A new creative team breathes new life into Batman’s longest running title as well as into the man that is behind the cape and cowl. A stylized and gorgeous book, the series keeps the mystery/detective vibes that one expects while digging deeper into what the new status quo means for the city and its protector.
The Joker War is over and Infinite Frontier has begun at DC Comics, ushering in a new era for much of the long-time publisher’s library. Part of this new era includes a Batman/Gotham Line that is riding high on success and is looking to be the smoothest and most connected that it’s been in some time. New voices on many books that all have distinct voices and storylines while still being very connected.
This week it is the turn of Detective Comics to come back onto the playing field in a big bold new way.
A big part of that bold new era includes the series new writer, Mariko Tamaki who penned the Future State: Dark Detective series at the beginning of the year. Tamaki now has the distinction of being the first woman to ever write for Batman’s longest-running series and is the second woman overall to ever write long-term on a Batman-starring core title, with Devin Grayson being the first with Batman: Gotham Knights.
Right away, Tamaki writes a beyond solid Bruce Wayne and a really great Batman. She crafts a series that is a perfect companion to the current Batman series picking up the new status quo, that James Tynion IV began with the end of the aforementioned Joker War, and runs with it. While Batman is heavily focused on the Dark Knight side of things in this new status quo, Tamaki really digs into what life is like for Bruce Wayne now that he is less rich and lives smack dab in the middle of Gotham City (still part for the wealthier elites though). If you’ve ever wanted to see Bruce Wayne awkwardly have to deal with folks at a neighborhood cocktail party, this is the issue for you.
There is a mystery afoot that lives up to the detective part of the series title and while it’s not fully clear how all the pieces thrown out here meld together, that’s quite okay. Mysteries are not always straightforward who-done-it type things. Sometimes they are messy and things don’t seem to be connected at first. Tamaki offers up just enough to whet the reader’s appetite and leaves them wanting to come back for more.
This is hands down an amazing time for Gotham City as the two main Batman books are just so beyond belief stylishly gorgeous. Jorge Jimenez and Tomeu Morey are doing stupendous things over in Batman and Detective Comics has the incomparable pairing of Dan Mora and Jordie Bellaire, who bring their A+ game like always. Mora has been doing tremendous creator-owned and other work for years, but seeing him make the leap over to the DC/Batman side of things in the last handful of months has been a true gift.
Bellaire compliments Mora’s detailed gorgeous style with coloring that is so spot on and atmospheric in each and every panel. There are reds and pinks and yellows and blues and so many other colors that make each panel a treat to gaze upon. No two panels look the same on a page, even in the same overall setting, and it adds so much. Aditya Bidikar kills it on the letters completing the package, from the dialogue to the well-placed sound effects and the delightful setting text boxes.
Right now, the various Bat-books are building a very different Gotham City that honestly feels fresh and dangerous in new ways for the first time in quite some time of being a Batman-related reader.
The issue also contains the second part of Joshua Williamson, Gleb Melnikov, and Troy Peteri’s Damian Wayne starring prequel to the upcoming Robin series from Williamson and Melnikov. It is a short piece that finishes Damian’s quest to break away from both his parents and go his own direction as well as sets up the overall conflict of his upcoming book.
What really stood out about the piece is the second conclusion of the backup, which features the return of a big DC Comics legacy character that has been missing in action since the New 52 reboot in 2011. They are set to clash with Robin in his series, which will mean the children of two pretty big DC Comics characters are going to be throwing down in the very near future.
Detective Comics #1034 is now on sale from DC Comics in print and digitally.