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Detective Comics #974 Review

Comic Books

Detective Comics #974 Review

Batwoman gets a new direction.

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The Belfry and Batman’s team faces their biggest test yet and it’s with each other! Last issue Batwoman did something truly terrible and unforgivable in this epilogue sort of issue that changes things forever.

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So what’s it about?

The official summary reads:

“KNIGHT’S FALL”! Can Tim Drake piece his dreams back together after Batwoman’s fateful decision, or will the Gotham Knights go their separate ways?

Why does this matter?

If you had any question the big cliffhanger was a lark this issue will confirm things for you. It also rejiggers the team and sets things up for a whole new direction (alluded to with those flashforward stories!).

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

Detective Comics #974 Review
Ah yes, the look into the sky and scream pose.

This issue sets Batwoman on a new course, wraps up all the loose ends of the last story arc and moves some pieces here and there to get things going for the future. A big turn of events involves Tim and his breakdown (we all saw coming) as he continues to obsess about protecting Gotham. Two major character dynamics get changed as these characters must part ways or say hard truths. Everybody will be talking about the last few pages though and Batwoman fans best prepare for what writer James Tynion IV is alluding to.

Philippe Briones draws this issue with colors by Allen Passalaqua and letters by Sal Cipriano. Together they capture the heat of the moment after Clayface’s fall and dramatic beats between characters. Batwoman and her long flowing red hair probably looks the coolest of the bunch (the red with black is always a stand out) and the acting of Doctor October is on point.

Detective Comics #974 Review
I thought doctors were supposed to have bedside manner?

It can’t be perfect can it?

The elephant in the room never gets more than a mention which is strange and awkward. You’d think Batman would be a bit more forceful about a teammate murdering another teammate (even if they were going to destroy Gotham) but instead he gives her a shake and screams at her. That’s it. The rest of the characters are angry too and Cass does the most natural thing of the bunch, but it’s boggling as to why Batwoman gets to go home while they all think about what she did. Yes, what she did saved lives, but Batman and his crew never agree to that logic ever. Why does she get a pass? Surely Tynion IV will explore this further down the road, but the way the plot unfolds is hard to believe. There is potential for something more here and it never gets explored.

Aside from a Batwoman reveal (we all saw coming) there isn’t much to this issue beyond wrapping up loose ends. Likely this will be the last chapter in the trade paperback serving as a good ending, but as a stand alone issue it’s somewhat boring. It’ll be impossible for newcomers to understand (or care) what is going on in the slightest too. Did we need an entire issue of characters standing around fuming but doing nothing about it? Probably not.

Is It Good?

A conflict is growing between Batman and his Belfry teammates that will add well earned dramatic beats down the road. Just not today. This issue is more of an epilogue to the last story arc and one that’ll have you scratching your head when it comes to Batman’s rule of no killing.

Detective Comics #974 Review
Detective Comics #974
Is it good?
Seems to avoid tackling the big question about Batwoman and spends the rest of the time resetting things for future stories.
Sets up Batwoman (and a few other bat-characters) for a new beginning
If you've been following along you're going to enjoy the character conflicts
Basically skips the elephant in the room so as to tackle for another day. Bah!
Nothing much happens in this issue beyond setting up future stories or wrapping things up
4
Meh

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