Review – Detective Comics #986 (DC Comics)

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Bryan Edward Hill
Artwork: Phil Briones
Colours: Adriano Lucas
Lettering: Sal Cipriano
Release Date: 8th August 2018

In the latest issue of Detective Comics, Batman goes on the offensive and takes the fight to Karma, while rest of the Bat Family decide to disobey Black Lightning and get involved. We also finally get a look at Karma close-up, and discover that he is a lot more damaged than we originally believed — and a lot more dangerous!

Bryan Edward Hill has put us at a bit of a cross roads for the Bat Family. Bruce has enlisted the help of Jefferson for a reason, and his words seem to be falling on deaf ears. We get a lot of development here with the team trying their best but ultimately failing to deliver as the damage done by Batwoman’s involvement in the previous arc still lingers in the air. Of course with most of the team being so young it also feels like there’s a bit of rebellion building up alongside their devotion to Batman, who’s playing the role of almost a surrogate father figure. We see Jefferson taking steps to pick up the slack and in a way proves himself even if the others can’t quite see it yet.

Phil Briones brings some gorgeous artwork this issue. The visuals are extremely detailed even in the most action-packed sequences. The fight between Batman and Karma feels truly painful as Karma predicts and counters each of Batman’s attacks in a brutal fashion. Karma comes off as an extremely narrow-minded yet undeniably charismatic individual. His body language betrays his overconfidence though as he feels untouchable due to the technology he has acquired. Black Lightning’s action sequence feels like a big budget special effect and the ending is as breath-taking as anything you would see on the big screen.

Adriano Lucas deploys some seriously eye-popping colour with Black Lightning’s electricity crackling violet and brilliant white during each of his sequences.  It really pops off the page, and the lighting used in the battle between Batman and Karma really helps sell the feeling of Bruce’s frustration, with each of the impacts being dramatically lit up and the ominous glow from Karma’s eye burning its way into our memories.

There is some great pay-off in this issue.  We finally get to see Black Lightning take some decisive action and the battle between Batman and Karma has shown this new enemy that he will need more than some fancy tech to outsmart the Bat. The Bat Family is in ruins right now but things aren’t quite unsalvageable yet. It will take time for the bonds to be re-forged and for the team to begin working as one unit again and I can’t wait for the eventual rebirth to finally happen. Hill and co. are doing a great job of picking up what Tynion started and putting their own stamp on it, and I am definitely looking forward to the adventures ahead.

Rating: 4/5.


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

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