While other books on the market strive to show why Batman is so important and how he operates within a team setting, Detective Comics aims to show readers that protecting a place like Gotham is anything but a one person task.
Detective pools together three of Gotham’s vigilante protectors and one wild card and places them under the watchful eye of Batwoman. The roster reads like a "where are they now" VH1 special of the Batverse, featuring Tim Drake (Robin), Stephanie Brown (Spoiler), Cassandra Cain (Orphan), and Basil Karlo, otherwise known as Clayface.
"This is what happens when you give a sixteen-year-old genius who doesn’t sleep an unlimited budget."
Writer James Tynion IV gets some bonus points right out of the gate for bringing together some of the most requested Bat-characters and putting them into a single book. All of these characters have received various amounts of support over the years, but once the New 52 came around they seemed to wither on the vine.
Now they have a chance to flourish, and Tynion has managed to implement some worthwhile character development amongst the team. This is most apparent in Red Robin, who I haven't seen be this charismatic in quite some time. While the team is the heart of the series, this issue in particular involves quite a bit of Batman as well.
"Just like you. Trying to make somebody’s decisions for them."
Batman has a reputation for making decisions without anyone's input, even when it directly involves them. Ironically here, he finds himself on the other end of that equation, with Uncle Jake's visionary mission being used as an excuse to meddle in his niece's affairs. Before this exchange happens, however, Tynion introduces Ulysses Hadrian Armstrong, a young inventor who in many ways represents what someone like Tim Drake could be if under the wrong guidance. Armstrong even alludes to Drake's work at one point, further signifying that parallel.
On the art front, Penciller Alvaro Martinez and Colorist Raul Fernandez fill the Batman scenes with a palpable tension. Batman seems off balance throughout, and a lot of that has to do with the art team's expression work. In fact, the Batman-centric panels seem to be where they feel the most at ease, as sometimes when it shifts to characters with heavy pops of color (i.e. the rest of the team), it doesn't seem to mesh as well.
The designs and technical aspects of these characters are fine, but it's almost like they're from two different worlds. Whether it is just a case of one color palette being too dark or one being too bright, they just need to meet a bit more in the middle.
"I know right? So, tell us, Boss. How exactly do you want us all to kick their a**?"
Detective Comics continues to be my biggest surprise of DC Rebirth, and the creative team manages to keep things entertaining while encouraging some real character growth amongst this band of misfits. While it isn't essential to your pull list every month, if you have the income to spare, it is a consistently great read every issue.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Written By; James Tynion IV
Pencilled By: Alvaro Martinez
Inked By: Raul Fernandez
Colors By: Brad Anderson