Batman: Detective Comics #987 – Bryan Hill, Writer; Miguel Mendonca, Penciller; Diana Egea, Inker; Adriano Lucas, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: The final issue of Bryan Hill’s short Detective Comics run delivers the goods, as Hill both closes out his narrative and sets up some future adventures that will be happening in a yet-to-be-announced title. It’s kind of surprising just how much this issue begins like this issue’s other Batman book, Batman: Kings of Fear. Both begin with an African-American security guard being held hostage by the deranged villain to lure Batman out of hiding, but Hill’s book gives the man more humanity and has a better fate in mind for him. Batman is working behind the scenes, coaching his allies and new associates Black Lightning and Katana on the bigger villain behind Karma’s plot – the Markovian weapons dealer Martina Dementieva. She’s the one who provided Karma with his mysterious helmet, and it all ties back to the mysterious files Amanda Waller downloaded from Brainiac’s brain before accidentally blowing him up in the recent event. Per Batman’s files, there’s hundreds of potential threats like this around the globe.
Once Batman arrives to take on Karma, the issue kicks into high gear. Karma is an utterly ruthless and brutal villain, but Batman can’t get away from the fact that he helped create him – in a moment of rage at Fleet Delmar’s actions, he allowed his mind and body to be scarred. Hill seems to have a good balance between the idea that Batman keeps Gotham safe and the idea that Batman creates villains – his Batman is fully aware that in some ways this is a senseless battle that will never end, but he keeps on fighting it for the little victories. Hill is a great Batfamily writer and a great Batman writer, but his handle on Black Lightning may be better than any of those. There’s a fantastic balance of a hardened, mature hero with a compassionate person who can reach out to anyone, even an intimidating veteran vigilante like Batman. The fact that this series is spinning out into an Outsiders series is probably the worst secret in the DCU, but we get an advance look at its likely roster and a great Superman cameo. I’m not sure what’s coming next for this title, but I can’t wait to see what Hill does next for DC.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.