RU reviews his advanced signed copy of Detective Comcis 871 sent to him by author and Friend of the Site Scott Snyder.
Credits & Solicit Info:
Written by Scott Snyder
Art And Cover by Jock
Co-Feature; Art by Francesco Francavilla
Batman: Something wrong Commissioner?
Commissioner Gordon: No...I, suppose I'm just not used to it yet.
Batman: Used to what?
Commissioner Gordon: To you still being there when I look up.
Although this is not the first conversation in the new issue of Detective Comics that reminds the reader that Dick Grayson is Gotham's Batman, it is the point in the book where the reader is reminded of (or told for the first time depending on past reading habits) that Bruce and his protégé are not the same kind of crime fighter. Although Grayson continues to use fear and subterfuge when dealing with criminals, he has decided to be more available and cooperative with his allies. It may seem like a small character difference, but when comparing Detective Comics 871 to any of my Bruce Wayne Batman books, the difference is staggering, and important.
I am not going to pretend to be an expert on Batman, or even completely up to date on all things post RIP, but after reading The Return of Bruce Wayne #5 and #6, The Return, Batman INC, Batman, and finally Detective Comics all in one week, Detective Comics #871 is my favorite comic of the group. It is the only one that does not feel like the characters had to stop what they were doing because Bruce is back. It is the only one that did not have the "Now that I am back" scene that each of the other bat-books had these past two Wednesdays (really DC, you couldn't spread that out a bit more?). Detective Comics #871 is the only one that seems to be telling a story about one character instead of making it about one character in relation to another. Basically, Detective Comics reads as a stand alone series that is strong enough not to need the others, and I like that.
As to the story itself; some mysterious criminal is terrorizing Gotham City!
But seriously, there is a new player in town and they are, somehow, gaining access to seized super-villain tech, causing havoc, and it is up to Batman to save the day. What is different about this case is the way Scott Snyder is presenting it. If this is an existing villain, the clues are not so abundant as to ruin any kind of reveal, and if this is truly a new threat, Snyder has not pulled a "Hush" and also introduced a never before seen civilian character for the readers to sit and wait for to be unmasked, this reads as an actual normal mystery, something that has been missing from the Bat-books for a while. As the story progresses, the characters feel natural and honest, from Grayson trying to turn a house into a home, Alfred's undying loyalty, to Gordon's search for justice. Snyder writes a world where it makes sense that these people exist.
The artwork by Jock continues this book's journey above and beyond the rest of the Incorporated tie-ins. Although not as clean as his work on The Losers, with each read through I grew to appreciate the messiness and how it related to the tone of the story, and from this one issue alone, I believe that Snyder and Jock have the potential to grow into a great team.
The 8 page back up, with art by Francesco Francavilla, tries too hard to relate back a throwaway line from the main story and sets up a mystery that, again I am no Bat expert , some readers may have to google in order to understand why they care.
When I heard about the new status quo, two Batmen, I decided to try and find one "Bruce" book and one "Dick" book, I am still looking for Bruce's, but after reading Detective Comics #871, I know which Dick I'll be pulling.....wait, what?
Story – 9
Art – 8.5
Overall – 8.75
Review by: Chip Chipperson
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