Hot on the heels of Batman #22 with Bruce’s Father we get a crossover between Batman and Swamp Thing. With the title The Brave and the Mold we get a murder mystery involving Alec’s death Father, how ironic.
At the end of “I am Bane” Bruce deals with his Mother’s death alongside a touching monologue from her. Well in The Button we are on the other side with Bruce able to actually talk to his Father again. In which he tells Bruce to no longer be Batman, instead to be there for his son, like he was never able to be with Bruce. While we don’t see the repercussions of that conversation here, that is reserved for “The War of Jokes and Riddles” arc I would assume. There is an interesting take on how Bruce deals with his Fathers death as opposed to Alec. Where Bruce is out for revenge, Alec simply views it as the cycle of life, part of the Green.
This story does open up as quite a dark one, with the murder of Alec’s Father. Yet there is plenty of humor to be had here. I found myself chuckling quite a few times throughout the story. With Batman and Swamp Thing being so deadpan it was hilarious to see Gordon’s reaction to Alec’s arrival. Then there is the scene at Wayne manor with Alec and Bruce having tea, while Alfred is cleaning up the mess that Swamp Thing is creating. All while Bruce and Alec are having a pretty serious conversation, it’s hard not to get a good laugh out of the situation. There are plenty more moments here that will give you a smile and all of this is not at the cost of the story. As the ending here hits pretty hard despite the more comedic moments.
Mitch Gerads was the perfect choice for the artist here, doing not only pencils but also inks and colors. Gerads’s style brings a very realistic grounded feeling to the title, making the environments come to life. Much like his work on Sherrif of Babylon, there is a gritty realism here that pulls you in. Then we throw in Swamp Thing, who should feel so very out of place in Gotham, yet there he is and it kind of messes with your head. While it would have been easy to go the more horror and darker route Gerads took this and made it his own. Making this title that much better.
The Brave and the Mold, I still laugh at that, is dark, funny, and at times compelling. Being that it is a single shot, we get a completely contained story here and from start, to finish it is quite satisfying. With The War of Jokes and Riddles just around the corner, this was a welcome one-off story to give us a breather before we get into the thick of it again.
Reviewed by Tim Montoya
Script By: Tom King
Art by Mitch Gerads, Clayton Cowles
Published by DC
Release Date: May 17th, 2017