Wednesday, April 2, 2014

SPOILERS: Detective Comics #30

As a mother and daughter look over Gotham, hoping for a fresh start, elsewhere in a seedier Gotham locale, Jonny, brother of a gangster known as the Squid, seems to have lifted some Icarus from a local biker game, and feels on top of the world... That is, until Batman shows up and busts him... Then he finds the biker gang waiting for him outside. So of course, because Batman is Batman, he starts fighting the biker gang too, but Jonny gets taken by Holter, the leader of the gang, as Batman is left behind.

Sometime later, Bruce meets with the woman seen in the opening scene, here name is Elena Aguila, and the two are at a motocross event her daughter Annie is competing in. Turns out the Waterfront of Gotham (which is pretty shitty) is about to be commercially developed, but Elena pitches Bruce against that, instead suggesting her foundation build things that area needs like shelters and rehabilitation facilities. It's not a finically smart move, but nonetheless, Bruce accepts.

So with news that Wayne Enterprises aren't going with the commercial real estate, some Gotham Congressman named Sam Young (Who I'm pretty sure isn't supposed to be the guy Barbara married in Batman Beyond... or at least I hope not since he's a white blond dude) speaks to the press about being disappointed in the decision, meanwhile some gangster who uses the congressman as a mouthpiece tells him he's going to put the pressure on Wayne.

Then we meet The Squid, who got his brother Jonny back, and is punishing someone for stealing from the Kings of the Sun (even though it was Jonny's idea). The punishment is lowering this poor sap into a tank with a giant man-eating squid, all with a lecture from The Squid to Jonny about having the stomach for this life.

In the Batcave, Bruce is attending to Damian's old motorcycle, this coming after Elena said a few things about being a parent that hit close to home. Alfred comes in and gives him a pep talk about how he was a good father to Damian, and would see that if he forgave himself. Alfred also mentions that the background check on Elena came back clean as a whistle, and how she reminds him of Martha.

BUT WAIT! The alarm goes off, and Bruce puts the manor onto lockdown. When he heads upstairs, he sees what looks to be a person on fire running across his property and shortly finds out that it's Elena, having fallen victim to an overdose of Icarus (go read The Flash #25, the Zero Year tie-in).


The Good:

Well, let's get this out of the way, the art is phenomenal. It's not as crazy and kinetic as The Flash was, but hey, Batman doesn't have super-speed. That said, as someone who was skeptical of how Manapul and Buccellato's art style was going to fit Gotham, I came away very pleased. Manapul just makes everyone look good, and Buccellato's color pallet has more of a dark pastel look, much more fitting to Gotham than the vibrance we had seen in The Flash.

As for the story, I thought it was a good start, definitely keeping true to the name Detective Comics and keeping things pretty grounded in terms of the criminal element, instead of using whichever Arkham inmate is destroying Gotham this week. The smaller (but no less interesting) scale differentiates this book from Batman and presumably Batman: Eternal, which had me receiving some borderline Dini-Detective Comics vibes from it. 

Finally, in keeping with something that Layman's run did a lot which I loved, plenty of references to recent stories, from Damian to Bruce's speech outside Ace Chemicals in Zero Year.

The Bad:

I've read a lot of high praise for this issue, and while it's deserving of most of it, I definitely thought there was a major flaw with the issue: It was really choppy. There is zero transition between scenes, just hard cut after hard cut. The issue almost introduces too much too quickly, and the final product feels like a rough edit of sorts. While cut-aways are nothing out of the ordinary in comics, or any visual medium, the issue here is that everything is new, if these cuts were to ongoing plot threads that we knew were relevant to one another, then it'd be a little smoother, but here it's just: introduction, introduction, introduction. 

Take The Squid for example, we're briefly introduced to him feeding a guy to a giant squid, and that's it. I don't know who he is other than a gangster, and well, there's a lot of those in Gotham. I feel like if Squid was just mentioned in this issue so we know that he's a player, and next issue we actually meet him when we see Holter bring Jonny back to him, then we learn what the deal is with those two and who The Squid is as a player in Gotham as whole, that would have been a better way to have things fleshed out. But instead, it's just a really brief introduction to this guy, after string of other equally brief introductions.

The Bottom Line:

While this new creative team's first issue was a beauty and filled with promise, it was a bit rough around the edges with how the story flowed from scene to scene. Don't get me wrong, I didn't find anything that was introduced in this issue to actually be bad, I just thought there was a little too much too soon. Once we get a couple more issues of this arc and everything gets a bit more established, I'm confident things will smooth out, but quickly introducing everyone up front in a single issue left me feeling like this was a rough cut of a story with a lot of potential.


1 comment :

  1. Any idea why they changed the cover to this one?
    I was really looking forward to one previously announced/released.