Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Michael Moreci
Pencils: Sebastian Fiumara
Colours: Dave Stewart
Letters: Clem Robins
Release Date: 13th June 2018
Detective Comics has a new creative team and immediately sets out in a different direction to the other books in the Batman series. Deacon Blackfire makes an unexpected appearance as he tries to return to our realm by manipulating his only living relative Joshua.
Michael Moreci makes his debut as series writer and takes us back to the supernatural side of the Batman universe. Deacon Blackfire is attempting to make his return and, knowing Batman will likely try to stop him, decides to attack him first. We get to witness a Batman broken by his mistakes and failure to keep Gotham safe. A Batman paralysed by fear as he watches his city burn and is powerless to do anything about it. It’s a very different side of the Dark Knight, and it feels almost strange to see him so weak – the implication being that he draws strength from his allies feels slightly ham-fisted in its delivery.
Sebastian Fiumara is on pencils this issue and does a great job of bringing a more traditional look to Batman and his world, making things darker, grittier and filled with danger. He does a great job of portraying Blackfire as a threatening presence and the cult he controls as brainwashed zombies. The “Gotham on fire” section has an abstract and otherworldly feel to it, echoing Bruce’s state of mind as it is attacked by his foe. Adding to this effect, Dave Stewart carefully choses darker colours to enhance the nightmarish feel of the issue, elevating the art and the threat level simultaneously.
The story does seem like it’s over a little too quickly, and it feels like it should have been at least a 2-part story. The method used to despatch Blackfire seems like it comes out of nowhere and feels a little too easy given the trouble he gave Batman in the opening panels. The tale feels very disconnected from the Wedding themed issues the other Bat family are currently exploring and makes me wonder if it was placed in the schedule to allow the new team more time to get their real story ready.
Ever since Rebirth began, Detective Comics has been a book which focused on a large cast with complicated stories that feed in and out of the DC Universe, an approach this issue appears to forego almost completely. It is hard to tell if this will be the way of things to come for the series or if this book was a one-off. It may take time to transition to a ‘one story to one issue’ approach if that’s the case.
This is the first issue for a new creative team so it may take a few issues for them to really get comfortable and find the correct pace for their story telling. This story is a stand-alone tale so anyone could pick up this issue without any prior knowledge of the book or the events chronicled by the previous team.
The story here is simple and enjoyable enough, but seems to give Batman a somewhat inconsistent mental state that does not gel with the version of him we have had up until now. It will be interesting to see if the series will return to a solo book or continue the team-based adventure we had before.
The writer of this piece was: Dave MacPhail
Dave Tweets from @ShinKagato