Out with the old and in with the new; John Layman has left Detective Comics behind for Batman Eternal (and will eventually leave that too). That means Detective Comics is getting a brand new creative team (the same guys who brought us Flash): Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato. What do they have in store for us with this new run? Is it good?
Detective Comics #30 (DC Comics)
A drug called Icarus is back on the streets, being pushed by a new crime boss called The Squid. Batman intends to stop him and the men working for him… but it won’t be easy. Meanwhile, Miss Elena Aguila, a businesswoman with a lot of money offers Bruce a chance in helping rebuild Gotham. Again, things won’t be easy.
Also, there are bikers that need to be dealt with.
Detective Comics #30 had the feeling of a new beginning for the series. New characters, new goals, new threats, new status quo, and the works. All of the new additions are very intriguing and exciting. The new characters are instantly likeable and well characterized, even if they only get one entire scene in the issue, and Manapul and Buccellato make you want to care about them. The drug plotline is something we have seen done before but all of the elements here and the interesting nature of Icarus is as a drug itself (if you recall The Flash #25 Zero Year tie-in) helps elevate this story more.
The writing ultimately is very strong, even with the story mostly going through setup at this point. The pacing and storytelling is strong, giving every scene the right amount of time to have its impact and suck us in. The dialogue is a pretty good overall, with a good touch of humor and emotion sprinkled around in different areas. The book makes several nods to the other Batman books going on, making the series feel more a part of the universe and also adding extra layers to the story (like Elena recounts Bruce’s speech he made back in Batman #24 outside of the chemical plant). The ending is also pretty strong and surprising as well, helping to make the audience want to stick around for the next issue to see where the story goes.
Mom… please don’t spoil my secret origin story!
The artwork by Francis Manapul is just absolutely gorgeous. Besides the well-drawn characters and beautiful colors, the real treat of the comic is the layouts and the action scenes. More than most comics out there, this one really has a fantastic sense of movement and flow to it as the characters fight one another. Watching Batman scale or jump across rooftops or to the bike scenes; everything just flows so well. Even the simple effects with speed lines or dust being kicked up is a sight to be seen. Even if the story was bad, which it isn’t, this book would be almost worth the price of admission alone just for the artwork itself.
Is It Good?
Detective Comics #30 is an amazing start for this new creative team. Not only is the artwork fantastic, but the storytelling is strong, the characters are great, and the new feel is intriguing. If you want to try a new Batman comic, this is the perfect chance to do so.