Batman: Detective Comics #1028 – Peter J. Tomasi, Writer; Nicola Scott, Artist; Trish Mulvihill, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: After months of buildup to Joker War, this title takes a break in the aftermath for a strong done-in-one tale that starts to show us what Gotham will look like in the future. When a notoriously corrupt cop is murdered by a headless horseman-like figure wearing the uniform of a mounted police officer, all of Gotham’s luminaries come out for the funeral—Bruce Wayne included. You see a lot of hints to the new status quo—Bruce seems to be out of favor, Bullock is back on the force but he and the mayor barely tolerate each other, and Nanako is lurking around the fringes after losing his eye. This issue does a great job of establishing Batman’s Detective cred again after a long time when he was mainly using more direct tactics. We see him slowly collect evidence from crime scenes and track down a suspect in a way that makes clear he’s every bit the genius he’s supposed to be. His interactions with Bullock are also a highlight at the crime scene, as Bullock tries to keep up appearances in an anti-vigilante environment.
This issue very much takes on a horror tone, with great creepy art by Nicola Scott. One by one, prominent city citizens—a cop, a judge, a prosecutor—find themselves targeted by this ghostly mounted officer as he seeks justice for an old crime. But Batman doesn’t believe in the supernatural, of course, and what he uncovers is much more down to earth—but motivated by the same tragic crime. There is an excellent chase scene to end this issue that shows Batman displaying a good mix of compassion and determination to find justice, but it only harms his image more in Gotham as we see a powerful potential enemy rise wielding a new weapon—public opinion. While this isn’t the main staging ground for big Batman events, Tomasi seems to be setting up an intriguing new status quo. I’m hoping he gets to stick around as DC hits some major upheavals in their comic book lineup in 2021.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.