Review – Detective Comics #981 (DC Comics)

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artwork: Eddy Barrows (pencils), Eber Ferreira (inks), Adriano Lucas (colours)
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Release Date: 23rd May 2018

In the latest issue of ‘Tec, Tim continues to show Kate the dark future that created his Savior persona and, in the process, uncovers something he didn’t know.  Elsewhere, the rest of the Bat family have their hands full taking on OMAC-converted colony soldiers, and we get to finally see the last seconds of Bruce Wayne’s life.

Over the course of his stellar run, James Tynion IV has taken us on an incredible journey with the formation of the Gotham Knights, the rise and fall of Clayface and the final act of this particular story.  There have been tears along the way and an unprecedented amount of character development, something which has been a real strength of the series ever since he took the helm.  I really feel the cast has grown and evolved under Tynion’s writing, and this is never more evident than when we witness Ulysses and Stephanie battle for Tim’s future. It is not only Tim that has grown but Cassandra, Stephanie and even Bruce to some degree.

Eddy Barrows is on pencils this issue and does a fantastic job on what are arguably some of the most important panels of the series.  We also have several touching scenes towards the end of the book which are handled with the requisite care to really bring home the emotional impact that comes from two characters who are often at odds with each other finally finding peace.  Adriano Lucas provides the colour palette which adapts beautifully between the dark reds and blacks of the first half of the book, to the tranquil and much more subdued colours when the danger has passed.

This issue resets the board in a lot of ways and sets up the cast to be used in whatever way the next writer choses. It can at times feel a little too neat, but it’s nice to see a writer take the time to give his cast a proper send off.

Detective Comics has been an excellent team book with as much of a focus on character development as it has on action and intrigue.  We watched a former villain become a member of the Bat family (becoming one of my personal favourite characters in the process), and Cassandra really come into her own.  I definitely felt after putting this issue down that we had all been taken on a journey and learned a lot about the people behind the cowls, and I’d like to hope that the next creative team will put as much effort into continuing their development.

James Tynion IV may be departing the book now but he has left behind a legacy that he can be proud of.  He has also left some very big shoes to fill and I hope the next writer is up to the challenge.  The series has been a consistent highlight in DC’s comic book line and a masterclass on how to write a team book, and this issue is a fitting end to the current story and a heartfelt farewell from the talented creative team that made it a reality.

Rating: 5/5.


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

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