It’s Month 2 of DC Comics’ The New 52! It’s do-or-die this month for the books I bashed last month, and time to see if the titles I loved last month are as good as I thought! I’ll be reviewing all 52 #2 issues released this month, and you can find all of the reviews on the Comic Book Reviews index page. This week we get 13 #2 issues, including the reborn longest-running Batman title, Detective Comics #2. Writer Tony Daniel continues along with the book’s debut arc which revamps The Joker and perhaps introduces a future classic new villain! Is this all-new Detective Comics series a hit, or am I still lamenting the loss of the long-running one?
This review will be as spoiler-free as possible.
This is a new Detective Comics for a new era and new readers, but it still has the essential look and feel of the old Detective Comics. Everything from the font used to the shading on the exposition boxes feels like a classic Batman comic. I can deal with the renumbering of one of the longest-running and best-loved comic series in history a lot better knowing that this is just a new number meant to bring in new readers and not a reimagining that will tarnish the title’s legacy.
While some have complained about obscure artists being utilized for some of the books of The New 52 and churning out subpar work, that is not the case here. In fact, I’d say Detective Comics is probably in the top 10 books artistically in the whole New 52. The artwork here is extremely solid and has the signature gritty look and feel of Detective Comics that creates the dark and gothic mood of Gotham City we all know and love.
The Dollmaker has only appeared in a few panels in the series so far, and he already is an intriguing and mysterious villain. I’m ecstatic that this opening arc is being used to establish him as a villain using The Joker as a complementary character, instead of this first arc being a pure Joker story. We haven’t had a major new villain created for the Rogues Gallery since Hush a decade ago, and we haven’t had a good new Batman villain in even longer. I’m not entirely sold on the Dollmaker yet, but I do believe that the potential is there and this story could definitely put him on the map.
I also want to briefly commend Tony Daniel on his handling of Dr. Arkham in this book. Jeremiah Arkham is a character that I’ve never really connected with before. But after only some brief scenes and dialogue in the story so far, I’m finding Arkham to be disturbing and creepy, yet also sympathetic at the same time. I’m curious what future plans there are for Arkham, and whether or not his previous identity as the last Black Mask is being retconned out entirely or just swept under the rug for the time being.
Batman must get laid more than anybody else in the entire DC Universe. (Except for Starfire. ZING!) Seriously, I feel like Batman is hooking up with a different woman in every one of his comics. Between that and his creepy sexual romps with Catwoman over in her book, I’m wondering if DC is getting ready to start a new Lantern Corps composed entirely of illegitimate Batman children. I know Bruce Wayne’s character has always been a playboy, but I think the Batman editorial teams has confused Bruce with a sex-crazed gigolo.
Another thing bothering me is that in spite of his apparent concrete faith in Batman, Commissioner Gordon seems almost impotent to help Batman in the new DC Universe. He wouldn’t help Batman with his investigation in issue 1, and he refuses to help Batman again in this issue. Seeing as how Gordon is still the commissioner of the police department, I’d like a better explanation for his lack of helpfulness besides his remorseful dialogue of “I know what you want, and I can’t help you.”
I was also totally thrown by the ending sequence of events in this issue. Batman goes to a building to search for someone, Gordon arrives a few minutes after Batman, but by the time Batman climbs the stairs to the top floor of the building something has already transpired with Gordon (which I won’t spoil) and Gordon is already at the top of the building. Logically, this just doesn’t make sense and it couldn’t have happened that way. I understand that this is a comic book, but there has to be some internal consistent flow of time in order for the storytelling to work–and the way this was told is baffling and illogical.
“Where Can I Buy It?!”
The obvious place to buy new comic books is your local comic book store, but if you don’t have one or can’t get to it, I highly recommend giving Things from Another World (TFAW.com) a try! Currently, they not only have Detective Comics #2 in stock, but they have Detective Comics #1 as well! They stock a crazy huge number of comic books, and the prices on new releases and graphic novels are always 10-30% below cover price. I’ve been buying from TFAW for close to a decade now and never had a bad experience, so I have total confidence in their value and quality. Click here if you wanna take a look at buying comics from Things from Another World.
Overall: Overall, this was another steady, satisfactory issue of Detective Comics. I wasn’t pleased with Bruce’s bimbo of the week (literally–there’ll be a different one in next week’s Batman book) and I found some of the logic lacking in this issue, but overall it was a strong comic with the appropriate look and feel for a Batman book. You’ll notice that I’m not pre-ordering the next issue, however. With Batman appearing in 4 monthly books of his own as well as all 3 Justice Leagues, Catwoman, Batwing, and various other books, I just don’t feel inclined to buy all but the ones I like the absolute best. If I hear this story arc ended up being a modern classic, I’ll pick up the TPB. But on an issue-to-issue basis, I’m going to pass on this book in favor of other titles featuring Batman.