Tom King and Mitch Gerads pick up right where they left off in Sheriff of Babylon and bring their free-forming, fluid storytelling to the world of Batman and Gotham.
The duo's style fits so well that I had to pick my jaw off of the floor, in addition to having to find my stretchiest pants. Fluid is the word that keeps coming to my mind when trying to describe this pair's working style.
They can move a story in the blink of an eye while giving it more depth than anyone else could. How is this possible? Well, through playing with format and structure. I'm such a nerd for this kind of stuff, and that was easy to tell through our two interviews with King and my throbbing love for the Sheriff of Babylon from the very moment I picked that book up.
Here are a couple of examples, and I'll even throw in one of my favorite Sheriff panels for comparison.
A little context, this is Batman and the Cat spending the night jumping rooftops beating the shit out of various Batvillains from the past. The Cat is about to go to jail for life without parole, and there are a lot of rooftops, beatdowns, conversations on the fly and sexual intercourse.
This style works so damn well for Batman. There is so much going on, from all directions and this form of storytelling allows it to all fit in without bursting at the seams. King has been doing fantastic work on cementing his place as the main vehicle in the Batman universe, and the addition of Gerads, the best damn action artist in the world, will only help them settle into DC's Dark Knight.
King and Gerads tell a very emotional, heartfelt story in Batman No. 14, as the Cat gets one last night on the Rooftops of Gotham with Batman. The different places they go and faces they punch are beautifully articulated in a manner that allows the art and dialogue to work as one.
There is something about the way Gerads draws movement that just sucks me in. I'm almost so distracted by the fact that I'm not distracted by his level of expertise. The colors, the tones, the strokes, it's all there and it works seamlessly with this character.
As for King, he tells a story that somehow makes the Cat come off as this sympathetic woman spending her last free night with the man who will deliver her to prison. There is so much care for each other, and such an understanding of their relationship and their role that it makes me fall in love with Batman even more.
The work that has been done for his personality since the launch of Rebirth, by King, Scott Snyder and others, has been nothing short of remarkable. This is a more relatable character than ever, and seeing this soft, caring side to him after seeing an over-the-top overemphasized version of him just sticks together like glue.
Rating 10/10: As for team debuts on a major character, it doesn't get much better than Tom King and Mitch Gerads' work on Batman No. 14. Heck, you're hard-pressed to find anyone who does it better than either of these guys.
They brought the best elements from Sheriff of Babylon and incorporated them into Batman and Gotham, and it works so damn well.
One more Batman and Sheriff comparison, because I absolutely love seeing this style come with a character of this magnitude. I'm in love:
The level of madness captured in the above and below panels is amazing.