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Detective Comics Annual 2022
DC Comics

Comic Books

‘Detective Comics Annual 2022’ reveals the Orgham’s origins in Gotham

With great art, fantastic colors, interesting character design and a thrilling story, this 48-page annual really has everything you could want.

Detective Comics Annual 2022 provides us with a background tale for the “Gotham Nocturne” story arc started by the new creative team of Ram V and Rafael Albuquerque back in issue #1062. It’s certainly nice to get an annual that relates to the ongoing story, as opposed to a one-off tale. With a plot as interesting and slow-burning as the one currently transpiring in Detective Comics, it is very welcome.

SPOILERS AHEAD for Detective Comics Annual 2022!

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The annual begins with Gael and Shavhod retrieving something from the lowest basements of the ruined Arkham Asylum. We are then suddenly transported to 1776 Gathome Settlement (early Gotham City). It’s a familiar scene in Batman comics: a murder scene. A mother and father dead with a crowd investigating. The stark color contrasts in this issue are truly one of the highlights. We go from a dark basement in Arkham, to a brightly lit double page spread depicting a landscape with green trees, rolling hills and open sky. The foreground, however, is still dark. The silhouettes of the crowd and some buildings remain in shadow, perhaps an indication of what’s to come in Gathome.

'Detective Comics Annual 2022' reveals the Orgham's origins in Gotham

Gathome is at the same time familiar to regular Batman readers, but also foreign enough to keep us interested. There are characters throughout 18th century Gathome that parallel present day Gotham. The first we are introduced to is Garret Jardin, who is investigating the murders of Tim and Moira Wainwright – obvious stand-ins for James Gordon and Thomas and Martha Wayne. Though at first it may seem like we’re getting an 18th century retelling of Batman’s origin story, the comic quickly pivots to something else entirely. There are factions at work in Gathome – the law, religion and commerce. Law is represented by Jardin, religion by a pastor, Ichabod Kraine who is obsessed with fear (Scarecrow) and finally commerce is represented by Pebblecroft (Penguin), the local merchant. There is also a local “witch”, Aiyanna,  that lives on the edge of Gathome. In actuality she’s a healer, and obvious stand-in for Poison Ivy. Lastly, we have a raiding party led by Darcey Hunt, whose face is scarred on one half. I’ll let you guess who he represents.

Eventually we learn that Lord Ethanel Orgham is pulling all of the strings and has traveled to Gathome to bury a Reality Engine. This will affect the lives and events of the surrounding area to ensure that power always remains where they want it to. Like ripples in a body of water, there will be a pattern to Gathome that will repeat throughout the centuries. The tinder that begins this pattern is the murder of the Wainwrights by Gael and the ensuing conflict. The pastor will lead a mob to Aiyanna’s house to burn the witch and simultaneously Hunt will lead a raiding party on Gathome, their goal to kill Jardin. With most of the men gathered at Aiyanna’s home on the edge of town, Gathome is left practically defenseless, and Jardin is an easy target for Hunt to dispose of. All of these events were planned by Orgham, Kraine, Gael and Pebblecroft to ultimately gain control of the settlement. To strike down the symbol of law and to replace it with their puppets. To instill fear in the population, and have them rely on religion and commerce to quell those fears.

But there was one factor the group did not plan for: the stranger, Aldridge Pearce. He has taken the young Wainwright boy under his wing. He protects Aiyanna earlier in the issue from Pastor Kraine and a small crowd of malcontents, but he decides to take the boy and leave Gathome before Hunt’s raiding party attacks the settlement. Pearce hitches a ride in a strange man’s wagon who calls himself Mordecai. He says he is from the future and that Pearce must interfere with the events of the evening, to help his friends and protect the settlement as well as train the Wainwright boy to carry the pain and evil he now has inside him. Pearce rescues Aiyanna, sets fire to an old pine tree releasing a swarm of bats in order to scare the raiding party and also defeats Hunt before he can execute Jardin.

At the end of the issue, we return to Gael and Shavhod in Arkham Asylum, and they have retrieved what we now know is the Reality Engine. Batman is a fly in the ointment of their great plan that has been there for centuries. In order for them to succeed in the present day, he must be eliminated.

The artwork is truly fantastic in this issue. The character designs for our colonial Gathomeites are fresh and unique while still making them distinguishable parallels of our current day characters. The tricorn Batsuit works perfectly and is instantly recognizable. The colors in the issue are also phenomenal. The ethereal greens of Aiyanna and her “magic” as well as the hellish reds of Batman bursting through exploding wagons give excellent contrast to the mostly subdued color palette of the rest of the issue. There are also two, full page fight scenes where Pearce is fighting a crowd, one before and one after he dons the cowl. The ferocity of the fighting and choreography are impressive and well worth the price of admission.

The subtitle of the issue is also clever: Motif. In music a motif is a short musical phrase, a salient recurring figure, musical fragment or succession of notes that has some special importance in a composition. Batman himself is the motif, whose point is “to resist”. There is a great double page spread showing five scenes of different “Batmen” throughout the centuries fighting his rogues gallery.

With great art, fantastic colors, interesting character design and a thrilling story, this 48-page annual really has everything you could want.

Detective Comics Annual 2022
‘Detective Comics Annual 2022’ reveals the Orgham’s origins in Gotham
Detective Comics Annual 2022
With great art, fantastic colors, interesting character design and a thrilling story, this 48 page annual really has everything you could want.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Fantastic artwork as usual
Interesting colonial character designs of your favorite Batman characters
Vibrant colors that really pop off the page
May not make sense if you aren't caught up on Detective Comics
8
Good
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