The Victim Syndicate story arc has been an intense one. A group of vigilantes calling themselves the victim syndicate are fighting against Batman’s team. They all started off as innocent victims in a Batman related incident, most with their own tragic stories. The previous issue ended with Batman’s team taking them down, only for Spoiler to turn on them at the very end. It was an intense cliffhanger with so much potential.
This issue starts off with Spoiler showing how dangerous and resourceful she can be, by taking down most of the team with their own equipment, based mostly on Red Robin’s work. It’s a quick but fun action scene, followed by a very dramatic issue. Stephanie asks some very tough questions about Batman’s efforts, and Batman himself admits that he’s made some bad mistakes. The writing here is exceptional all-round. As intense as the action is in this story arc, this issue manages to feel the most intense without all that much fighting. The raw emotion on display is more than enough. After the confrontation, there are also some deep discussions between Batman and Batwoman, along with a nice scene between Clayface and one of the victim syndicate members, who used to know each other before they gained their clay-like abilities. It’s a nice end to a very tense story arc.
The art by Alvaro Martinez is great. Right from the start, there’s a lot of environmental details with all the debris lying on the floor, the dust rising off the ground and all the loose wires hanging from the ceiling. The action flows well from panel to panel. Since most of the characters are wearing masks, there is lots of great body language instead of facial expressions, like Spoiler’s confrontational stance throughout the climax and the clear fatigue on the defeated victim syndicate members. Brad Anderson’s colouring is also great. Even though most of the comic takes place in dark environments, it’s still nice and colourful, showing off each team member’s different outfits. There’s great use of shadow effects to make Spoiler look downright frightening at times.
Writer James Tynion IV is doing a great job with this series. Detective Comics is basically a Batman team book that strikes a great balance between action, character development and fun. The deep questions asked in this story arc propel the last four issues even further, rounding The Victim Syndicate arc out as a masterpiece. This is easily the best comic I’ve picked up this week, and it’s not the only great one. If you’re interested in a Batman team book, you really should pick this series up.