DC is celebrating Batman's big birthday in style with Detective Comics #1000, and they've invited a who's who of DC's finest writers and artists to the party. Writers like Scott Snyder, Kevin Smith, Paul Dini, Warren Ellis, Denny O'Neil, Christopher Priest, Brian Michael Bendis, Geoff Johns, and Tom King as well as artists like Greg Capullo, Jim Lee, Dustin Nguyen, Becky Cloonan, Steve Epting, Neal Adams, Alex Maleev, Kelley Jones, Tony S. Daniel, Joelle Jones, and even more all bring their vision to the Dark Knight in this oversized special. With all that talent involved, the issue has a lot to live up to, and it overwhelmingly does.
Things kick off with a stellar Snyder and Capullo story that highlights what Batman does best: detecting. Snyder proves he knows how to craft a compelling Batman story, taking the reader step by step through Batman's search for clues. Capullo and FCO Plascencia's work is top notch as well, though the ending might be a bit divisive for those completely invested in the mystery.
After that comes a story from Kevin Smith, Jim Lee, and Scott Williams that uses Bruce's tragedy as a foundation but finds a fresh way to spin it. It's not Lee and Williams' strongest work, but overall it makes for an enjoyable story.
Paul Dini and Peter Nguyen are up next, telling an entertaining yarn about the world's worst henchman, followed by an absolutely gorgeous story from writer Warren Ellis and artist Becky Cloonan.
Not everything hits of course. Denny O'Neil and Steve Epting's story has one stunning page but ultimately comes off as overtly preachy, while Christopher Priest and Neal Adams' tales don't really leave much of an impression either way.
Things get back on track though with "I Know", a story written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Alex Maleev. Bendis seems like a natural with the character, and Maleev's visuals fit the worldo f Gotham like a glove. It's enough to make one hope to see more of this Penguin and Dark Knight pairing down the line and is easily one of the strongest stories in the issue.
After that, it's time for the team of writer Geoff Johns and artist Kelley Jones to take the stage. Seeing what the Bat-Family could look like in the future is enough to give this story praise, and that totally includes Ace the Bat-Hound. The visuals are going to be an acquired taste, and unfortunately, they just were not my cup of tea, but there was still enough here for me to appreciate the overall story.
James Tynion IV and Alvaro Martinez-Bueno are up next, crafting an unexpected but welcome story that paints the partnership of Batman and Robin in a unique light. A point that frequently comes up is why Batman would allow someone Dick Grayson's age to become a vigilante, and this provides a compelling and believable answer.
Writer Tom King and artists Tony S. Daniel and Joelle Jones come in swinging with "The Greatest Detective", and it's easily one of my favorites in the entire issue. This is quintessential Tom King, with self-deprecating humor and witty banter flowing from panel to panel. If that doesn't float your boat, you won't like this, but if you find it wonderful as I do, well, you'll be in heaven. It only helps that Jones and Daniel bring their "A" game, utilizing their individual strengths while still keeping the book from feeling like two separate parts.
Last but not least is the first step towards a larger arc from writer Peter Tomasi and artist Doug Mahnke, which finally brings the Arkham Knight into the comics universe. It seems they are going a slightly different direction with him than in the games, and if done right we could have the next fantastic Batman villain on our hands.
Detective Comics #1000 celebrates everything we love about Batman with mostly fresh and rewarding twists. Some of the stories don't land as well as others, but there's really not a bad one in the bunch. Whether you're a longtime fan or just getting to know the character, Detective Comics #1000 will not leave you disappointed.
Published by DC Comics
On March 27, 2019
Written by Scott Snyder, Warren Ellis, Tom King, Paul Dini, Brian Michael Bendis, Peter J. Tomasi, James T Tynion IV, Kevin Smith, Christopher Priest, Dennis ONeil, and Geoff Johns.
Art by Alvaro Martinez, Joelle Jones, Dustin Nguyen, Alex Maleev, Jim Lee, Kelley Jones, Steve Epting, Greg Capullo, Tony S. Daniel, Neal Adams, Doug and Mahnke.2comments
Colors by David Baron, Tameu Morey, Brad Anderson, Michelle Madsen, Alex Maleev, Dave Stewart, Elizabeth Breitweiser, Jordie Bellaire, John Kalisz, Alex Sinclair, and FCO Plascencia
Letters by Rob Leigh, Clayton Cowles, Sal Cipriano, Josh Reed, Willie Schubert, Andworld Design, Simon Bowland, Steve Wands, Todd Klein, and Tom Napolitano.