Detective Comics Rebirth #934
STORY : James Tynion IV
ART : Eddy Barrows (pencils), Ever Ferreire (inks) & Adriano Lucas (colours)
Gotham City. A huge, bustling city with massively high-highs and dark and terrible lows – a city with what often feels like an inordinate amount of vigilantes and villains. Over the years the cast of Gothams heroes has been pretty large and at times unwieldy. This is something that was even bigger recently with a gang of “Robins” running around the city and now with Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown/Spoiler back in the fold, there are more still.
I don’t know what the solicited promise of this comic was because I tried to avoid pre-lauch hype and teases that often build things up and can sometimes be a tad misleading. What I found on reading it though, was a book that was something I could possibly enjoy – we have Batman bringing on Batwoman/Kate Kane as a partner (something I’m kicked about because she’s been a favourite character in DC for some time now) and together they are going to train the two young women above as well as (surprise, surprise!!) Basil Karlo, a.k.a., Clayface(?).
Tynion for me has been a mostly good but somewhat hit and miss writer at DC, this book is more promising than some his other recent output. The tone of the two leads, Batman and Batwoman, came across well as did their dynamic – that they have history and are trying to genuinely be partners, came through well. In addition, Kates military history and how that will play into her new role as trainer for the young heroes is something I look forward to seeing. Even the inclusion of Clayface is a cool choice, because the actor-accidentally-super-villained version of the character has always seemed like a tragic tale and one that possibly might lend itself to a great redemption (or at least attempted redemption) story.
The weak point however, is that they’ve chosen to make the reason for doing this be some big danger to Gotham vigilantes. Fair enough, that ups the stakes out the gate and did help make for a nice opening sequence with the original Azrael making a cameo. But perhaps it might have been better to start of with Batman, a strategic thinker and leader, simply realising that there are too many young vigilantes and if you can’t get them to stop and they have potential, train and have some reins on the ones that you can – maybe keep them from getting killed and let them do more good. Wouldn’t that be enough?
Artwise the book was pretty decent – mostly felt like a DC house-style so nothing standing out as such. I did enjoy the colouring though, it was a nice balance of the dark colours and tones that are so much a part of Batman-ish comics, but here there are also nice and vibrant bits that don’t jarr but come across well. In particular I’d like to praise them for the new look for Orphan (a.k.a Cassandra Cain), though we see it only briefly, the look is pretty cool and has an almost androgynous effect that adds something to an otherwise hard to read character.
THE LAST WORD:
A welcome change from the boring and frankly irritating Batman wherein this actually feels like a Batman book. I also liked that it felt like a thinking Batman here, one seeing danger, one seeing purpose and a plan and probably playing cards close to the chest as the wheels in his mind turn over things that no one else has seen yet – basically being The Dark Knight Detective. I prefer that to punchy-fighty Batman who just goes for the violent, aggressive solution.
While this could go either way and I’d have preferred a more character focussed and less mystery-centric story given the nature of things and the large cast involved, for now I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.
STORY SCORE: 7 / 10
ART SCORE: 8 / 10
OVERALL SCORE: 7.5 / 10