Batman: Detective Comics #1035 – Mariko Tamaki, Writer; Dan Mora, Clayton Henry, Artists; Jordie Bellaire, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: The quiet times never last in Gotham, and just as soon as we met Bruce Wayne’s collection of new neighbors, the group is down by one. Sarah Worth, the kind young married woman with a powerful father, disappeared at the end of last issue, and the race is on to find her before it’s too late. Her fate was sort of preordained by solicits, but Tamaki and Mora do an admirable job of building the tension throughout the issue and lead us to the tragic conclusion of Batman’s search—which is then broken by the GCPD arriving and immediately assuming Batman is the culprit. This scene does a great job of depicting Mayor Nanako’s rigged game, with a reckless police force blaming Batman for their own failings.
But they’re not the only people out for blood. By the time the mysterious Mr. Worth shows up, he’s a larger than life figure brimming with rage. It’s hard to tell where his grief ends and his villainous presence begins, but he’s taking the GCPD at its word that Batman was likely Sarah’s killer and the vice grip around the vigilantes of Gotham tightens. The issue has a very down-to-earth vibe, which made the last page’s out-of-nowhere horror swerve all the more surprising. I have no clue where Tamaki is going with that, but so far this is the first Batman run in ages that actually seems concerned with issues like criminal justice and how vigilantes and policing interact. It’s a fascinating run.
The quality stays high with the Huntress backup, with art by Clayton Henry. A slice-of-life story that shows how dangerous life is for ordinary citizens in Gotham, it focuses on Huntress frequently interacting with a woman with an anxiety disorder and a white fluffy cat. Helena tries to help keep the woman safe, but Mary is not easy to help. It builds to a reveal about what made Mary the way she is, followed by a sad but inevitable conclusion that sets Huntress off on a quest for revenge. Tamaki’s Gotham is bleak and inhospitable, maybe more so than past runs that emphasized the city’s gothic horror vibe. While those played up the drama, this Gotham simply chews people up and spits them out—and it’s depressing, but thoroughly compelling.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.