Review – Batman: Detective Comics #992: Bats vs. Kobra

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Detective Comics #992 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Batman: Detective Comics #992 – James Robinson, Writer; Carmine Di Giandomenico, Artist; Ivan Plascencia, Colorist

Ray – 7/10

Ray: The penultimate issue of James Robinson’s “Deface the Face” arc, Detective Comics #992, picks up from last issue’s character-driven focus on the complex relationship between Batman and Two-Face and gives us…a lot of action and shooting. This issue is essentially an issue-long Western standoff between Kobra and the vigilantes of Gotham. As the issue opens, Kobra is descending on the Gotham Museum of National History, as Gordon, Batman, and Two-Face fly in to stop the pending massacre. Kobra arrives only to find the museum empty – and the hero and villain partnership waiting for them. Batman and Two-Face narrate the issue, going back and forth about the best way to deal with the death cult. There’s also a bit of recapping the history of Kobra, which I don’t think anyone was asking for – I find them consistently one of the least interesting villains in the DCU, more a stock evil army than anything.

Carmine Di Giandomenico’s art is the highlight of the issue, effectively capturing the explosions and shootouts of the showdown. There are some cool stunts, such as Two-Face bringing a massive dinosaur skeleton down on the battlefield. But overall, this feels like a very thin issue compared to the last one. The one exception is a great two-page spread featuring the various partnerships of the Bat-family – Katana and Black Lightning, Orphan and Batgirl, Signal and Batwoman, and oddly the two Fireflies, recruited by Two-Face – taking on Kobra minions around Gotham. But before the issue is over, it’s revealed Kobra has a bigger, deadlier plan that threatens to envelop all of Gotham. Overall, this is a quick, enjoyable read that delivers some great action segments, but I’m not really sure the plot overall needed a five-issue storyline. Hopefully, the final issue has some big twists waiting before this creative team takes their bow.

The final battle begins. Via DC Comics.

Corrina: This issue seems to have too much story, such as in the backstory of Cobra and the action sequences we hinted at with the rest of the Bat-Team.

But it also has too little story, with the focus being on Batman’s battle with one aspect of Cobra, with the full plan revealed only after that’s all done. (And after the museum is essentially destroyed, at least one room of it. Jeez, I’d hate to be the one in charge of clean-up.)

I wonder if Robinson had another plan for this, which involved Cobra, and condensed it to include Gotham and Two-Face. It’s hard to tell but, if he did, it would explain the issues with pacing and plotting. Still, this has turned out better than I expected from the opening issue of the arc, which felt all over the place.

It’s also gorgeous to look at, especially the spread page of the battle in the museum, where Di Giandomenico’s art shines by giving us a full-view from above.

Overall, this is a solid story, especially when it focuses on Two-Face, but, alas, it definitely reads like a fill-in, rather than the arc I’d expect leading up to Detective Comics #1,000

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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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