I’m back with another review of Detective Comics, still currently in the “Shadows of the Bat” story line. As per last time, this issue is written by Mariko Tamaki, drawn by Amancay Nahuelpan, with backup by the team of Matthew Rosenberg and Fernando Blanco. We’re drawing close to the end, and things are revving up to match, so let’s see how things are shaping up this issue.
We’re right in the middle of the climax of this story, with every player coming to light. The only thing left to do is stop the chaos before it gets to claim any more innocent lives. Pretty standard comic book stuff, but it’s fun and well done, which is all it needs. Interestingly, we start with a new flashback to events just prior to this story, with the mayor’s wife failing to recount a past trauma to reporter Deb Donavan. The issue doesn’t give any answers to what’s going on with her yet, or how it ties into current events. I like that, though — the book isn’t scared to toss one last mystery in before it all concludes, and that’s fun. And also, seeing Batman’s triumphant return to Gotham at long last was a great moment, giving the sense that no matter what, everything is definitely going to work out now.
The characters are done well, especially Huntress, as I noted last time as well. Tamaki obviously has fun writing her, and her irate and ornery personality is just as fun to read too. Aside from Nakano’s wife, though, there’s not too much else aside from the standard type of stuff you would expect.
The backup was pretty good too, still set smack dab in the middle of the classic and iconic No Man’s Land storyline. Like last time, Rosenberg and Blanco do a great job making the story feel like it could be read as a part of that one, which really helps sell it as a period piece, even before it’s a character study. It’s a good character study also, at that. Nero has come a long way and is maturing into adulthood, still with a chip on his shoulder because of his childhood fear of the Batman. In a very in-character moment, Bruce recognizes his pain and doesn’t try and pass the buck, even though the boy’s circumstances and injuries were not directly his fault. That’s a very important, but subtle detail that makes Rosenberg’s take feel perfectly on point.
The art is still good of course, with Nahuelpan still serving as a good choice to help close this story out after the previous main artist exited. It still feels like a seamless transition, and there’s some pretty fun paneling and layouts with half the Bat Family fighting their way up through and outside the tower. And of course, Batman’s big debut into the story was excellently done. For the backup, Blanco’s work has continued to impress. The grimy, broken, soul-crushing landscape of No Man’s Land is there in full force, and feels just as effective as it did in the original story. The feel needed for that story was absolutely on point, and I can’t praise that enough.
Overall, Detective Comics #1056 is another good issue. It’s action focused, as to be expected for this stage in the story, but it still manages to dish out some interesting character stuff for a minor player in Nakano’s wife, and use that to add a little bit more mystery in at the last second. Not a bad play, I’d say. And of course we have Bruce back in Gotham, which I’m happy to see. Art was good, as it tends to be for this book, leaving me with very little to nitpick or complain about, and I’d call that a good sign.
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