The Detective Comics of DC's Rebirth era is a much different beast than it's predecessors. It's a book about family, about relationships, and about how people perceive the ideal of heroism.
It's not just about good vs. evil -- and though Batman's world has always contained its share of gray -- Detective Comics lives in a city of it, and it's made for one of the most compelling runs on the book in recent memory. Not only that but the book has been seamlessly intertwined with the bigger plot of this reenvisioned DC Universe, all done without making it feel like a tie-in or unfulfilling on its own.
In short, it's been one of the biggest pleasant surprises of DC's recent output, and if you're a fan of the Dark Knight you owe it to yourself to be reading. Now it's time to explain why.
Hit the next slide for more reasons you should be reading Detective Comics.
The Development Of Batwoman
At one point in time Batwoman was the bee's knees (yep, totally used that in a nonironic way, so there) of the DCU, courtesy of the hit weekly series The 52. She had a stylish costume and the foundation for a great character, but it wouldn't be until Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams got ahold of the character before she would become more than just a cool premise.
Since that book came to an end, the character has been used in other formats but it never felt like she was reaching her potential. Thanks to James Tynion IV, she's back to doing what she does best, and the creative team has built upon that already solid foundation in Detective.
She's authoritative and confident, but just flawed enough to remain relatable. Batman treats her in many ways like an equal, something that doesn't happen very often with Batman and his peers. She's an expert commander in the field, and her relationship with her father and his differing viewpoints on how Gotham needs to be protected is fascinating stuff.
If you're a fan of the character, you should be adding Detective to your weekly pull list.
Rehabbing Gotham's Vigilantes
Gotham isn't exactly lacking in people wanting to protect it, and the city has had a plethora of homegrown vigilantes looking to make a name for themselves. That has resulted in an overage of talent and not enough space or comic real estate to contain them all, and many have just withered on the vine waiting to make cameo appearances here and there.
Detective allows some of these heroes waiting in the wings a home to take flight in, and characters like Orphan, Clayface, Tim Drake, Spoiler, Batwoman, and Batwing have all made the most of their chance. Clayface especially has become something much more interesting than just another in Batman's long line of rogues, and Orphan and Batwing have been allowed a chance to shine in their respective skillsets. Even Spoiler, who has been a bit all over the place since her run as Batgirl, has been mined for some wonderful character development and looks to be a big part of the series in a new way going forward.
The Importance Of Tim Drake
Batwoman might have been the glue that held the team together through their rather rough start, but it was Tim Drake at the heart. Through just a few short issues, readers understood why.
Drake's skill set made him a coveted ally, but his compassionate demeanor made him a worthy leader. His humor put his teammates at ease and his fearlessness inspired people to follow his lead. This was a big part of why the team became so successful, and his death left this truth unquestioned.
Tim Drake has always struggled in finding his place amongst the various Robins of the world. Dick Grayson was the heir to the cowl, Jason Todd was the one who Batman lost, and Damian Wayne is the true son with loads of baggage. In comparison Drake was the one who excelled at everything he put his mind to and all in all was pretty normal. It's easy to get lost in the shuffle when your primary trait is "he's not screwed up", but Detective allowed fans to see how over time Drake became the Robin who cared about everyone else but himself, and it's why he is so missed in the current DCU.
A Different Side Of The Dark Knight
Fans are used to a Batman who, well, is not the most conversational nor compassionate fellow. He's always had a good heart, but his personality has on many occasions lacked traits like charm and tact, at least when he's in the costume.
While you wouldn't describe him as soft here by any means, this Dark Knight is less rigid in his interactions with the team. He isn't simply barking orders or showing people what they lack. Instead, he's approached them with practical training, not only physically but mentally. He doesn't simply cut them off when they get too close, and he's willing to explain his philosophies on things they disagree with and is more willing to let them choose their path even if he disagrees.
This Dark Knight isn't going to be mistaken for a Care Bear anytime soon, but Gotham's protector has adapted to the times, and it makes for an even more interesting character.
Who Watches The Watchmen
Aside from Action Comics, Detective has planted the most seeds for the macro-storyline in DC's Rebirth books, and it's done so in a seamless and incredibly effective way.
DC Rebirth Special #1 revealed that the Watchmen (specifically Dr. Manhattan) are somehow involved in the 10 years of lost time, and small clues have been spread amongst the various books. In Detective that plot has had a huge significance, since a mysterious hooded individual named Mr. Oz (who is thought to be Ozymandias) has literally removed Tim Drake from the chess board and placed him in a solemn cell.
They viewed him as a threat, and their actions show how far they are willing to go for their cause. As things continue to play out, it stands to reason that Drake and Detective will continue to play a large part, and you're going to want to make sure you don't miss anything going forward.
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