Review – Detective Comics #997 (DC)

Publisher: DC
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist: Doug Mahnke (pencils), Christian Alamy & Mark Irwin (inkers)
Colours: David Baron
Lettering: Rob Leigh
Release Date: 30th January 2019


I was really looking forward to Peter J. Tomasi taking over DETECTIVE.   I mean really looking forward to it.

As editor, he oversaw what was one of the finest runs of DC Comics ever in Morrison’s JLA. As writer, his SUPERMAN was the most vibrant and exciting since Byrne.

Tomasi understands DC, the Trinity and he ‘gets’ what makes the characters work.  So why am I not fully enjoying his run so far on ‘Tec?

Well, the tone is all over the place. One minute it’s action adventure, the next sci-fi fantasy and the next we flip to a grounded detective book. I know Golden Age Batman was very much like this, but the styles really aren’t meshing so far.

The killing of a long time cast member was crass, needless and wasteful. In fact, it was worse than that, it was cheap.   Alfred being attacked (AGAIN!!!) bordered on laughable. Seriously, there has to be another cast member who can take a few punches other than Mr Pennyworth.

That said, the opening few pages are straight out of the Denny O’Neil and Neil Adams playbook, however the aforementioned tonal inconsistencies turn up and affect what is otherwise a good, pulpy slice of fun.   I’m just hoping that the reveal in the last couple of pages accounts for some of the more fantastical elements, because if it does, this whole run will need to be re-evaluated.

Doug Mahnke does his usual excellent job, with Batman looking like he was hewn from a slab of granite. The colours by David Baron pop, and really make the book stand out visually.

It’s a strange comic. Hopefully once this arc is over, we can get back to some old skool detective/crime stories and really allow Tomasi to put his stamp on the book. This feels like treading water until the big 1,000th issue. Batman, and ‘Tec both deserve much better.

Can I recommend Detective Comics? Yes, but only just.

Rating: 3/5.


The writer of this piece was: Craig Gorman.
Craig Tweets from @Gorminator1979

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