Maybe I’m insane, but I think comics should be readable no matter when you jump on. I’m doing just that with Detective Comics #945 — but with no knowledge of the last few issues, is it still good?
Detective Comics #945 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The full summary reads:
“The Victim Syndicate” part three! Batman is trying his best to hold his team together, but Spoiler might have every reason to walk out the door…and others might follow!
Why does this book matter?
Writer James Tynion IV has made Clayface a robust character you can understand more than ever. Batman has an actual team for once (seriously, one Robin wasn’t enough) and threats loom large in the face of Red Robin’s death. Sounds like a lot to love eh?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Batman cape flow is on point.
Though this is a team book, Spoiler and Clayface get the most character work in this issue, and the work for both is solid. Readers are reminded of why Clayface is a bit of a victim and can’t help his past actions, but also the guilt he feels for these actions. Meanwhile, Spoiler is rightly questioning this whole operation and the guilt she feels for having a father who is a supervillain. Batman gets a decent amount of guilt thrown in his corner too and by issue’s end you’ll realize this book is tethered to the pain of its heroes.
Artist Al Barrionuevo shares pencil duties with Carmen Carnero, and although their styles differ noticeably — they’re both worthy of a primo title like this. Barrionuevo offers a more painterly look and feel (with a dope Batmobile and a flashback to Batman’s past that is gorgeous). He also draws some wicked flames. Carnero offers a more average comic book look (I loved her work on Astro City #39) that captures the facial expressions and by extension the dialogue quite well.
It can’t be perfect can it?
It’s good a book like this is double shipped, because not a lot happens within. Characters are grumpy, hurting, and upset, but aside from talking about their feelings not much else goes on. We get proper check-ins and the plot moves forward ever so slightly, but it’s hard to shake that at least some of these pages are dragging things out. It doesn’t help that the cliffhanger left me more confused than excited for the next installment.
Smug Batman is smug.
Is It Good?
Time to suck it up and talk about your feelings, because Detective Comics #945 has that in droves. Characters are revealing pain and guilt which makes for interesting character work. The plot moves very slowly however, and it’s hard to shake the feeling that the comic pads itself out with unimportant scenes so as to fill its pages.