Last month’s Detective Comics rang in a new era with a fresh team and chilling new mystery. The structuring of Detective Comics #1063 echoes its predecessor by opening with a musical performance, then picking up on Batman’s detective work and ending on an ominous note with the lurking demonic threat. Packed in between these similar beats lies the deepening mystery and more great artwork.
SPOILERS AHEAD for Detective Comics #1063!
We start off with Bruce consulting his old compatriot and usual villain, Harvey Dent. Harvey, seemingly cured of his split personality, discusses the changes coming to Gotham and how their roles have changed. It does little to assuage Bruce’s unease but assures the villain is not behind it. By the end of the issue, Harvey is set up to be a key player in the ensuing story in a rather expected turn of events.
There’s also a common thread that ties this story into the main Batman title, that of an aging Bruce. Bruce’s sluggishness still perplexes him, and even Harvey takes notice his slipping grip on Gotham’s underworld. With one creative team doing a more fast paced, action-heavy story and the other telling a slower burn, detective tale, it’s nice to have a shared interpretation of the protagonist between them.
We also learn a bit more about the Orghams. Though they retain an interesting supernatural angle to the story, their initial motivations won’t surprise anyone familiar with Batman mythos and rhyming names. Still, they pose a unique threat in this narrative despite their origins being less of a bombshell and more of an expected reveal. Their master plan remains to unfold further and music seems to be the key.
Music is an integral piece to the puzzle and this is explored further here. Batman consults a criminal expert and learns of music’s supposed ability to control people or even reveal hidden malice. The power of said music continues to be uniquely portrayed through a psychedelic, almost 3D effect that warps the panels when played. It’s an ominous flair that also hints at the sway these devilish compositions wield over our characters.
The artwork continues to be the highlight here and works well in tandem with the eerily unfolding tale. The artists capture the dark atmosphere at a lone singer’s performance in a dimly lit nightclub. They bring Gotham’s shadows to life as Batman stalks his city in search of clues. The sporadic splashes of neon green or blood red at key moments also enhance key moments. All of these coalesce into a great looking issue.
The Gordon backup, “Coda,” carries on with its noir trappings. The narration remains solid throughout. However, some of the color choices this time around do make it difficult to distinguish important details. Characters blend into the backgrounds, making the visual flow harder to follow. There’s also a weird editor’s note absent from the initial part that places the story before The Joker #15. Not a huge deal, but a strange addendum to make only in the second entry in a 3-part arc. Still a solid inclusion here that I look forward to seeing how it concludes.
Detective Comics #1063 makes for a fine follow-up. For me, the musical angle alongside the fantastic artwork are enough to bring me back next time, but some of my initial excitement has waned with the unsurprising developments here.
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