Wednesday, June 8, 2016

SPOILERS: Detective Comics #934

For the first time, in a very long time, Detective Comics really differentiates itself as something other than "the other Batman book."

The Spoilers:

There's a threat coming to Gotham, and surprise surprise, they beat up the guy with the goofy haircut, because their bullies like that. Turns out Azrael gets beat up by a guy who looks a hell of a lot like Batman, and when the real Batman shows up, he realizes he, along with all the heroes in Gotham are being watched, so he figures he needs backup.

Cue the whole point of this new run, starting a team co-lead by Batwoman, who throughout the issue, firmly makes it clear that she's not Batman's subordinate. They go on their recruitment drive to bring in Tim, Stephanie, Cass and for whatever reason, Clayface while whoever is watching them, amasses an army in return. 

The Opinion:

This was a really good first issue. I've said it time and time again, that Detective Comics is truly boring when it's just treated as "the other" Batman book, or the "street level" book, and it takes some truly special talent to make that work and stand next to the A-plot book. So giving the title something that makes it stand out from the Batman solo, is something that has been long overdue, not to mention the idea of a Batman team book. 

What I loved about this issue is that it felt so natural. What was lost in the New 52 was these characters not having a reason to share the same page. Every time someone guess started in a book, it had to be solicited in advance and treated as a thing, because everything was so fucking distant from everything else. I missed the times when characters could pretty much freely go through each other's books and it felt natural simply because they were heroes in the same city and it made sense. I mean, let's ask ourselves when was the last noticeable time Tim Drake showed up in a Gotham set book without it being part of a crossover? Hell, how many years have I spent making jokes that Tim got retconned out of the New 52 Gotham entirely? So good on James Tynion for specifically setting out to make Detective comics something that was not just the other Batman book and really hammered home the renewed sense of cohesion with Rebirth.

Art was spectacular too. I like Eddy Barrows, but with David Finch on Batman, I was hoping Detective would be a something little less "house style" as in big bold action figure looking characters. That said, some of these pages are truly stunning, and Adriano Lucas' colors manage to make the book look dark and vibrant at the same time. That said, I've mentioned before that I'm not a fan of Kate's redesign. What I loved about her old look was that she was completely militaristic but subverted expectations with the heiress inspired look. Giving her the sort of GI Jane look makes sense, but I just find it to be visually uninteresting. word on if JPV still has his stupid haircut from B&R Eternal. I'm not kidding, I will point that out every time it pops up.

The one thing that does worry me a bit is how weirdly similar The Colony soldiers look to the Arkham Knight and how similar the story is with the Arkham Knight also storming Gotham with an army.

Arkham Knight similarities aside, #934 was a great start to a new era. I hope to hell it keeps it up after this, because it is exactly what I want out of Detective


  1. So happy to hear the book is distinguishing itself again. I've been jonesing for a Bat-teamup book for a long time, so I'm all in so long as the story and art remain strong. Can't wait to pick this one up later today.

  2. I enjoyed this issue more than any 'Tec issue in this continuity. I love Batwoman kind of calling Bruce out on his bullshit. Clayface's dismay when everyone just took off and he's like, "I can't do that!" was priceless.

  3. I'm in complete agreement with everything here... except Kate's hair. I love the new look, though I do want to know the in-universe reason why she got it cut.

  4. Lots to like here. Batwoman's written the best she has been since Rucka departed. Tim & Steph being friends again pops - and I can just mentally think of Tim as "Robin" now that they fixed his costume. Really good start to this one.

    Re the Arkham Knight similarities, I hope they work in that really not-subtle subplot where Batman has to use the forensic scanner to find Poison Ivy's G-spot, I mean, plant buried deep underground. :)

  5. Speaking of Arkham Knight similarities, look closely at the Penguin goons in the issue. They are wearing similar outfits to that of Penguin's goons in the Arkham games.