Back at it again today with another review of Detective Comics, continuing the “Shadows of the Bat” story, with a lot of people working on it this time around. In the main story we have Mariko Tamaki and Ivan Reis, Matthew Rosenberg and Fernando Blanco in the backup, and Mark Waid with Dan Mora in the second backup. Indeed, we have a bonus story from two very talented creators teaming up this time, but we’ll get into that as we go.
SPOILERS AHEAD for Detective Comics #1050!
The story is pretty much what you’d expect given this is still an ongoing storyline and all. We spend most of it exploring the Huntress, who as we saw last time, has admitted herself to Arkham Tower to fight the leftover demons she has from the Vile storyline. While it’s not full of extensive plot revelations, it’s still quite engaging and held my interest all the way through, especially during the final cliffhanger: the reveal that the secret to the inmate’s success is… the Psycho Pirate. Now that’s a jaw dropping reveal, and makes total sense too when you think back to the previous issues. I loved it, and I’m already so hype to see more.
Character work is excellent of course, as to be expected from Tamaki by now. Huntress’s spiral in Nightwing’s flashbacks is given a lot of care and attention, even drawing upon their shared history, and characterization that dated all the way back to the famous No Man’s Land storyline of the ’90s. Nightwing was also done fantastically well in this issue, being the POV character for the most part, exploring his observations he’s made about Helena over the years. He displays his compassionate and tactical sides equally, and doesn’t suffer from any of the Flanderization a lot of modern stories give him as a very himbo-like character. Honestly, I love character-focused issues like this — it’s always very satisfying watching the characters just be themselves around each other, and everybody felt totally spot-on here.
The backups are both very much worth the price of admission as well. I’ve praised the Rosenberg/Blanco one in my past couple reviews, and it comes to a culmination here. Not only do we get a really fun fight scene of a classic, Golden/Silver Age Dick Grayson Robin bantering and fighting Scarecrow, but we see the final seed sown with Xix’s path to villainy. Inspired by Robin, the boy wishes to be a sidekick to supervillains, but is refused and given a massive fear toxin dose by Scarescrow to get him out of prison time — but into Arkham. It’s very manipulative on Scarecrow’s part, and it’s hard to tell if there’s actually any part of him that genuinely cares, or is doing this ONLY for his own ends. That ambiguity is really well done.
A nice bonus (for me especially, given they’re two of my favorite creatives in comics) is the second backup story, by Waid and Mora. Now, get Waid on a title and you’ve already piqued my interest, but a preview for a full World’s Finest series by these two? Sign me the hell up. It’s a pretty good taste of what’s to come, well-paced and drawn of course (I will never not love seeing gray-and-blue Batman in Mora’s style), and the hook is pretty solid. Superman being affected by the unpredictable Red Kryptonite — a classic setup right out of the Silver Age to be sure. I’m eagerly awaiting what these two do when the full book starts.
Of course the art is good in all these stories, as if I really had to say it. Mora in the preview story is spectacular, as he’s shown plenty of times in this very run of Detective, and Reis and Blanco both bring really great work to their parts of the book in both mood and interesting layouts. Everybody looks great this week, as they’ve tended to lately.
Overall, this issue was fantastic. It had some great character writing, a stellar cliffhanger, and two pretty awesome bonus stories to really make it worth your time. The character stuff for Huntress and Nightwing was a highlight, and the Psycho Pirate reveal was honestly amazing. The backups are stellar, on par with the main story in quality, and I’m super excited to see where this new Waid/Mora book is going to go when it releases. All in all, totally worth it.
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