Review – Detective Comics #979 (DC Comics)

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artwork: Phil Briones, John Kalisz (colours)
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Release Date: 25th April 2018

Tim Drake struggles to maintain control of his own body as Ulysses infests his very being with the darkness that drove Saviour insane.  Elsewhere, Batman and Batwoman face off against an army of OMACs and the outcome has never been more uncertain.

The Bat-family are under attack from all sides. Tim battling an enemy from within with Ulysses now invading his very thoughts, cementing himself as the Joker/Luthor-esque nemesis that Tim has always needed.  Tynion has built up Ulysses to be the very antithesis of Tim; two men of great intellect, one using it to help others and the other to help himself.  As with most villains of note, Ulysses believes himself to be righteous and serving the greater good which makes him all too relatable.

Phil Briones is on pencils and inks this issue and brings us some of the darkest and most sombre panels you’ll find in a comic this month.  The sections featuring Ulysses and Tim feel distorted and nightmarish, Tim’s fear of losing control seeming almost palpable.  There are also a few good battle sequences which feel fluid and fast paced.  The enemies hit hard and the images really sell the struggle as they rapidly adapt to our heroes’ fighting styles.

John Kalisz is on colours again and helps to provide consistency to the artwork, bringing his dynamic and dark palette over from the previous issue.  There are once again lots of blacks and reds that help give Brother Eye his defining and memorable look.

The story touches on enough of the previous arcs and plot points that anyone could pick this up and get caught up fairly quickly with current events.  Luckily for new readers, Ulysses really likes the sound of his own voice so much of what has come to pass so far is explained to us through one of his monologues.

Serving as the middle/bridging issue of the story it feels like we don’t see quite as much development and action as we have been used to here, but it really does feel like the stage has been well and truly set for the key players to meet up and take the story to its inevitable conclusion.

This arc is really starting to come together as Tim tries in vain to fight back against the machinations of Ulysses and Brother Eye.  The extended cast of the Bat-family appear to have been well and truly outplayed, but there is one ace in the hole that might prove effective.

The series has been hurtling towards this point for some time but it will be interesting in the aftermath to see if Batman and his allies can ever fully recover from this event.  Tynion and his creative team continue to raise the stakes on a fortnightly basis, and really help to sell us on the urgency of this particular threat and what it could mean to the DCU if our heroes fail.

Rating: 4/5.


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

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