Detective Comics #1027 Review: All-Star Caliber Teams Offset by a Steep Price Tag

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(Photo: DC Comics)

Detective Comics #1027 is a fun "anniversary" issue filled with short comics written and drawn by all-star creative teams that spotlight different elements of the Batman mythos. About eighteen months ago, DC Comics released Detective Comics #1000, a 96-page celebrating a milestone issue for one of its flagship titles. This week, DC Comics repeats the process with Detective Comics #1027, an even larger issue featuring even more creators and stories trying to capture different facets of the sprawling mythology that surrounds Batman to varying degrees of success.

Several of the stories reflect their creators' impact on Batman—Tom King and Walter Simonson's "Legacy" teases a reason for Batman's eventual demise while Scott Snyder and Ivan Reis's "As Always" touches on Batman's role in the universe-shaking epics found in Justice League. Other comics provide reflections on Batman's history, such as "Blowback"by Peter Tomasi and Brad Walker. Several others simply try to tell a fun Batman story—Marv Wolfman and Emanuela Luppachino's "Odyssey" gives us a treasure-hunting Batman, James Tynion IV and Riley Rossmo have a fun and kinetic Batman/Deadman team-up in "Ghost Story," while Kelly Sue DeConnick and John Romita Jr.'s "Fore" reminds readers that Bruce Wayne does his part cleaning up the streets of Gotham City as well. The issue ends with two comics that tease future storylines—Mariko Tamaki and Dan Mora introduce the concept of "The Black Casebook" pushing a misguided but honest cop as Batman's newest enemy, while Dan Jurgens and Kevin Nowlan remind us that DC still has plans to do... something with their Generations event with an uneven Generations: Fractured tale.

While it's difficult to review a comic containing 11 separate stories, my personal favorites were "The Master Class" which serves as a spotlight on all of Batman's most notable sidekicks (and sadly also establishes characters like Batwing, The Signal, and Bluebird as tertiary considerations) and Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky's "Many Happy Returns," which takes that duo's fantastically bleak sense of humor and molds it onto Joker playing an awful prank on Batman over the course of multiple years. In one 11-page story, Fraction and Zdarsky deliver a fresh Joker that is both manic and sinister divorced from the gruesome, dark, and almost humorless takes seen in just about every major Batman story from the last 15 years or so.

One theme that gets explored multiple times in Detective Comics #1027 is how corrupt the GCPD is. Three stories touch on corruption within the GCPD, although none of the comics seem to think that a police force where an entire precinct can apparently be bought is totally irredeemable. It's interesting that the strangely optimistic tone (where a few good cops can somehow change a broken system with some outside help) is still such a presence in Batman stories despite everything that's occurred in the United States this past year, and I wonder how much longer the concept of Batman will support such an idea given our society's shifting views on unaccountable law enforcement agencies.

With a $10 price tag, it's hard to make a strong recommendation for Detective Comics #1027. There are several good stories here, and perhaps one or two great ones, but the price tag is hard to swallow, especially given that DC Comics just released a similar issue in 2019. If you enjoy the creative teams and don't mind paying a premium for comics meant to provide only a snapshot, this comic is at least worth a flip-through.

Published by DC Comics

On September 15, 2020

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