We’re back today with another issue of Detective Comics, and the Shadows of the Bat story line, written by Mariko Tamaki and drawn by Max Raynor. And of course, the backup story by Matthew Rosenberg and Fernando Blanco. This was a good one, so let’s get right to things and talk about it, shall we?
The story this time really progresses things, with a lot happening to keep the momentum. We see the Bat family get closer and closer to discovering the truth, while Dr. Wear’s plan seems to fall further and further into disarray. It’s a satisfying thing to read, especially with all the buildup over the past couple issues. Lots of tension and cool moments that keep things interesting. It’s also just fun watching the characters solve this mystery, as I’ve said in previous reviews. Even if it’s not the most deep or complex web to unravel, it’s still a lot of fun to be a part of, hoping the characters catch on to what we as readers already know.
The characters are all done well of course, as per usual, and there’s plenty of opportunity for everybody to get some moments and interactions. It’s great to see the characters still doing detective work here, even showing their failed attempts to chase clues, as well as the successes. It helps show they’re fallible, but not incompetent, even with Batman not around. The interactions between Nightwing and the cast (Huntress in particular) have been great this whole story, and it culminates here in him being the one to finally discover the Psycho Pirate at the end, despite being captured in the process. It’s also great to see Wear try and keep everything together when he’s clearly lost control of his own con, and you can tell he’s just barely able to keep his composure. Really fun to read.
Even with how good all that is, I think the backup story is where things really shine for me this issue — this was my favorite so far from this arc. That may be because Bane is my favorite Batman villain, but still, it was done very well, and good Bane writing is not as common as one may think. He’s a difficult character to get right, and I really love how Rosenberg used him here, feeling very in character and in his element. And as always, the backups serve as a great look at what the Gotham rogues get up to when not being pursued, and how they interact with a (relatively, all things considered) normal everyday person in Xix. It’s been fun seeing every villain impart some kind of villainous wisdom on him, building to the villain he’ll become later in life. Good stuff.
The art is great too, again, as usual. Raynor is a good fit for the book, having some really expressive but realistic art, which helps a lot when you’re dealing with an emotional manipulator like the Psycho Pirate. Blanco in the backups is still as good as always of course, with his thick character outlines adding a lot of personality to the story.
Overall, I liked this one. It’s, again, just moving things forward, but makes good progress for the story overall. Sometimes it’s nice to see the characters just doing their thing; that’s what a lot of fans really want from these stories anyway. Just seeing the characters we all love to read being themselves with some action and drama to keep things spicy. The art is great of course, and the plot really feels like it’s starting to rev up to its climax. Pick this issue up if you’ve been enjoying this story so far, and I’ll see you, same Bat-time, same Bat-website, next week, for another.
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