Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artwork Alvaro Martinez (pencils), Raul Fernandez (inks), Brad Anderson (colours)
Release Date: 9th August 2017
Long-time DC readers know that there are Bat-books, mini-series, one shots and Graphic Novels. However, when it comes to the core titles I’ll confess to being a bit of a traditionalist. BATMAN is the more superheroic comic. DETECTIVE COMICS, as the name implies, is the more mystery centric and crime orientated comic. SHADOW OF THE BAT was the more psychological slice of life. And LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT was full of gritty, “year one” inspired tales. For years the Batman line thrived on exploring the different parts of our hero via varying angles.
What makes the current run of Detective Comics so entertaining is that it reads like a fusion of the satellite Bat books from the ‘90s, filled with character development, action, nods and winks to existing continuity while still being resolutely its own beast.
This latest arc has been heavily focused on the once (and maybe future) Batman Jean Paul Valley, and anyone wearing their nostalgia goggles will not be disappointed. Throwbacks to Sword of Azrael, Knightfall and other 90s tales are referenced in an issue which builds strongly on the preceding chapters, while setting up many more.
Wrapped in a beautiful cover, Detective Comics delivers solid entertainment, great character moments and all the action you would expect from a top-tier Bat book.
One (very slight) criticism is that without the weight of history behind this story, it would geek very flat. This is the Bat book for Bat geeks, and many references could potentially sail over newcomers heads.
If anything, the book would benefit from returning to its mystery/crime roots for a few issues. ‘Tec seems to be missing that noir tinge – the touch of Miller, Loeb or Rucka that helped fuel all those classic runs. This is very much a fusion of many other books, and I can’t help but think the resulting style feels a little out of place in Detective Comics. However, this is not a criticism, merely an observation that this run would perhaps be better served in the pages of a satellite book, as Detective is bordering on becoming too quirky and too team-focused for a core book. This could almost be Batman and the Outsiders, such is the team focus on display.
This is a very good comic, not yet quintessential but still highly recommended. As ever, open a beer, make a cuppa, turn off the TV and enjoy. Trust me, it’s a good ‘un.
[Click to Enlarge]
The writer of this piece was: Craig Gorman.
Craig Tweets from @Gorminator1979