Detective Comics #1000 is the second huge milestone in comics that has occurred in just under a year; the other being Action Comics #1000, which brought together many artists and writers in an anthology style celebration of Superman. We get a similar package with Detective Comics #1000 but this time it celebrates Batman. In 96 pages DC Comics reminds us why Batman is one of the greatest superheroes ever created.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
After 80 years, it’s here-the 1,000th issue of DETECTIVE COMICS, the title that literally defines DC! This 96-page issue is stacked with an unbelievable lineup of talent that will take you on a journey through Batman’s past, present and future…plus a sensational epilogue that features the first-ever DC Universe appearance of the deadly Arkham Knight! But who is under the mask? And why do they want Batman dead? The incredible future of Batman adventures begins here!
Why does this matter?
The amount of talent working on this book is astounding. From comic greats like Geoff Johns and Scott Snyder to superstar comic fan and moviemaker Kevin Smith. Brian Michael Bendis, Neal Adams, Kelley Jones, Jim Lee, Paul Dini…seriously if you list everyone off you’re going to get winded.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
By my count, there are 10 stories in this 96-page package. That’s quite a lot and it’s also a sign every story is a snippet of an idea. That puts the onus on the stories to be efficient and very clear. For the most part, all of these stories accomplish that with a focus on Batman’s detective work or an exploration of other characters’ detective work. It’s a celebration of the character that works quite well if you like anthologies or multiple shorter stories. Anyone looking for more of an in canon story that’s meatier can look to the last twelve pages devoted to Peter J. Tomasi and Doug Mahnke’s teaser that will continue in Detective Comics #1001. That gives this issue plenty of purpose and a hell of a fun time for readers just jumping in or longtime readers too.
This issue starts with a story by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo (with inks by Jonathan Glapion, colors by FCO Plascencia) that runs 9 pages. It’s a great story not only because it has two of the most important Batman creators in the last decade writing it, but because it hits at the heart of Batman and his detective work. Snyder leads the character through clue after clue heightening our interest and drawing our attention in. By the end, there’s a twist of sorts that is contemplative and interesting. There’s also a narrative style that puts you in Batman’s head quite well. Capullo gets to draw some fun montages and even a group shot that’ll make you wonder if we’ll get more from the big reveal in a future comic.
Following this is a story by Kevin Smith and Jim Lee (with inks by Scott Williams and colors by Alex Sinclair) introducing a clever idea concerning a man who deals in collectibles — guns Two-Face used and Penguin’s Umbrella, for instance. The story has an interesting ending that’s meaningful to Batman’s origin. I don’t know if it’s in canon, but it’s a clever concept that helps humanize Bruce Wayne a bit.
Following this is a story by Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen (inks by Derek Fridolfs and colors by John Kalisz) that loops in a ton of Batman villains. There’s an interesting hook and I could easily see this being a Batman the Animated Series episode.
Next up is a story by Denny O’Neil and artist Steve Epting (with colors by Elizabeth Breitweiser) that thrusts an old woman into Batman’s night time routine. She somehow knows who he really is and there’s an interesting message about fighting crime his way.
Neal Adams (color sby Dave Stewart) and Christopher Priest focus on a tale with Batman on a detective mission involving ninja types. This one gets into how Batman is a ninja and involves a major villain.
Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev team up again in a big way with a clever Penguin centric story. It takes place at the end of Penguin’s life and reflects on the idea that maybe villains know who Batman really is, but maybe they don’t fess up for…reasons. Maleev’s art is moody and atmospheric that’s so good most will want him on an ongoing Batman yesterday. Bendis has a good handle of Penguin and the captions help draw you in.
Following this is a story by Geoff Johns and Kelley Johns (colors by Michelle Madsen) that is quite an interesting take on the hero. This is some kind of future where Batman has a dog, a daughter with Catwoman, and he’s a bit closer to the end of his career. Jones gets to stretch his legs with some intense horror style images like close-ups of Joker and interesting shadowy panels.
James Tynion IV and Alvaro Martinez-Bueno follow this story up with an interesting philosophical look at Robin and other sidekicks. Batman was created from a dark origin, but the Robin’s come from the light and positivity.
Tony S. Daniel and Joelle Jones collab on a story that basically shines a light on the bright light that is Batman’s sidekicks and family.
This leads to a few pinups by artists like Amanda Conner and Paul Mounts, Mikel Janin, Jason Fabok with Brad Anderson.
Finally, Tomasi and Manke finish off the comic with pinup full-page spreads with captions overlaying and telling a tale. This is the story that will lead directly to #1001.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
Not every story works and it’s unfortunate a few don’t really touch on the detective angle of the character given the title of this work. There’s more of an exploration of Batman and his family in some that seem off the mark especially after the apt first story by Snyder and Capullo. Stories like Johns and Jones’ are interesting but doesn’t really do much since it’s obviously an Elseworlds story.
The final story that will lead to issue #1001 is certainly interesting, but again it seems off the mark. It doesn’t really mix well with the rest of the stories. It’s the opinion and point of view of a character on Batman, which is, of course, slanted and odd. It’s told in a way where you’ll be certain we can’t trust him creating a mystery of who they are, but it doesn’t involve Batman in any way.
Is it good?
A good celebration of Batman with some fabulous detective stories hammering home the unique nature of this historic milestone.