Review – Detective Comics #977 (DC Comics)

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artwork: Eddy Barrows & Javier Fernandez (pencils and inks), John Kalisz (colours), Sal Cipriano (letters)
Release Date: 28th March 2018

In the latest issue of ‘Tec, Red Robin gets to see the dark future that drives him to become Saviour courtesy of ex-colony tech Ulysses Hadrian Armstrong.  Also, we catch a glimpse of a grim series of events leading to a final confrontation between Batwoman and Batman, as well as very brief flash of an old enemy.

James Tynion IV is beginning to accelerate things this issue as we see the pieces of the puzzle becoming locked together and hurtling towards a future that spells the end for the current status quo.  We witness Tim struggling to come to terms with what seems like a future set in stone, and the events that are pushing him closer to a conclusion he has been trying so hard to avoid.  Even when Tim finally seems to make the right choice an external force kicks off events that might actually escalate issues further, leading the reader to question whether we are really in control of our own fate or if by trying to change things we end up invoking the self-same events we tried to alter in the first place.

Javier Fernandez is joined by Eddy Barrows on pencils this issue and the paid do a good job of keeping a consistent style throughout.  The future sequence is as dark and gritty as you would expect given Saviour’s backstory, and the entire event feels brutal and final as an older Bruce Wayne holds his own against an encroaching army with ferocity and purpose but in the end he is gunned down by one of his own.  The tragedy of the moment and the subsequent fury as Tim arrives on the scene is encapsulated perfectly as lighting splits the sky.

The remainder of the pages are drawn with heavy shadow and John Kalisz brings an oppressive and dark palette as if foreshadowing what is to come.  The entire books feels like a nightmare in motion thanks to smart use of deep reds and a blueish light that bathes the majority of the book.

It is strange to see a team that worked so well together so now seemingly working even better against their former team mates.  Bruce has often refused to work with anyone else, preferring to work alone and perhaps he has good cause after we have been offered a glimpse of how far south everything has gone.

A new reader could pick this up and catch up as they go, although I feel that without the build-up of the Gotham Knights and their eventual collapse, they would definitely be missing something that would help make these events seem much more important.  It really felt like a knife slowly turning in my gut as I read this issue – but in a good way y’know? The reader has come to know and care for these characters and it is grotesquely fascinating to follow this tale.

Detective Comics is a book that fully earns its right to exist alongside the other heavy-hitters of the DCU.  Tynion and his team have created the Batman equivalent of the Justice League with each member a formidable force and each of them fleshed out and established to the point where the reader really buys in to them.  I look forward to seeing how much more darkness can infest our team before the end finally arrives.

Rating: 5/5.


The writer of this piece was: Dave MacPhail
Dave Tweets from @ShinKagato

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