Review – Batman: Detective Comics 2021 Annual #1 – The Arkham Legacy

Comic Books DC This Week
Batman: Detective Comics 2021 Annual #1 variant cover, via DC Comics,

Batman: Detective Comics 2021 Annual #1 – Mariko Tamaki, Matthew Rosenberg, Writers; David Lapham, Artist; Trish Mulvihill, Lee Loughridge, Colorists

Ray – 9/10

Ray: As one Bat-event ends, another is ramping up. Shadows of the Bat, a weekly event in Detective Comics, will apparently see Bruce Wayne’s time as the guardian of Gotham come to an end by choice. It’s an interesting direction, very different from the last few times he was replaced, and this setup issue by the two creators in charge of the weekly shows how he’s starting to ask some tough questions about his time as Batman. With art by veteran indie cartoonist David Lapham, a flashback shows Bruce’s first encounter with death—with a deranged serial killer nearly killed the Waynes but wound up mortally wounded himself. Thomas Wayne wound up saving the man’s life and taught Bruce a valuable lesson about how you can’t pick your patients, you can only help the people who need you. It’s great to see Thomas Wayne get some actual development that feels very different from the version that’s dominated the DCU recently.

That killer lived, but died in Arkham shortly before A-day. Now, as the Fear State settles and Gotham tries to find a new normal, Bruce and Dick are on the trail of a new maniac who seems to be following in the footsteps of that original. Lapham is great with creepy and disturbing art, and the outfit of this villain is fantastic. But amid the jump scares and chases, there is some great content from the writers about just how badly Gotham has failed its mentally ill and how no one—not the police and not even really the vigilantes—have worked to fix it. I’m intrigued by the setup of this new Arkham Tower, even though we’ve seen plenty of stories where Arkham supposedly gets reformed and quickly sinks back into the morass. Tamaki and Rosenberg particularly have a great handle on Nightwing, who’s a more public figure than Batman and not afraid to ruffle some feathers. Really looking forward to seeing how Gotham continues to change in this new status quo as the story moves forward.

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

GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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