Back once again this week to take a look at the latest issue of DC’s Detective Comics, and another part in the “Shadows of the Bat” storyline. As always it’s written by Mariko Tamaki with art currently handled by Amancay Nahuelpan, and of course Matthew Rosenberg and Fernando Blanco on the backup story. We’re a stone’s throw away from the end of this story, so time to see how the penultimate issue fares.
SPOILERS AHEAD for Detective Comics #1057!
Things are finally falling into place and gearing down a bit plot wise. The climax has reached its peak now that Batman has made his triumphant return (after spending time out of town due to events happening in his main book these past few months), and all that’s left is the final confrontation with the remaining villains of Arkham Tower. This has currently fallen to Scarecrow, in a very Arkham game type of way, who has taken the Psycho Pirate’s Medusa Mask in the confusion and plans to use it in support of his own fear gimmick. While the focus on Scarecrow all of the sudden does feel a bit out of left field, I don’t really mind it that much. Him seizing the opportunity makes sense for his character, and it gives the story a final showdown, considering Wear and the Psycho Pirate are already dealt with, so to speak. Really though, it seems it’s mostly there to get the mask away from the Psycho Pirate, so Nakano’s wife Koyuki can grab and wield it herself for the cliffhanger. The strongest aspect of this issue’s plot is of course, seeing Batman back and taking control of the whole affair. Like I said last time, his presence in the story is instantly reassuring, and serves as a good way to put a cap on all the chaos thus far.
Characterization is still pretty solid, with Batman and Koyuki getting the bulk of it here. A few bones are thrown to Huntress and Psycho Pirate as well, but they’re not really the focus (though the balance of it all is well done, and still appreciated). Koyuki has really become the main focus, developing a bit of an odd supportive relationship with Psycho Pirate, even taking command of his mask (and her own fears) at the very end. I like that, between this issue and the last, it shows a good mini-character arc for somebody who’d been nothing more than a bit player up until this point.
The backup story by Rosenberg and Blanco has shifted focus once again across the Batman timeline, now being set firmly in the modern day. It seemingly gives us the ultimate conclusion to what the previous issues have been building to: Nero Xix’s relationships with the various rogues of Gotham coming to fruition in a play against Batman. As I’ve said in previous reviews, I’ve really enjoyed this extended villain origin story. Taking a brand new character and developing them throughout Batman’s history like this has been a fun creative endeavor, and I think for the most part it’s been pulled off very well.
The artwork is good too, of course. Continuing from last time, Nahuelpan is still doing a good job at closing this story out with a strong sense of panel layouts and striking poses. Blanco has done a great job with the backups too all throughout, and that hasn’t changed here. He’s really shown a good range going all the way from Batman’s early years up to the world of the modern DCU, and pulled it all off effectively.
Overall, a good penultimate issue for this long event. It’s been full of twists and turns, and even near the end we still have a little bit of mystery and intrigue left to go. The character writing is solid as ever, and the artwork has been consistently good throughout. I suppose we’ll be getting all the remaining questions answered and seeing this story wrapped up, same Bat-time, same Bat-comic, next week.
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