It's Scott Snyder again! 2 in a row for the Scottster. This week it's the final issue of Detective Comics EVER! (Until next month)
The Review Group is a collection of posters who get together and review a new comic each week that we each take turns selecting. Our threads can be found in The Outhouse's Newstand forum and is open for anyone and everyone to participate in.
Scott Snyder may very well be the man to break the Review Group's streak of negativity. After he (along with fellow ne'er do wells Scott Tuft and Attila Futaki) impressed us a whole lot with Severed, can his Batman work do the same? It doesn't help when the issue chosen is a final issue, but the results may surprise you...
I remember picking up Scott Snyder's first issue of Detective. I only gave it a shot becuase of the praise American Vampire was getting. What a great choice that was. I love me some Grant Morrison on Batman but ever since Snyder has been on this book it was the better Bat book that month. Isue #880 caused me to scream out holy sh!t twice during the book. I was so excited to read this issue, it was everything I hoped for. I loved that both Jock and Francesco Francavilla did art on the book. Everything came together. I look forward to seeing what Snyder does writing Bruce. But for now an amazing historic run.
DETECTIVE COMICS #881 cannot be overhyped. This is one of the best single issues I've read in a long time. What's surprising, given that it's a concluding chapter in a superhero book, is that it focuses on a series of conversations -- first between Barbara and Jim Jr., then between Dick and Jim Jr., and finally between Jim Sr. and Dick -- and it avoids any of the usual action used to conclude a big arc. Yet the violence, the sadism, and the regret behind these conversations make each scene incredibly powerful.
Barbara Gordon, the invalid, stabbed in both legs, and unable to pull out the knives; Jim Jr. making sick, sarcastic references to the KILLING JOKE; extended discussions on Nietzschean supermen and the virtues of psychopaths -- this book is nightmarish on so many levels and in so many ways. The image of Barbara with two knives in her is jarring. The long rationalization of violence by Jim Jr. is obnoxious. And Dick's desperation in trying to find and save Barbara is incredibly suspenseful.
I'm going to pay this issue the ultimate compliment: Scott Snyder has written a Batman book that is as smart and terrifying as Christopher Nolan's THE DARK KNIGHT. I am stunned by Snyder's devilish imagination here.
The art is strong and appropriately creepy. Jock's pages are excellent, and Fancesco Francavilla's art has a weird simplicity to it that really conveys the sinister emptiness of Jim Jr.
DETECTIVE COMICS #881 is absolutely flawless. Go out and read it!
So after reflection and rereading this book is still perfect. The art changes are a little jarring but seeing as how both have had major parts of this story it makes total sense. It's too bad this run and dick as batman is coming to an end, it's hard not to talk about the shitstorm the DC universe is about to become while discussing this book since Dick as Batman is a casualty and this run cut short because of it. Like I've said repeatedly I wonder when Snydely whiplash will occur it could happen with him writing Bruce but who knows. I'll be sure to be there to find out.
Rarely in my adult life do I come across a run that I know instantly will stand the test of time. This is that story. The final chapter to the story of James Gordon, Jr. was just as chilling as every chapter that preceded it. Not only that but Snyder has taken a major moment in the history of Batman and possibly added a new layer to it that would make the hair on the back of Stephen King's neck rise.
The Art played beautifully with the words, allowing for every character their due with some very heavy material.
This issue is just like this run: Picture Perfect
My Score: 10
Story - I don't really feel comfortable giving a review for this issue, I liked it, but since this is the only chapter of the story I've read, I don't really have that much to say. Snyder is a writer who's impressed me on American Vampire and now Severed, but I decided not to pick up his run on Detective Comics, I don't like Dick Grayson as a character, and two Batman titles were enough for me (Batman Incorporated for the Morrison and Batman & Robin for Damian if you're interested), so I left this one on the shelf.
Picking up this issue right at the end shows that not deciding to buy 'Tec may have been a mistake, Snyder gets Batman, and has returned the character to the more urban and realistic roots of Miller and Rucka, rather than the Silver-Age elements that Morrison brought back in. It all looks like something that's right up my street. I like the use of James Gordon Junior as a villain, and the book had one great shocking moment in the revelation that Barbara Gordon had knives in her legs, but coming in that the end... I didn't care that much. I haven't been following this story from the beginning and seen the mystery that James Junior is the answer to unravel. The shocks here mean little and less to me.
