Batman: Detective Comics #1069 – Ram V, Simon Spurrier, Writers; Dexter Soy, Stefano Raffaele, Miguel Mendonca, Caspar Wijingaard, Artists; Adriano Lucas, Colorist
Ray – 9.5/10
Ray: Ram V has been building his Detective Comics run slowly, with a simmering plot of Batman going up against something even he might not be able to beat—an ancient, powerful family looking to reclaim Gotham, and armed with more money, power, and killer instinct than he could ever hope to have. The Orghams are compelling villains, but they often feel shrouded as the story focuses more on their impact—and how they’re slowly ripping apart Gotham from within. We’ve seen Mr. Freeze driven even further down the rabbit hole by them, and Two-Face slowly forming an odd partnership with Harvey Dent to save Batman—a deal with terms, as he makes clear to Bruce in the opening pages of the issue.
Dexter Soy takes over as lead artist for this issue, with some brilliant double-page spreads early on. But the best scenes of the issue might come in an intimate scene later, as a critically wounded Batman is once again patched up by Gordon, and the two aging men converse with a closed door between them about how long Batman can keep doing this—and whether he should keep pushing himself into the grave. Ram V might be one of the few writers who can manage to infuse a sense of urgency and uncertainty into stories featuring the world’s top superhero. I was also very happy to see the return of Shoes, a character Ram introduced in Catwoman—and whose secret identity promises to be a major part of upcoming DCU storylines.
Then there’s the Spurrier/Wijingaard backup, which takes us back to Mr. Freeze’s underground lair as he experiments on “perfecting” the cryogenic process he used on Nora. The story is told from the perspective of an unfortunate middle-aged woman who was captured for the experiment, as she aimlessly tries to convince Freeze to free her before being put under—but as she slips into the cold, she’s greeted by a horrifying surprise. Wijingaard’s surrealist art, recently seen on the horror book Home Sick Pilots, is a perfect fit for the eerie story.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.