Review – Batman: Detective Comics #1047 – The Rise and Fall of Arkham Tower

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Detective Comics #1047 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Batman: Detective Comics #1047 – Mariko Tamaki, Matthew Rosenberg, Writers; Ivan Reis/Danny Miki, Fernando Blanco, Artists; Brad Anderson, Jordie Bellaire, Colorists

Ray – 9/10

Ray: The next big Bat-event kicks off here with the first chapter of a weekly twelve-part saga in Detective Comics—as Gotham starts to look at what a city without Batman looks like. A big part of that is Arkham Tower, the state-of-the-art new mental hospital overseen by Chase Meridian and run by the mysterious Dr. Wear—a scientist who claims to have a mysterious cure for mental illness that’s turned the violent Nero XIX into a well-adjusted man and has the serial killer Ana Vulsion happily working away in art therapy. It seems too good to be true for Nanako, Deb Donovan, and Kate Kane, and the latter two waste no time investigating the source of the miracle drugs that seem to keep Arkham Tower running.

The tower. Via DC Comics.

And sure enough, the second half of the main story shows that things go south in a hurry—with a tense standoff at a burning Arkham Tower only about a month into its run. A mob of inmates led by Vulsion and a mysterious mastermind have taken over the tower and are threatening to kill hostages unless they get their demands met—including killing off a character I certainly expected to have a longer run. Batwoman and Batgirl (Cass getting her proper title!) are outside the building, Spoiler and Nightwing are trapped inside, and Huntress is missing in action. It’s the perfect violent record scratch to set this storyline off on a high-note, with major stakes and tension through the roof. But seriously, maybe this time Gotham will learn you can’t fix Arkham.

And then there’s the Rosenberg/Blanco backup, House of Wayne, which focuses on a dark story early in Bruce’s career. An innocent young boy is playing with his dinosaur toys when his father runs in—having made the mistake of pissing off the Joker. As the boy hides in a cupboard, he watches his parents brutally murdered and is about to be found as Batman shows up. Blaming both Batman and Joker for the death of his parents, he finds himself thrust into an uncaring Gotham social services system that doesn’t care what happens to a traumatized orphan—and has a shocking final destination in mind for him. Is this the origin story of the villain from the main story? We’ll see, but it’s an intriguing dark start to a mystery.

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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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