Batman: Detective Comics #1037 – Mariko Tamaki, John Ridley, Writers; Viktor Boganovic/Jonathan Glapion, Dustin Nguyen, Karl Mostert, Artists; Jordie Bellaire, John Kalisz, Colorists
Ray – 9.5/10
Ray: Mariko Tamaki continues to deliver one of the smartest Bat-runs in recent memories, as the gritty underbelly of Gotham comes for Bruce Wayne. Sarah Worth’s murderer was exposed last issue, as Nanako’s aide died while under the influence of something supernatural. But this disturbing parasite isn’t only in one body, as it continues to infiltrate Nanako’s inner circle—and claim more lives. That includes someone else close to Bruce Wayne, who is now the #1 suspect since he was seen briefly arguing with the dead woman. And with the increasingly unstable Roland Worth obsessed with finding a suspect, it’s not long before Bruce finds himself being railroaded—with no way of proving his whereabouts without giving away his secret identity.
Locked up and with no way to contact his network, it soon becomes clear to Bruce that he’s never supposed to get a trial, and what began as a legal pickle turns into a pitched battle for survival. Mr. Worth, who has been lurking in the background as a threat, finally goes around the bend in a spectacular conclusion. This is a new kind of villain—someone who might not be seeking to be one, but is willing to break any law and use their power any way they need to in order to get what they want. Bruce isn’t exactly powerless himself, but he’s weaker than he’s ever been—and now he’s up against one of the most untouchable men in Gotham.
These themes of power also play into the first backup, by Tamaki and Karl Mostert, as Bruce’s reporter friend attends a Wayne Foundation gala for a new children’s wing at the hospital. As she reflects on what it will actually take to save Gotham, we learn a little more about Worth’s obsession with his family. It’s an interesting look at Gotham from a civilian’s eyes.
I was surprised to find a second backup, from the elite creative team of John Ridley and Dustin Nguyen. This one focuses on Lucius Fox as he assists Batman and Alfred for the first time since learning Batman’s secret identity. This turns into a fascinating conversation between Lucius and Alfred about what drives Batman and his decision to bring in a Robin—adding some interesting flourishes to Dick Grayson’s origin as well. No surprise it’s a great story with this creative team.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.