I decided to continue with the Batman theme this week with a look at DC’s flagship title, Detective Comics #871, which features Dick Grayson in the Bat-costume.
Taking the name “detective” seriously, this issue features Dick Grayson using a futuristic new forensics laboratory to investigate a series of brutal killings that seem to be connected to several of Batman’s major villains. It’s the beginning of a three-part story and the beginning so far delivers on its promise of a good mystery.
This is Batman investigating crime in Gotham with the help of Commissioner Gordon and the GCPD. My favorite type of Batman story.
What the Kids Will Like About It:
Dick Grayson is a fundamentally different person than Bruce Wayne, even though now both of them are wearing the Bat-costume. He’s less defensive, less intense but by no means less effective. Kids familiar with Grayson as Robin from Cartoon Network’s Teen Titans or from Batman: The Brave and The Bold will find this an easy jumping-on point for the Batman books. I wouldn’t recommend it for young readers, as there is some violence and a few deaths, but it’s not overly gory and should be suitable for ages nine and up.
What Parents Will Like About It:
Both the artwork and the story reminded me of classic late 1970s and 1980s Batman tales. There’s a simple, single goal to the story:–find the killer and how he’s obtaining his weapons. Batman still has all his gadgets, including a memorable scene where Dick uses a Bat-taser, but this feels like a no-frills, basic Batman and in a good way. The artwork is very atmospheric. ,Like the best Batman art, it makes Gotham and all its shadows come alive.
This issue also features a short back-up starring Commissioner Gordon that will eventually tie into the conclusion of the mystery. As I said in my earlier post, Gordon is one of my favorite comic characters and I’m glad to see him getting some attention. It looks like this story will be very personal for Gordon and re-introduce a character who’s been floating around in limbo since at least the 1990s.
Bat-taser! Not only for the weapon but for the casual, off-hand way that Grayson uses it.
About the Creators:
Though this is Scott Snyder‘s first story with the regular DC Comics line, he has an impressive resume. He’s the creator of American Vampire for Vertigo Comics, DC’s adult imprint, and his Voodoo Heart collection attracted a number of excellent reviews and won praise from Stephen King.
Jock, the artist with the single name who did the cover and the interior for this issue, has done extensive work for DC, including The Losers, Scalped, and Hellblazer for Vertigo Comics. A quick check of his official website also revealed Tron: Betrayal, and original graphic novel that is a prequel to Tron: Legacy.