Batman: Detective Comics #994 – Peter J. Tomasi, Writer; Doug Mahnke, Penciller; Jaime Mendoza, Inker; David Baron, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Putting the Detective Back to Work
Ray: Peter Tomasi has a history on Batman, doing extended runs on Batman and Robin and a short run on the Jim Gordon Batman in Detective Comics title before Rebirth. Now, he’s taking over again as the lead-up to Detective Comics #1000, which will make him the only person to write a main story in both #1000 anniversary issues, for Batman and Superman.
Detective Comics #994 sets up a solid run, bringing the title back to its roots as a detective comic, but it also suffers from its proximity to The Batman Who Laughs #1 – both featuring a very specific story involving a body designed to mimic someone very close to Batman. In this case, it’s a pair of bodies that mimic those of Thomas and Martha Wayne exactly as they were the night they were murdered. As Batman and Gordon investigate, Tomasi does a good job of showing just how deeply this affects Batman even as he tries to hide it. Tomasi’s steely Batman is a good balance between the two extremes.
The second issue, I didn’t think was quite as effective. It feels disconnected from the first half, as it turns the focus to Leslie Thompkins. I think she’s one of the most underrated characters in the Bat-verse, and I’m glad to see her as the focus. (Although it’s still odd to see her de-aged much in the way Gordon was in the New 52) However, the story surrounding her didn’t exactly work for me. Her clinic randomly comes under attack by a mysterious hulking monster that breathes gas and throws Bat-signals. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Leslie in an action scene, so that was a nice change of pace. But the monster seems generic and doesn’t fit with the creepy mystery of the first half. By the end of the issue, we have another cliffhanger that oddly parallels The Batman Who Laughs, but this one sort of comes out of nowhere. There could be a very good run in this title, but I’m not sure which run it wants to be yet.
Corrina: I suspect that perhaps the Batman Who Laughs and this story of the elder Wayne impersonators are connected, hence the similarity. (They could be leading to a big Batman/Joker/Batman-Who-Laughs showdown in #1000, which would make sense.)
And, despite the similarity, it is a solid story, with solid art. Mahnke’s art is sharp and clear, never more so than in the splash page of Batman swinging through Gotham. My one big complaint is spending yet another comic page on the death of Thomas and Martha Wayne. Unlike in this week’s Batman Annual, this page simply shows us what we already know. I’m reminded of the cosplayers who dressed in 1940s period clothing and would fall at the feet of every Batman cosplayer, exclaiming “son!”
And, also, I winced when Batman broke the glass tank at the Aquarium. That is expensive stuff, Bruce! It can’t be easily replaced!
But I enjoyed the story overall, even with the dissonance between the front and back half of the issues, perhaps because it was nice to see Leslie again, especially given how proactive she was, though she’s drunk from the same youth serum as Jim Gordon.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.