Review – Batman: Detective Comics #1045 – Infestation

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Batman: Detective Comics #1045 variant cover,via DC Comics.

Batman: Detective Comics #1045 – Mariko Tamaki, Stephanie Phillips, Writers; Dan Mora, David Lapham, Artists; Jordie Bellaire, Trish Mulvihill, Colorists

Ray – 9/10

Ray: This book has stayed mostly in the early days of Fear State rather than tying into the thick of the event, but it’s managed to create its own compelling narrative. That’s happened mostly through centering Mayor Nanako, one of Tamaki’s original characters, who makes a compelling foil to Batman. That is if he survives—when we last left off, Batman had shocked the parasite out of him with electricity but left him unconscious and possibly dead. Obviously, it wouldn’t be much of a comic if he was dead, so he wakes up quickly, but the two uneasy allies find themselves in a fast-escalating nightmare as it becomes clear just how deep Vile’s infection has gotten in Gotham—in some truly disturbing visuals by Dan Mora.

Don’t touch. Via DC comics.

This is very surreal and horror-oriented for a Bat-comic, but what works better about it than previous issues is the way Tamaki has grounded it in the philosophical debate between these two inherently decent but deeply opposed men. They come out of this issue with a little more common ground—that’s what happens when a vigilante saves your life—but it’s clear that those issues are far from resolved. Most “Superheroes vs. the law” stories just portray the government as fascists trying to target the good guys, and that’s covered with the Magistrate, but Nanako is given a lot more nuance. Tamaki will be staying on this story for a bigger plotline in the coming months as a new Batman waits in the wings, and I’m looking forward to it.

The backup, Arkham Rising, continues to be an intriguing mystery. As Batman investigates the possibly cursed new Arkham Tower and faces off against a worker plagued by madness, he soon winds up seeing disturbing things himself. This may be a little of a retreat due to how much of Fear State was about Batman’s mind being affected, but Phillips manages to build the tension nicely here. The cliffhanger sets up an interesting question about who should truly decide Arkham’s fate, and Lapham’s art is suitably disturbing.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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