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26 of 52: Detective Comics #1

by on September 12, 2011

For me, I have had more things ruined by expectations, hype, and buzz. There are dozens of movies that I would have enjoyed, if I hadn’t gone in expecting great, and only receiving pretty good. When that happens, I am so down due to the imposed expectations, and not due to the quality of the media I’m digesting.

So, I heard the buzz about Action Comics and Detective Comics. And of the two, I decided to roll with Batman in Detective Comics #1. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but the buzz was pretty interesting. I will try to separate my opinion from the buzz and hype.

Detective Comics #1
Writer and Artist: Tony Daniel

It’s the first new Detective Comics #1 in close to 75 years, and it’s the first Batman comic book released for the New 52 (yes, Justice League might as well have been a Brave and the Bold episode). So that was enough to give this a try. Plus, I’ve enjoyed Tony Daniel’s Batman work.

Synopsis

Batman is looking for The Joker who has gone on a recent killing spree, where several victims (many of the Jokers former associates) have been found with missing organs and parts of their faces removed. Batman interrupts (or comes in the end of) a gruesome fight between a naked Joker and some guy with a flesh mask, butcher’s apron, and medical equipment.

The Joker throws an incendiary bomb and jumps out the window. Right when Batman is about to leap after him, he hears a voice asking for help. Batman saves a girl who was almost trapped in the flames. At the same time, the Gotham City Police Department rushes in, and it is obvious that Batman and the GCPD are not allies. Batman escapes.

Batman makes his way to the Batcave, and reviews the current condition with a holographic Alfred. Before heading out and talking with Commissioner Gordon, who tells her that the girl mentioned a potential Joker hideout.

When Batman arrives, the GCPD bursts into the hiding place, but instead of finding The Joker, they find a joker doll that explodes. Batman notices someone with a purple umbrella leaving the crime scene rather than watch it. Batman and the Joker have a fight that takes them through the train and onto Gotham rooftops. After taking damage, Batman apprehends Joker and returns him to Arkham.

At Arkham, The Joker meets up with a new villain (mentioned in some of the previews). Together they are making plans for going forward, which includes a rather gruesome change (potentially) for The Joker.

Analysis

This comic book has given me the most number of things to talk about. Most of them are good.

  • Start with the obvious, the artwork is very very good. Daniel really captures the mood and the background images of Gotham City and the ‘hellish’ underbelly that exists there. Batman looks incredible, and so does The Joker.
  • The writing is pretty good, and reveals quite a few things about the current Batman world:
    • Most of GCPD don’t like Batman, and Gordon is his only ally. Good, Gotham City is more interesting with this attitude.
    • Daniel’s Batman (or the DCnU Batman) is more aware of being a badass with statements of “I own the night” “I’ve always been in Gotham. I am Gotham.” It’s an interesting change, as most Batman stories have him as a machine.
    • Familiar faces: Dr. Arkham, Harvey Bullock,
    • Bruce Wayne has a girlfriend named Charlotte, who he likes better than most. Yet, she still takes a backseat to his life as Batman.
    • Alfred wants Batman to leave a certain ‘cat’ alone
  • The story is very gruesome. Not really something that I would want to be my first foot forward as a Batman comic. Seemed like someone said, “Hey the Arkham Asylum video game is doing well, let’s go with that for the comic books.”
  • It was a decent plot, but nothing spectacular. Anyone could churn out a Batman stalks The Joker when the Joker wants to be found, plot. It was enjoyable, but nothing that really stretched the field.
  • I liked the new look for The Joker. The different hair, the gaunt features, the hat and coat on the train. It made him look more threatening than he is sometimes.

Questions

  1. What is up with the Alfred hologram? I’m fine with Alfred projecting himself into the basement as he is tending to his duties in the mansion. I’m even okay with a hologram representing the former Wayne family butler. I’m not fine with there never having been an Alfred.
  2. Who is Charlotte Rivers? Is she important, or is she just some girl.
  3. The Joker is talking about some greater threat to Gotham than he is. The way he talks, is the threat even bigger than the new villain reveal at the end of the book?
  4. Does the last pages reveal a new upcoming look for The Joker, or something even more sinister?

Verdict

For me Batman is something that is always constant. If I wanted to read a super-hero book, and Batman is available, then it’s always there for me. For me to like a Batman story, that’s the easy part. I did enjoy this story. There was a lot of fun with the character, I believed the action, I enjoyed the new revealing information, and the artwork was nice and crisp.

But… would I pick up the next issue. I’m not sure that this comic book did enough to pull me in. I am more likely to get Batgirl #2, even though I enjoyed Detective Comics more. However, if I’m selecting comics, and still felt that I could spend an additional $3.00, I’d certainly grab it.

B- (Just fine, but didn’t grab me)

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From → Comic Books, DCnU

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