Batman: Detective Comics #1046 – Mariko Tamaki, Stephanie Phillips, Writers; Dan Mora, David Lapham, Artist; Jordie Bellaire, Trish Mulvihill, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: It’s the beginning of the end in Gotham as some of his allies start to ask the question—what is Gotham going to be like without Batman? We already know he’s heading abroad while his Robins and other agents pick up the slack, but in many ways he’s already gone. As Spoiler, Batwoman, and Huntress discuss, he hasn’t really been plugged into the city since the end of Fear State, and the city is in flux in other ways. With the new Arkham Tower rising and Blackgate picking up the slack, other escaped maniacs are wreaking havoc around the city. This issue’s starring psycho is Ana Vulsion, a knife-crazed serial killer who managed to get off on a technicality and is out hunting again—with the help of a mysterious benefactor.
Is someone trying to get Gotham’s worst out on the streets again? That’s a larger mystery that will no doubt be explored in the upcoming Shadow of the Bat event. But this issue is on a smaller scale, as some of Batman’s allies discuss whether he’s even up to the task of protecting Gotham anymore. Batman has his own plans—but they may not involve him stepping back into his old role. His secret alliance with Chase Meridian is one of the most interesting parts of this run so far. Also intriguing? Mayor Nanako as he tries to find a new footing since his plans blew up in his face—but he’s facing a crisis at home too. Grounded in characters like Nanako and Deb Donovan, it’s an intriguing run and this feels like the calm before the storm.
The Stephanie Phillips/David Lapham backup is a winner as well, as Batman, Harley, and a surprise guest in the new Arkham Tower battle to survive a construction collapse. But the bigger issue of whether Arkham should continue to exist in any form isn’t resolved yet, and this story sometimes takes on the tone of a morality play. It’s often a bit surreal, where you’re not exactly clear what’s happening and whose perception is altered, but it ends with a compelling look forward at what the future of Arkham could be. Of course, we’ve seen those promises before.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.