Reliving The Murder Of The Waynes In Batman: Detective Comics #994

by Josh Davison

[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]

Batman is called out to investigate a murder at the Gotham City Aquarium. A couple were murdered, and their appearance, killing wounds, and clothing, all match Thomas and Martha Wayne on that fateful night they were killed in Crime Alley. While Batman and Commissioner Gordon are examining the bodies, Dr. Leslie Thompkins is attacked by a horrific beast across town. Batman rushes to save his friend.

Batman: Detective Comics #994 cover by Doug Mahnke, Jaime Mendoza, and David Baron
Batman: Detective Comics #994 cover by Doug Mahnke, Jaime Mendoza, and David Baron

Batman: Detective Comics #994 kicks off Peter J. Tomasi and Doug Mahnke’s tenure on the comic as well as the countdown to Detective Comics #1000.

It brings us the startling and strange murder case of the two Wayne doppelgangers and whatever dark person is responsible for their deaths.

If that wasn’t enough, the creature’s attack on Leslie Thompkins indicates that someone is deliberately targeting Batman and, possibly, Bruce Wayne.

I can’t say with certainty to what degree this is deliberate, but there are clues throughout that point to different Batman rogues. That keeps the reader guessing. The the pairing could indicate Two-Face, the fact that it is the anniversary of the Wayne’s deaths points to Calendar Man, the use of plastic surgery suggests Hush, the creature’s size and deformity could mean the involvement of Bane’s Venom, and there is one last twist that points to one last villain–neither of which I’ll spoil here.

It’s a compelling, eerie, and intense issue, and it bodes well for the Detective Comics to come.

Batman: Detective Comics #994 art by Doug Mahnke, Jaime Mendoza, David Baron, and letterer Rob Leigh
Batman: Detective Comics #994 art by Doug Mahnke, Jaime Mendoza, David Baron, and letterer Rob Leigh

Mahnke’s artwork is, of course, brilliant. The above splash page of Batman says more than I ever could. His figures are imposing and impressive, his detailing is impeccable, and his use of shadows appropriately hang heavy throughout the comic. David Baron’s colors are atmospheric and grim, adding that Gotham feeling that the comic needs.

Batman: Detective Comics #994 makes a thunderous first step for Tomasi and Mahnke’s Detective Comics. The mystery is interesting and threatening, and the art is downright phenomenal. This one earns a recommendation. Give it a read.

Batman: Detective Comics #994 comes to us from writer Peter J. Tomasi, artist Doug Mahnke, inker Jaime Mendoza, color artist David Baron, letterer Rob Leigh, cover artist Doug Mahnke with Jaime Mendoza and David Baron, and variant cover artist Mark Brooks.

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