I’m always keen on a shorter comic story. The format of 20 pages in a single issue suits a one-shot, or in more rare cases, the two-issue story arc. Peter J. Tomasi and Scott Godlewski achieve that this week with the second and final part of the “Dead of Winter” storyline. A nordic supervillain has attacked Bruce Wayne at the Christmas tree lighting, but is there time travel or something even more nefarious connected to this new villain?
This issue does a lot of strong work to reveal how Bruce is always the detective even when not in the Batman costume. It opens where we left off as he’s attacked by the nordic newbie. He’s soon looking into the character’s origin and figuring things out as he goes along. Tomasi does well to carry us along without giving us too much info so as to keep the new wrinkles in this villain’s story interesting as things really heat up. I won’t spoil a thing, but monsters, cults, and the secret intentions of leaders all come into play. Tomasi continues to show he’s a master at leading the reader and keeping the mystery yet to be solved interesting as Batman pieces things out.
The art by Godlewski continues to be fantastic. He gets to flex with a variety of things, from fight choreography to monster design. Colors by David Baron look great throughout, giving everything a bright look that keeps the story just scary enough to be effective. I gave props to it in my review of the last issue, but I love the use of snow in the book. It flutters in on almost every panel and it gives the book the holiday charm it deserves.
This issue continues to manage the loss of Alfred well too. Lucious Fox gets a part to play — not quite as much as Tynion is using him, but it’s interesting to see Bruce fend for himself and miss his old friend. A big part of his life is missing and that goes beyond cucumber sandwiches. Alfred was a pillar in making Batman work and it’s interesting to see Bruce navigate that.
My only gripe with this issue is the timing of its release. This would have felt even more festive if released in December. It has a Christmas feel that feels a bit off now that we’re almost through January.
A good finish to an interesting tussle with a Nordic-themed villain. Batman is more alone than ever, but Tomasi and Godlewski prove you can’t beat the greatest detective of all time.