The previous issue of Detective Comics ended with Batman surrounded by armoured fighters who brought the tech needed to take down his batmobile. It was an intense closer to an issue full of character development, plot development and some great action. Today’s issue has a bit of a slower pace, but it still keeps a great balance between plot, character and action.
Although DC Rebirth’s Detective Comics is building up to be a Batman team book, this issue feels like a Batwoman solo issue in a lot of ways. It opens with an interesting mix of a flashback and a conversation between Kate Kane and a former lover. She’s reflecting on both how her father raised her as a military woman and how she’s not sure how to lead the younger members of her team. It’s a great character focused scene to kick off this issue, especially when her later decision is shaped by her ideals.
The rest of this issue is very plot focused, with some major reveals about half-way through. It’s revealed that Batman was beaten by the military-like efficiency of his pursuers, only for the leader of this mystery group to reveal himself as someone close to a member of the Detective Comics team. There’s some good action to keep the pace up, part of it being the footage of Batman getting beat up, and the rest is Cassandra Cain being awesome. James Tynion IV’s writing is very tight here, with a great balance of serious storytelling, character drama and fun. My only real question is (and this isn’t quite a complaint) when one character is hit by more than 20 tranquilizer darts, how do we know that character won’t overdose and die?
Alvaro Martinez’s art is also great. The opening page in the bar is complete with a wide variety of patrons wearing all sorts of different clothes and some sporting unique tattoos. The impressive detail continues throughout, from the high tech Batman base in the background to individual strands of hair flowing realistically when characters move fast. The fight scenes flow beautifully from panel to panel, and when windows are smashed, there’s plenty of shards flying all over the place, many of which seem to be reflecting light. The rain while Cassandra Cain is fighting on a roof also hits the roof and characters realistically. The colouring by Brad Anderson is also great. The opening bar scene is dark yet very colourful and makes good use of shading, and the variety continues throughout the issue.
This is a great comic, and probably my favourite of the week. Batwoman makes for a compelling lead for a Batman team book, and the personal connection one member has to their pursuers should make things very interesting in the issues to come. Batman fans should be reading this series, as should Batwoman fans, and anyone who’s a fan of Cassandra Cain, Red Robin or Stephanie Brown. Oh, and Clayface is also on the team.