Batman: Detective Comics #990 – James Robinson, Writer; Stephen Segovia, Artist; Ivan Plascencia, Allen Passalaqua, Colorists
Ray – 7/10
Corrina: Dialogue Is Odd
Ray: Filling in between Bryan Hill’s backdoor pilot for Batman and the Outsiders and Pete Tomasi’s launch of the next big run, James Robinson’s Two-Face-centric issue continues to unfold. It delivers dramatic action, but relatively little else. As the issue opens, Batman has found Two-Face and a big shootout begins as Two-Face’s goons attack. Stephen Segovia’s art is good, and really captures the horror of Two-Face’s face – this is not one of the watered-down versions – but the dialogue is more than a bit wonky. Robinson’s Batman is overly familiar, almost sarcastic at times. Maybe it’s because Bruce and Harvey used to be such good friends, but it still feels somewhat out of character. There are explosions, followed by a quick getaway for Two-Face, and then Bruce retreats back to the Manor to compare notes with Duke. This is the issue’s best segment, showing Batman out of costume and interacting with his proteges like a normal person.
In case we had forgotten about Kobra, they’re still lurking around the city plotting terror attacks, and they seem to be the root of this whole mystery. Their attacks become much more brazen when they cut the power at the GCPD headquarters, following by launching a full-on assault on the officers inside. It would have turned into a complete massacre – if it wasn’t for Two-Face arriving and firing back against the Kobra terrorists. This is the kind of unpredictability that always makes Two-Face work as a villain – there’s something decent and human buried down deep inside him, but the villain always seems to creep back to the surface eventually. Even Batman expresses his doubts as to whether he can be saved in this issue, but by the end of the issue he and Two-Face have formed a temporary truce to take on the bigger villain. The issue looks good and is a fast, exciting read, but there’s just very little substance here. It lacks the nuance of Robinson’s last Batman arc.
Corrina: Oh, the GCPD is getting massacred in their own offices? Must be Tuesday.
That’s basically how I feel about the whole story. It has all the familiar elements I love in Gotham stories but they’re put together in odd or predictable ways, leaching away any of the emotion that might result from the massacre or the confrontation between Batman and Two-Face.
For instance, Harvey Bullock is in the middle of the massacre, and he’s using black humor to cope, which could work, but instead, it comes across as indifference to his fellow officers being killed.
Similarly, Batman’s overly familiar dialogue with Two-Face, where it’s almost like he’s trading quips with Harvey Dent, comes across as strange, rather than tense.
Reading this is like listening to a favorite song where everyone is slightly out of tune.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.