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Detective Comics #959 Review

Last issue, James Tynion IV started the “Intelligence” storyline and the title has more than one meaning. Utilizing Azrael, Tynion is revealing more to this character than we ever knew which includes some rather surprising religious-minded robots. At least I think it’s a robot. Witness Batman, and Zatanna face off against a giant robot with a sword. Rad!

Detective Comics #959
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Alvaro Martinez
Publisher: DC Comics

So what’s it about?

The official summary reads:

“Intelligence” part two! While his team comes to grips with Azrael’s past, Batman is on the trail of the shocking secret he learned at the end of last month’s epic BATMAN/FLASH crossover, “The Button”—and it’s brought him directly to the Mistress of Magic, Zatanna!

Why does this book matter?

On top of Azrael getting some character work, Tynion also appears to be revealing Bruce and Zatanna may have had a relationship in the past. This issue explores that relationship, which started in the land of magic…you guessed it, Las Vegas.

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

Of course Bruce Wayne ends up on the roof.

After this revealing opening, Tynion makes it clear Bruce and Zatanna have had years together we didn’t know about. That includes Bruce learning magic via Zatanna’s father. Intriguing, and that comes with an interesting bit of dialogue as Bruce describes Gotham. It’s clear Tynion is playing with the idea of faith, belief, and the unknown with this story arc and leads the issue with a good intro of these ideas.

Much of the rest of the issue deals with Batman and his crew taking out the giant robot and Clayface and Orphan attempting to learn more about the hairy man that showed up last issue. Both scenes do well to add much needed action and drop a few details on what is going on with the bigger picture. Tynion also explores Zatanna and Batman’s current relationship and ends the issue with a shocking cliffhanger.

Said cliffhanger is shocking, because damn does Alvaro Martinez draw an impressive and grotesque…thing. I won’t spoil it, but the design is straight out of a Benicio del Toro (edit: Guillermo del Toro) flick. The pencils throughout the book are impressive with a healthy dose of double page layouts to allow the panels to stretch out. One great one shows us Batwing’s lab where he’s building some impressive suits. The size and scope on display are pretty epic and relay how awesome Batwing is in a variety of ways. It’s also impressive to see how much humanity Martinez can imbue into Clayface.

Sweet trick…I mean magic!

It can’t be perfect can it?

While the opening is interesting, it does seem to drag on. It’s only three pages, but it doesn’t impart a ton of detail. There’s certainly a feeling of holding back so as to not show all the cards at once which can make the progression feel stunted at times.

Is It Good?

This is a very good comic that reveals new details about Batman’s past and further fleshes out big ideas about faith, belief, and the unknown.

Detective Comics #959
Is it good?
A solid second issue in a new story arc that's quite intriguing.
Very sharp art that implores the double page layout well
Interesting backstory reveals for Zatanna and Batman
What a wicked final page!
Seems to hold back at times not revealing as much as it could/should

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