Batman: Detective Comics #1043 – Mariko Tamaki, Matthew Rosenberg, Writers; Dan Mora, Darick Robertson, Artists; Jordie Bellaire, Diego Rodriguez, Colorists
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: Fear State comes to Mariko Tamaki’s Gotham, and its target isn’t Batman—it’s Mayor Nanako. The ruthless but ethical politician has been having his doubts about the brutal Magistrate program, especially as Peacekeeper-01 goes rogue. But nothing’s prepared him for what comes next—an armed assault on his office. Whether Simon Saint is actually behind this or not, the assassin calling himself Nero XIX is a brutal figure quoting scripture as he tries to assassinate someone he sees as a threat to his own power. Shootouts are pretty common in comics, but by centering it around a character who is not a superhero and is very vulnerable, Nanako’s escape gains some extra tension.
Of course, when things go from bad to worse, there’s only one thing that can save Nanako—the intervention of Batman. The two of these guardians of Gotham have been on opposite sides, but Batman fully intends to keep Nanako alive and the two make a perilous descent into the sewers. Will it be enough to create a real truce? I’m not sure, but they definitely have a mutual enemy to fight first. I’m not that excited about the return of plot elements relating to Vile, who always felt like a bizarre sci-fi supernatural plot tumor that didn’t fit into the title. He was visually creepy but never really fit into Gotham’s aesthetic. Still, Tamaki’s handling of the characters in this book remains strong as always.
The backup concludes the oddball teamup between Deb Donovan and Jason Todd as they investigate the lead-up to Task Force Z. Red Hood, as always, never knows when to back down from a fight and winds up in a sticky situation, while Deb gets up close and personal with Batman. It’s a good closing chapter, even if it just teases another upcoming book. Deb has added some good energy to this title as well, with it being about time Gotham got an actual competent reporter.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.