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Detective Comics #1073
DC Comics

Comic Books

‘Detective Comics’ #1073 is a masterful libretto of tension, character development, and world-building

This issue delves into what makes Batman tick and provides narrative meat for the reader to sink their teeth into.

“I have warned you, child. This time would come. When all your strength and wisdom would fail you.”

A gradual crescendo of tension, character development, and world-building, Ram V’s nocturne has been building toward the inevitable confrontation between Bruce Wayne and Arzen’s masked alter-egos. This week’s Detective Comics #1073 presents the shocking outcome of their fateful face-off, and the ramifications will leave you clamoring for more. V’s libretto is masterful, delving into what makes Batman and Gotham City tick.

Having chosen to sacrifice himself by detonating the explosives in Orgham Place, Batman finds himself locked in battle with Arzen beneath the flaming wreckage. Here we find our weary hero proudly stating, “You think I’d walk in here unprepared? I know you reinforced the tunnels. I knew they’d withstand the explosion. I knew there would be some convoluted machination… Some deranged plan.” However, Batman doesn’t understand how correct he is until Arzen pulls the rug from underneath him.

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One of the elements I love best about Detective Comics #1073, and this run as a whole, is Ram V’s ability to subvert our expectations by stripping our hero of his strengths or changing our perception of these attributes. Although Batman always prides himself on being ten steps ahead, he is consistently ten steps behind throughout this story. Despite believing himself to be prepared, he unknowingly walked into Orgham’s trap.

With his actions twisted by the Serpent, and her mass hypnosis running on a loop throughout the city, Batman has no means to stop their dastardly plan already in motion. By stripping Batman of his greatest strength, preparation, Ram V has allowed tension to swell throughout Detective Comics #1073. With his plans dashed and our hero against the ropes, it is impossible not to become invested in the conflict.

Although Batman claims that he doesn’t need the population’s approval as he has been hunted before, it is apparent that Arzen’s plan is more thorough than simply discrediting the Dark Knight. To save Gotham City’s soul, the young Orgham must sacrifice Batman. It is only then that he can use the Thelemus Engine to rewrite Gotham’s grand design.

DC Preview: Detective Comics #1073

DC Comics

“You will die tonight, Batman, in more ways than one.”

Ram V perfectly uses sacrifice to thematically weave Detective Comics #1073’s entire narrative together.  Beginning with Batman’s sacrifice at the beginning of the issue, V seeks to change our perception of the nobility of his actions using Arzen’s condescending dialogue. He claims, “On the one hand, you did not think twice about sacrificing yourself to save this city. On the other hand, you cannot fathom a future for it without yourself. What manner of sacrifice is that?” Arzen’s words pierce the Dark Knight’s armor and strike his heart by undermining Batman’s crime-fighting methodology.

Are Batman’s actions truly noble if all he seeks to establish is the status quo? Shouldn’t he desire a Gotham free of the Dark Knight? Ram V’s libretto provides narrative and thematic meat for the reader to sink their teeth into. The depth and character analysis that V has imbued within the story have made this issue so much fun to read. V’s work demands rereading so that you can catch all the details you missed during the first pass.

Additionally, Dan Watters’ backup story does an excellent job thematically tying into the overall narrative while also providing background on Arzen’s methodology. Watters uses his story to illustrate how Arzen was manipulated by Queen Dariah to burn down the tree he and his father had planted to kill his attackers. When notified that the families of the men she hired to attack her son had been killed she responds, “Alas, that the boy makes such sacrifices necessary… but so often things must die that others can be born.” This fits perfectly into Detective Comics #1073’s theme as it demonstrates the origin of the villain’s willingness to sacrifice Batman so that Gotham can be reborn.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the return of Barbatos, as the demon tempts Bruce to drink his blood following this issue’s big twist. Barbatos’ promise to help with Bruce’s current predicament represents another sacrifice our hero must choose to embrace or deny. Will he sacrifice his ideals to beat a villain that is always ten steps ahead of will he remain true to his convictions? Only time will tell how far Bruce will go to save his city.

“… Did you see this coming?”

Detective Comics #1073

DC Comics

Every sequence in Detective Comics #1073 is expertly rendered by the entire art team of Ivan Reis, Goran Sudzuka, Danny Miki, Brad Anderson, Stefano Raffaele, and Lee Loughridge. I particularly love the detail and ethereal nature of the entire sequence involving Barbatos. Without spoiling too much, the expression on Batman’s face as the final twist is revealed is perfectly horrifying and the action of the rest of this sequence is great.

Unfortunately, my only complaint is the lack of consistency due to the number of artists involved. It is evident when each artist changes. As a result, that can take you out of the moment. Artist changes have worked in prior issues as flashbacks have utilized different artists. Due to the fact that the entire main story takes place during the same timeline, each change in an artist is less effective.

Detective Comics #1073 provides the accelerando to Ram V’s crescendo of tension, character development, and world-building of the series. V’s libretto is masterful, delving into what makes Batman tick and providing narrative meat for the reader to sink their teeth into. As a result, this issue demands rereading. All of this is bolstered by expertly rendered sequences from the entire art team of Ivan Reis, Goran Sudzuka, Danny Miki, Brad Anderson, Stefano Raffaele, and Lee Loughridge. Unfortunately, due to the large number of artists involved, there is a lack of consistency between styles. As a result, each change in an artist can take you out of the moment.

Detective Comics #1073
‘Detective Comics’ #1073 is a masterful libretto of tension, character development, and world-building
Detective Comics #1073
Detective Comics #1073 provides the accelerando to Ram V’s crescendo of tension, character development, and world-building of the series. V’s libretto is masterful, delving into what makes Batman tick and providing narrative meat for the reader to sink their teeth into. As a result, this issue demands rereading. All of this is bolstered by expertly rendered sequences from the entire art team of Ivan Reis, Goran Sudzuka, Danny Miki, Brad Anderson, Stefano Raffaele, and Lee Loughridge. Unfortunately, due to the large number of artists involved, there is a lack of consistency between styles. As a result, each change in an artist can take you out of the moment.
Reader Rating1 Votes
8.9
Ram V's ability to to subvert our expectations by stripping our hero of his strengths or changing our perception of these attributes.
Ram V's use of sacrifice as a theme to explore our hero's motives.
Ivan Reis, Goran Sudzuka, Danny Miki, Brad Anderson, Stefano Raffaele, and Lee Loughridge expertly illustrate each sequence.
Unfortunately, due to the large number of artists involved, there is a lack of consistency between styles. As a result, each change in an artist can take you out of the moment.
9
Great
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