Though it’s been mostly change, one thing that has come back thanks to DC’s ‘Rebirth’ event is the original numbering for both Action and Detective Comics. So, sometime in the future, we’ll actually reach #1,000. That’s pretty cool, but in the meantime, let’s see check out what the new creative team DC has for us for #934. Is it good?
Detective Comics #934 (DC Comics)
One night, someone who looks strangely like Batman attacks Azarel in Gotham and nearly kills him. A few days later, the real Batman approaches Batwoman, saying that somebody has been watching all of the vigilantes in town and that something must be up. As such, he wants the two of them to team up and start preparing and training some of the other heroes before something bad happens.
The Initial Impression
This was a strong start from the new creative team of James Tynion IV and Eddy Barrows. I heard a few concerns from people about the scarce info that was floating around about the book and that some decisions that felt up in the air. However, outside of one or two small details, there’s no need to worry about the issue. The characters were all handled very well here and the potential for where this new direction can go seems limitless.
Story-wise, the issue is primarily about setup. It establishes the new status quo, the characters, what the focus will be about, and also drops some hints about the villains. While a lot of setup tends to feel boring or slow as the story goes through the motions to form everything, this issue felt different. The pacing was tight, able to balance both the setup, the characterization, and action rather well. For instance, opening the issue was a big action sequence to get you pumped up and wondering about what’ll happen, but it followed it up immediately with both setup and character moments between Batman and Batwoman. It felt like there was a lot going on and as such, no portion of the writing overshadowed the other.
The characterization is what really impressed me the most. Everyone came away here looking grea by having good character moments and feeling like themselves. Batwoman was treated as an equal to Batman–someone who is smart and tough, but also someone who could be better at working with people in a unit. Spoiler and Red Robin (who doesn’t have that much red anymore I’ve noticed) have good chemistry and banter between each other, while also showing strong trust between each. Cassandra Cain is just great overall and her momen reminded me previous appearances of her pre-reboot. Then there’s Clayface, who seems to be following the more anti-hero direction from the last arc of Batwoman by being open to becoming a better person and looking for redemption. It’s an interesting choice and the scene with him in the theate helps build that new direction with him. It’s solid work overall and I’m really looking to see how the group works as a team, or even just seeing more of their interactions (it would be great to have another moment like that certain one between Batman and Batwoman earlier on in the issue).
Another standout in the issue is the artwork by Barrows. It looks absolutely gorgeous, especially when its paired up with Eber Ferreira on inks and Adriano Lucas on colors. The attention to detail in the world is astounding and every location looks so believable, from how things are lit, the shadows against the walls, and small touches with the weather. The characters are very well drawn, expressive and so finely detailed that you can tell how all of them are feeling instantly, even someone like Clayface. The layouts and composition are great, with the right use of angles and character positioning to draw your attention to the right things in each panel. The action looks wonderful and really displays some fluid movement. Finally, there are some small, subtle touches that I liked; for instance, some of Penguin’s goons are wearing the same outfits the gang wore in the Arkham games.
The only problems that I have with the issue as a whole are very small and nitpicky. For instance, Cassandra Cain’s codename of Orphan just sounds very stupid for many reasons, mainly that it was the identity that her abusive and horrible father used when he was working for Mother. Some of the exposition was a little awkward or forced, in particular with Batman and Batwoman. While it works well for introducing these characters and ideas to new readers, it does on occasion sound rather unnatural. Also, some of the faces in the artwork, while not very often, did occasionally look weird, especially in the mouths and eyes. Again, this all just nitpicky stuff. It just did not take away from my experience with the comic.
Is It Good?
Detective Comics #934 was a fantastic and really wonderful start for this new creative team. It did everything right when it came to setup, not dragging the experience down, and kept you interested in what was being shown. The writing was mostly good, the characterization was excellent, and the artwork was stunning. Detective Comics has returned to top form and if you’re a Batman fan, you’ll definitely want to get in on the fun.