Review – Batman: Detective Comics #1039 – Vile Doings

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Detective Comics #1039 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Batman: Detective Comics #1039 – Mariko Tamaki, Writer; Viktor Bogdanovic, Artist; Daniel Henriques, Norm Rapmund, Inkers; Jordie Bellaire, Colorist; T.Rex, Backup Writer/Artist

Ray – 8/10

Ray: So far, Mariko Tamaki’s run has excelled because of its focus on gritty, street-level Gotham politics. The addition of Mister Worth as a new villain protected by the law and fueled with righteous rage has also had a different dynamic from Batman’s usual battles. What doesn’t work quite as well? The supernatural plot involving the creepy, mysterious Vile—a low-level city employee infected with a parasitic worm that needs to feed and infect others. It’s an odd hard sci-fi plotline that doesn’t fully mesh with Batman’s world and has mostly served to provide some shocking gross-out visuals—and to set the whole plot in motion when the maniac murdered Sarah Worth.

Monsters. Via DC Comics.

This issue puts the alien plotline much more front and center, as we learn exactly how it spreads and we see it hit home close to Batman as one of his allies falls. Worth is still present, but mostly as a spanner in the works—even when facing supernatural horrors, he’s more interested in punishing Batman for crossing him in his pursuit of Bruce Wayne. This story has some interesting shades of the recent Bruce Wayne: Fugitive story from years back, but Bruce seems to be taking a smarter approach than he did back then. The art by Viktor Bogdanovic is nice and creepy, although a little exaggerated from Dan Mora’s brilliant style. It’s a decent story, but not up to the title’s usual standard.

Evil comes to Gotham. via DC Comics.

Then there’s the very odd backup, by writer-artist T.Rex (who I believe is new to DC). This focuses on Vile as he arrives in Gotham and settles into building his power, with flashbacks to his troubled youth. Unlike the main story, this one leans into an old-school horror vibe and gives us some pretty disturbing scenes of him as a murderous child. Rex’s art is excellent, reminding me a little bit of John McCrea, but there’s really no one likable or sympathetic to latch on to, and just about everyone is either a doomed victim or a monster.

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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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