This issue has prompted me to make sure I pick up this story once it comes out in trade (although now I have the ending spoiled for me, d'oh!) and reinforced my decision to pick up Snyder's new Batman #1 in September, but I can't really rave about this as much as the rest of you. It's another case of 'it's not you, it's me', this is a good comic, the reasons for not liking it lie with me. Maybe once I've read the trade I'll pop in with a proper review.
Art - The art was something you don't need prior knowledge to praise, and this issue had great art. I've been wondering for a while my Franco Francavilla's art for Black Panther has seemed a little rushed lately, and now I have my answer, he's been cheating on T'Challa with Batman! The shame! But his work here is up to his usual idiosyncratic genius, his take on James Gordon Junior is fantastically creepy. Jock has long been a favourite, and whilst he doesn't get as many pages as I'd like, but it looks good. I bet it'll look great in the trade.
Best Line - The entire conversation between Oracle and her brother, just gripping stuff, and pretty realistic psychopath. Makes a change from the usual Batman nuts.
Good comic, but I can't really rate it properly until I've read the whole story.
I haven't read an issue of Detective Comics in a long time, so I had absolutely no idea what was happening in the series. I knew this was the last issue, but that's only because it was mentioned when picked for this week's Review Group. That said, I did enjoy this issue quite a lot.
The story was wordy, but I didn't mind. It really helped me catch up on what has happened lately, and I felt that it fit James' character. Snyder is growing as a writer in my eyes.
The art was moody, and it fit the issue nicely. I liked all the reds used in the coloring for the kidnapping scenes. Very good storytelling as well.
There was lots of action near the end of the issue, and it was portrayed with lots of energy!
GRADE: 7 of 10
Scott Snyder has been a revelation on Detective Comics, and has been gifted with two exceptional artists with which to tell his year-long story on the title. Jock I already knew as one of my favourite artists but Francesco Francavilla came out of nowhere for me and brought all the necessary menace, gloom and wonderful facial acting that a story like this needed. Both artists had plenty of shocking reveals over the course of the year and the sight of Barbara's legs here, as well as Gordon's entrance at the end of the story are both very well handed.
As to the story itself, it's a real shame the DC reboot is relieving Dick of the cowl as in James jr he seems to have found himself a foe every bit as vile as any of his mentor's and far more personal to boot. This was an expertly done story of families and of Dick really coming into his own as Batman. It's a shame we have to get the status quo back so quickly, but at least we got one truly classic story out of it.
Snyder can write some really twisted stuff. All his stuff that I've read confirms that and this book is no exception. The true extent of how messed up James Jr. was puts him right up there with the Joker in the way he took a perverse pleasure in torturing his sister, especially regarding the references to The Killing Joke.
Dick Grayson came off as more Batman than ever yet still had some sort of individuality that seperates him from Bruce Wayne, a plus to the credit of Snyder's writing...but the Batman role in this story felt kind of jarring and out of place to me as the real strength of the story came from the Gordon family's role throughout this arc...I struggle to think of a story where Commissioner Gordon has been put through the wringer so much and after the title was a Gordon-centric book for so long I didn't care for it at all. As a result, while this was a great conclusion to a truly epic run, it wasn't exactly the strongest book Snyder has put out on this title. Still great though.
I'm really annoyed that Snyder is off this book and will be separated from artists like Jock and Francavilla is favor of artists like Capullo who'll be giving us Riddler mohawks. He gave us probably one of the best Detective Comics runs in the titles history (which was further enhanced by such fitting artists) only to be paired with someone who has what i see as the generic DC in-house art style. Maybe my fears are unfounded, but DC's track record with artist/writer pairings worries me.
On the art front...there is no doubt in my mind that Jock and Francavilla (Miss you on Black Panther )are awesome artists. I'd kill to have them do street level books over at Marvel, especially Jock who I've loved whenever he does collaborations with Andy Diggle. But despite how they can both carry books, the way the art transitioned from one to the other inside an issue was a bit jarring to say the least, especially since it went right back to Jock in mid-scene of all things. Really ruined the feel of the art.
Wow! That's a lot of perfect 10s! Unfortunately some people (mostly me) had to drag the score down, but Detective Comics #881 gets a respectable score of 8.81 of ten. That's kind of creepy how #881 gets a score that is the same as it's issue number! I sense a conspiracy! If only we had some kind of comic based on detectives, but unfortunately this was the last issue. Investigate the thread here.
Next week is Damaged #1, which is a book written by Dave Lapham and Sam Worthington, yep, the dude from Avatar, let's hope it doesn't open a Pandora's box of bitching. LOL
Written or Contributed by: Niam Suggitt
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