Detective Comics continues to be a gorgeous, colorful, dark, horrifying, and character-driven journey into Bruce Wayne’s new status quo that builds a solid supporting foundation alongside an ever-darkening mystery. Mariko Tamaki, Dan Mora, Jordie Bellaire, and Aditya Bidikar are the perfect team to bring these stories and this world to life as they pull out all the stops and deliver a truly amazing Detective Comics run.
Something’s not quite right in Gotham City’s neighborhoods, and their newest resident Batman is on the case. What appeared to be a pretty simple murder mystery continues to get complicated as more players are thrown onto the board. If Batman solving crazy mysteries and Batman/Bruce having a lot of character moments within the heart of Gotham with a solid supporting cast are things you like, this is the book for that.
There are a lot of things that can make ongoing series featuring long-running pop culture icon characters work. One of those things is building a solid foundational world around them and populating it with really interesting and attention-grabbing characters. In just three short issues Mariko Tamaki achieves that goal, placing Bruce Wayne in a place that is new and different yet very much still Gotham with a host of characters that are already very well defined.
The way that she sets up parts of the plot only to naturally swerve and deepen the mystery is so well done. Just in these issues, there has been an attack at a party, a murder in the sweer, a possible zombie, a clay person, a slew of other missing persons and murders, and now some sort of possible brain parasite. Through it all we’re getting a Batman that navigates each of the swerves while trying to maintain the new life of Bruce Wayne, sometimes just a step behind but not for long.
Batman is often written as this near God-like being that’s always a million steps ahead and can beat almost anything. What is far more interesting is the take that we’re getting both from Tamaki in Detective but from James Tynion IV in the Batman series where he’s smart and capable and ahead of the curve but never too far. Things surprise him and take him off guard and he’s actually working to discover things and threats and foes along with his new status quo actually present challenges.
There truly are never enough words for just how beautiful and engaging and perfect the work of Dan Mora and Jordie Bellaire is on an individual level but even more so when they’re together. Every single panel is rendered with such detail in not only bringing the needed moments to life but giving life to Gotham even when it’s just a backdrop for the current action. The marriage of bright and muted colors with shadows makes everything stand out so much more from the colorful costumes to some truly stunning visuals during a rainy encounter on a rooftop.
Rounding out the trio is Aditya Bidikar on letters bringing even more detail and creepy factor with the SFX and small touches like bits of color that infect some dialogue and even the altered shape of text for certain characters. They are things that seem small but at the same time are huge because they help set things apart and even make some characters and moments even more life-like as you can ‘hear’ them.
Things within the Huntress back-up, from the same main story team minus Mora with Clayton Henry on the art, make a lot more sense now that the character has entered the main Detective storyline. Her backups are from the recent past, showcasing her investigation of the murder of a new friend which will eventually make her cross Batman’s path.
Henry’s art is different from Mora’s in some small ways, each having their own signature style, but also pairs well with the work of Bellaire and Bidikar. There is more of a close-up style within this backup focused on Huntress on her quest. The use of a lot of reds in panels, matching her trademark angry style, is a really great touch throughout the story.
Detective Comics #1036 is now on sale from DC Comics in print and digitally.