There’s a new baddy in town and by the looks of the cover her name is Shiva (who, if you’ve read our speculative Batman Casting Call, would know is one of the best martial artists in the DCU).
We delve into the latest story arc of Detective Comics to answer the question, is it good?
Detective Comics #951 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The summary reads:
“League of Shadows” part one! The next big DETECTIVE arc explodes here as the League of Shadows goes from mysterious rumor to deadly fact! What’s their plan for Gotham City? And how will their actions affect Batman and his team?
Why does this book matter?
We’ve been reviewing this series for a while and have really dug the team aspect that it brings to the table. Clayface in particular has added a unique aspect so we’re pumped to see how this tame faces off against an organized threat like the League of Assassins!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Is this what a pincushion feels like?
There are a few interesting elements in play in this issue, from Batwoman’s father’s mentor sort of role, to the beginnings of an overtaking of Gotham. Batman is getting comfortable with this new team, but it’s clear from this issue they’ll be tested beyond what they’re used to. Luckily they’re testing themselves to begin with with the team going at it against a slew of Penguins as Batwoman looks on. It’s neat how James Tynion IV has created a Danger Room like aspect for the team to test against (though fighting Penguins is probably beneath them!). It’s bookended well by the team’s reluctance to rush into battle when Joker gas is involved, which helps clarify this team isn’t quite as ready as what is about to punch them in the teeth.
The art by Christian Duce with colors by Alex Sinclair keeps the look darker in tone which helps set the atmosphere for a gloomy very bad day indeed. There’s a fantastic panel with the team looking on in surprise as some newscasters act very peculiar on TV. The real success of the art team comes when multiple characters spar in the same panel. It’s complicated, but never too chaotic as you don’t lose track of what’s happening.
It can’t be perfect can it?
This is a perfectly fine set up issue though it serves more as a warning shot than a strong explanation of what’s to come. It sets out to fill the reader on the key characters and going on’s, but it never establishes a dramatic tension due to the lack of a direct conflict. The characters sort of roam around (and Batman is stupidly framed for a crime…in a city that should be aware framing Batman happens every other day) and lose their bearings. It feels like half of a chapter so you feel a bit in the dark.
Batman + purple = yes!
Is It Good?
A perfectly fine first issue of a new story arc that should push this team to its limits. Tynion makes it clear Batman and his crew may not be ready for what comes next, which could spell a big loss for our heroes.