Review — ‘Batman: Detective Comics’ #1022: Acid Test

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Detective Comics #1022 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Batman: Detective Comics #1022 – Peter J. Tomasi, Writer; Brad Walker, Penciller; Andrew Hennessy, Inker; Brad Anderson, Colorist

Ray – 7/10

Ray: This title left off right after beginning a new storyline, which pitted Batman against an increasingly unstable Two-Face who had scarred the entire side of his body. It’s the latest in a series of self-mutilations by Harvey Dent, and now he has possession of a cult dedicated to scarring and terror attacks. The issue begins with an elaborate and strong action segment as Two-Face tries to dip Batman into acid to make him the same as him, and Batman escapes creating a flood of acid. After helping the various goons survive, Batman sees Two-Face get away and is set off on a quest to figure out what turned his former friend that much crazier. This is surprisingly an extended flashback to the early New 52 era, featuring the return of faceless Joker. I’m not sure why this odd period of Batman comics is being brought back into prominence, but it does emphasize just how long and consistently Tomasi has been writing these characters.

Acid bath. Via DC Comics.

The problem with this arc is that it relies heavily on visual shocks and doesn’t really give us a firm idea for what’s driven Harvey Dent to this point. We know he’s unstable, brain-damaged, and traumatized from “City of Bane,” but it’s an escalation without a purpose. He’s behaving more like Ra’s Al Ghul than Two-Face, and it’s yet another attempt to get high-stakes storylines out of a villain who’s always worked better as one of Batman’s more sympathetic and pragmatic foes. The reveal of how he’s recruiting his minions is creepy, but the most effective segment of the issue comes in the epilogue, as Joker continues to set up his next big move by potentially cutting a deal with a far more dangerous and far older villain than Two-Face. This title has always suffered a bit from the problem that its stories are usually side stories to the main Bat-stories in other titles.

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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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