Review – Batman: Detective Comics Annual #3: Old Spies Never Die

Comic Books DC This Week
Detective Comics Annual #3
Batman: Detective Comics Annual #3 cover, via DC Comics.

Batman: Detective Comics Annual #3 – Peter J. Tomasi, Writer; Sumit Kumar, Eduardo Risso, Artists; Romulo Fajardo Jr., Colorist

Ratings:

Ray – 9/10

Ray: Batman: Detective Comics Annual #3 is all about the relationship between Alfred and Bruce Wayne.

The death of Alfred Pennyworth is not a storyline I’m happy DC has decided to go with, but I can’t say that the execution so far hasn’t been excellent.

More fallout will be explored in the upcoming Pennyworth RIP one-shot, but so far the most in-depth look has been in Detective Comics Annual #3 by Pete Tomasi and a pair of artists. It smartly looks forward by looking back at the life Alfred lived before he has Bruce’s father and partner in protective Gotham. His time as a Member of MI-6 has been explored before, particularly when Scott Snyder and his partners on Batman: Eternal brought Julia Pennyworth back into canon. This issue introduces a new player in that era, Marigold Sinclair – Alfred’s spy handler and apparently part-time lover. The issue kicks off with a tense James Bond-inspired escape as Alfred steals documents from a fake American city deep in Soviet territory and is extracted in a series of daring stunts.

Spies abroad. Via DC Comics.

In the present day, Bruce has let the Manor slip into a state of disrepair – a physical manifestation of his mental despair – when he’s surprised by a visit from a much older Marigold, who needs his help to clear up one of the loose ends from Alfred’s spy history and apprehend a traitor.

The second half of the main story is more of a traditional spy caper, as Batman and his new partner take on an enhanced Soviet super-killer and a scheming traitor. But Sumit Kumar’s art is perfect for the story, and the issue adds some great context to Alfred’s past and potentially a new supporting character and ally for Bruce’s mission.

The backup, drawn by Eduardo Risso, may be even better. It’s a day-by-day look at Bruce’s first week as Batman, through Alfred’s eyes as told in a series of letters to Marigold. As a tribute to Alfred, it’s an expertly done issue. It also serves as a reminder of how many layers there were to one of comics’ best supporting character that can’t be expanded on anymore now that he’s gone.

Well, for now. It is comics.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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