Review – Detective Comics #983 (DC Comics)

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Bryan Edward Hill
Artwork: Miguel Mendonca (pencils), Diana Egea (inks)
Colours: Adriano Lucas
Lettering: Sal Cipriano
Release Date: 27th June 2018

There is a new threat in Gotham as an unknown assailant is targeting members of the Bat Family, claiming that they are causing Batman to become weak.  The villain appears to be familiar with Batman’s allies as he corners them one at a time and even refers to Batman as Bruce.  In the meantime, Batman tries to recruit Black Lightning to lead a new team he has formed after the failure of the Gotham Knights.

Bryan Edward Hill has started off what promises to be a fresh and exciting new arc, setting up a credible threat to Batman and his allies. The aggressor appears to know a lot about Batman and his tactics as well as the locations and actions likely to be taken by them.  In all likelihood we will probably recognise just who this mystery figure is and how he fits in to Batman’s life as soon as the mask is removed but for now it could literally be anyone.

We also get to witness first-hand just how serious this new threat is when he targets a social media celebrity for being a self-proclaimed super fan of the Dark Knight, with his view that people should celebrate the Bat rather than be fearful of him seems to be a particular sticking point.  Batman himself is well written and feels completely in-character, and Alfred also feels particularly authentic, making it feels like the series is in good hands.

Miguel Mendonca and Diana Egea bring a very detailed and distinctive, look re-creating the familiar faces of Gotham with their own unique flair.  There are some great action sequences in the book including a battle featuring Black Lightning and a high-speed car chase with Batman.  Each of the panels used feature all of the hallmarks of an animated or Hollywood feature with large explosions and special effects filling each page.

There is an incredible amount of detail on display here – detail which is augmented by Adriano Lucas’ colours, a doubly impressive feat given the fact that most of the book takes place at night, necessitating some smart use of lighting and darkness.  The colours are particularly vibrant during Black Lightning’s battle with electric blues and warm orange flames becoming central themes.

It’s a brand-new arc with a new creative team so this should be viewed as a perfect jumping-on point for anyone looking to get involved.  It’s clear that Bat Family will not be enjoying any down time as they are becoming active targets for this mystery assailant.  The book wastes no time getting things in motion and like every good first issue we are left wanting more, asking questions and really examining the events closely for a hint as to the identity of our new foe.  It is also exciting to see Batman, once a solitary figure, now reaching out to other heroes outside of the Justice League and Bat family to help train a new generation of heroes.

This is a great first issue and it already feels like this new creative team are particularly comfortable with Batman and his extended cast.  The dialogue is consistent with how we know the characters to be and the art is exemplary on all levels.  There are a lot of unknowns at this point, and that is almost always how a good story starts. It is refreshing to see a brand new team really understand the cast and characters of a book so quickly, and my expectations are now incredibly high for the next issue.

Rating: 4/5.


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

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