Review - Batman: Detective Comics #934
With the lows of DC’s Rebirth comes the highs. After the disappointing first issue of Action Comics, Detective Comics brings the excitement and wonder that Rebirth originally promised, intriguingly leaning less on the book’s titular hero, Batman, and more on a team dynamic. That’s right, Batman takes a backseat in his own book and all the better for it. In his place, we have an assortment of the Batfamily: Kate Kane a.k.a. Batwoman, Tim Drake a.k.a. Red Robin, Spoiler a.k.a. Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Caine a.k.a Orphan and for an interesting twist: Basil Karlo a.k.a Clayface. With a lineup like this, it’s hard not to be the least bit interested in seeing how it comes together.
The issue opens with the character, Azrael, a former assassin of the Order of St. Dumas, running across rooftops in fear of a bat sillhoohuetted character. Defiantly, Azrael turns to fight but is easily bested by this new menace until the real Batman steps in but not before the shadowy figure makes a quick escape. Batman discovers a drone watching him while speaking to Azrael, its creators watching from the shadows. Two days later, Batman speaks to Batwoman in hopes that her army training might be able to identify the drone as it seems to be military-based technology and he reveals even more startling news-these drones are watching all of the heroes of Gotham. Afraid of an ensuing battle, Batman asks Batwoman to train the young heroes of Gotham as well as the villain Clayface to defend the city against the threat. Batwoman is at first hesitant to help as she’s more of a loner but Bruce reveals his identity to her to earn her trust, revealing to new readers that they’re actually cousins: Bruce’s birth mother being Kate’s Aunt. The rest of the issue is spent introducing the new team as well as displaying the villain’s army bent on destroying the Bat-family.
This was a great issue. I’ve only kept up with Scott Snyder’s Batman so I was a little worried that the Bat-books would diminish in quality after his leaving but from the first issue alone I’m enjoying the direction James Tynion is taking with the characters. Each character only gets two pages of introduction but Tynion packs it with enough information and backstory to understand what their motivations are. Probably the most unique aspect is the inclusion of Clayface. Tynion gathered some of the most prominent members of the Bat-family excluding Jason Todd and Nightwing and opted for a villain. While the character is probably the most redeemable of the Rogues Gallery, it will be to see how his nature and actions might affect the team.
The art is great as well. The action is very dynamic and easy to follow and some of the pages are absolutely gorgeous to look at, the Batwoman two page spread in particular. Emulating just enough of JH Williams, who really made the art in Batwoman a step above nearly everything else in comics, Eddy Barros (pencils), Eber Ferreira (inks), and Adriano Lucas (colors) really bring that character to life right from the get-go. The only con is that some of Barros’s faces are a little generic and some portrait panels feel static in an otherwise energetic book. I’m also a fan of the use of snow in the book; it grounds the story, making the world feel alive.
Detective Comics is off to a great start and I’m interested to see how the story unfolds as rarely do you see the Dark Knight so afraid for his friends and family that he would bring them together. With a team lineup like this, I’ll be sure to enlist as well
Written by Jacob Johnson on 7/18/2016