Batman: The Detective #1 – Tom Taylor, Writer; Andy Kubert, Artist; Brad Anderson, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: Tom Taylor has become DC’s king of alternate realities in recent years, with DCeased and his work on the Injustice franchise. Now he turns his eye to Batman, as he becomes the first writer to step on what’s largely become Frank Miller’s turf—Old Man Batman. This Batman isn’t retired or broken down fully yet, but he’s close—and a mystery means it’s time for him to finally leave Gotham. But he’s not the first hero to make their debut in this story. That’s Beryl Hutchinson, aka the Knight of London. Now a full-fledged hero, she’s backed up by a new Squire (the first Squire of color). But she nearly meets her end battling against a group of terrorists that crash a Wayne Air plane—terrorists that notably wear a color-swapped Bat-uniform. This issue opens with a lot of questions that send the melancholy, aged Bruce Wayne across the pond. I was pretty worried at the start that Beryl had just been brought back for the dead, but I should have trusted Taylor a bit more than that.
So how does this first issue shake out? It’s good. Very good. It’s a bit more action-oriented than Taylor’s usual stuff, with some fight sequences reminding me of the choreographed battles in The Batman’s Grave. A fight against a monstrous Gentleman Ghost using a pair of mysterious gloves that come from an unexpected source feels rather out of place in the issue—but is so wildly entertaining that I’m not actually complaining. This Batman, despite being older and embittered, is still one of the more likable versions we’ve seen in a while, especially in his banter with Beryl. I also enjoyed how Taylor once again emphasized Alfred’s influence in Bruce’s life—something that’s a bit of a specialty for him. But the issue goes from good to great in the last page, when Taylor reveals the motivation behind the mysterious Bat-terrorists, and it’s one of the best twists I’ve seen in a while. A perfect mystery for the Dark Knight Detective, and another big win for one of DC’s best.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.