Detective Comics #986 Review



A well executed extended action sequence that continually tops itself until its astounding finish.

Karma’s attack on Batman’s psyche (and my continued admirable restraint from making ‘bad karma’ puns) hurtles forward into even more twisted territory.

First Read Reactions

  • Now THAT’s how you put out a Bat Signal.
  • Dang. Never realized how harsh it sounded when someone from Gotham derisively refers to someone as “Metropolis.”
  • No offense to Batman’s leadership skills, but a situation involving multiple child hostages should probably have more clearly defined instructions.
  • I’m sure these kids appreciate the help, but Cassandra Cain’s speech patterns can make even the kindest words sound vaguely menacing sometimes.
  • That said her costume…and her skills…are all types of badass.
  • Holy Sympathetic Villain, Batman!
  • “It’s just emotion. She’ll be fine.”
  • Dang. I thought Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning was hands down the most badass teacher currently on assignment in Gotham, but he just got competition.

The Verdict

Now we’re cooking with gas.

Let’s get the few negatives out of the way first, because although this is a great issue, there were some things that definitely bugged me.

First off, much of how things come together for the big battle/hostage rescue attempt appear to be contingent on two (possibly three) characters doing things they weren’t at all expected/supposed to do. Maybe Batman was counting on that, but if so, it wasn’t terribly obvious. Also, as awesome as Batman’s final move was, I’m not sure I agree with the mental mechanics of how something that calculated could be hidden from Karma.

Those things aside, however, Detective Comics #986 is all types of fun. Bryan Hill (writer) and Philippe Briones do a bang-up job executing an extended action sequence that continually tops itself until its astounding finish. Orphan/Cassandra Cain stands out in particular–if you weren’t a fan of her before, you’ll certainly be now.

Character-wise, I love the dynamic between Gordon and Pierce. It’s clear that even though Pierce’s empathy and interpersonal skills are miles ahead of Bruce Wayne’s, he’s still got an uphill battle on his hands.

What I love even more, however, is how sympathetic Karma seems despite immolating a television reporter and strapping a bunch of kids to a bomb. He truly is Batman’s creation…and his mistake.

Speaking of mistakes, you’re making one yourself if you haven’t put Detective Comics on your pull list yet. Judging from the last page (which I won’t spoil here), the final battle between Batman and Karma is somehow going to top the amazing one we just saw.

Detective Comics #986
Is it good?
Good thing Batman has some badass help, but there's no way he's beating Karma without them.
Hill and Briones choreograph an amazing fight/extraction scene that somehow keeps topping itself right until its astounding conclusion.
Jefferson Pierce and Barbara Gordon will make a great team when they stop fighting with each other.
Karma continues to be one of the most engaging villains you'll see this side of the Joker.
Batman's best move against Karma probably shouldn't have been possible.
Batman's ass getting saved like it was probably shouldn't have been possible, either.
8.5
Great