I’m noticing a trend with Tom King and Mitch Gerads’ Batman collaborations. Last time the duo teamed up, they crafted one of the greatest Batman/Catwoman romance stories ever. Now the two have reunited again to chronicle a Batman/Swamp Thing team-up, and once again they set the gold standard.
Batman #23 works as a completely standalone adventure, one that doesn’t require any knowledge of King’s previous issues or the just-concluded “The Button” crossover. It’s a very simple story on its surface, as Swamp Thing arrives in Gotham to seek Batman’s help in investigating a murder. But King immediately builds a very personal connection between these heroes, and that dead body turns out to be none other than Alec Holland’s father. The specter of Thomas Wayne is hanging over this series more than ever of late, and King subtly capitalizes on that element of shared tragedy in much the same way he and Joshua Williamson did in “The Button.” It would be easy enough to focus this issue on the Odd Couple dynamic of the grounded Batman and the supernaturally charged Swamp Thing, but King and Gerads are far more ambitious.
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