allowing us to see facial features in Swamp Thing, who is not normally known for emoting expression, and it would seem very difficult to draw emotions on a humanoid plant. Kudos to Gerard!

I also love the Grindhouse movie feel of the chapter titles. It's very noire murder-mystery and it fit perfectly for this type of story.

Courtesy of DC Comics

Side note: The current Batmobile is great. I love the old school version of the car. It makes Batman more comic-y.

Courtesy of DC Comics

In the main and what I think most important aspect of this issue, Batman was able to relate to Swamp Thing’s situation because he knows what it feels like to lose a father, which is why Batman let Swamp Thing tag along in the mission. In this issue, that exposed on of Batman’s characters flaws. He helped and led to the death of Headhunter because Bruce wanted to help someone find their parents killer. Bruce must remember however, that not all “heroes” share his #1 rule. Swamp Thing certainly does not, and Batman figured out he had a hand in the bounty hunter’s death, once it was too late.

Batman wanted to help so badly, almost to a flaw. One could say he was clouded by his sympathy for Alec that he did not once think about what would happen if Swamp Thing got ahold of the person who killed his father. When Swamp Thing finally did grab ahold of the killer and started to brutally torture him, it made Batman feel powerless. Batman is known to always have control, when he lost control in this situation it made him feel vulnerable and is perhaps where Bruce feels the most upset about.

Story continues below

Courtesy of DC Comics

This issue reminded me that it’s been long overdue for a Swamp Thing running series, and I hope we can get one soon. If Tom King (who is scheduled to write a Mr. Miracle series) ever decided to leave Batman for another series, he has shown that he can write a competent and exciting Swamp Thing story.

I hope we can see these two team up again sometime soon and have Tom King delve deeper into what seems to be a complex relationship between Swamp Thing and Batman.

Abel Loza is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @st_abel45

Batman 23

  • 5

Hell Yeah

Batman #23 was perhaps the best single issue of Tom King’s run so far, and that is saying quite a lot since he has had some really good issues. I absolutely love when Batman and Swamp Thing team-up and when left in good hands, those characters can work very well together. This issue peals back so many layers in only a few pages, and this is true talent at work.

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