Cover by Jason Fabok
Written by John Layman
Art by Andy Clarke & Jason Fabok
Colours by Blond & Emilio Lopez
BEWARE OF SPOILERS!
‘Detective Comics’ is going through something of a creative surge right now which has brought us the Wrath arc. The Bat-verse has been plagued by massive story arcs featuring villains who have sprawled across various titles so following on from the Court of Owls, Leviathan and The Jokers return in ‘Death of the Family’ it’s an interesting change of pace to have Batman face of against a formidable but not all-encompassing villain.
Interestingly the cover art for ‘Detective Comics’ has really pulled itself up from the generic to the striking. Concerns have been noted about the design of Wrath with many comparing his look to that of the Talons. It’s true that there are likenesses between the costumes Wrath is growing into a unique villain.
Issue #23 focusses a little more on the origins of Wrath with the opening prologue before launching in to a Bruce Wayne fronted detective story. Actually it’s almost an Alfred and Bruce buddy movie.
Aside from the ‘Year Zero’ story that’s taking place in the ‘Batman’ series Bruce (and to a lesser degree Alfred) have been forced a little in to the background of late. Here we get a story that takes place mainly during the day and without a Bat-costume in sight.
Layman is writing a solid story month-by-month which is now pushing this title in to the kind of territory where readers are rushing to pick-up copies and anxiously awaiting the next chapter. There’s a difference between buying a comic each month and suffering through the time between release dates.
Often casual fans will complain about market saturation for heroes like Superman and Batman who headline not just their own titles but others which essentially tell the same kinds of stories but under a different banner. What I often tell my friends is to think about what kinds of Batman stories they want to read and then decide which title would be the one for them.
‘Detective Comics’ is for the big action fans, the fans who enjoy the movies for the stories that they tell and not necessarily for the pure character moments and the arc is providing all of the action in spades whilst containing the small character moments that more hardcore fans thrive on.
Jason Fabok’s artwork is brilliant as always. The characters facial expressions are some of the most detailed we’ve seen in a long time. His characters are able to express a deeper level of emotion than some of the more cartoon style comics currently out there. At the same time he is also able to bring a level of scope to the comics that reminds the reader about the world these characters inhabit. In this issue keep your eyes peeled for the moment Alfred makes a startling discovery.
The back-up story ‘Marital Abyss’ is less of a Man-Bat story and more of a She-Bat story. Although it ends with a ‘to be continued’ moment it’s actually a well round story that does come to a complete ending.
Often I find myself skipping over back-up stories in comics because they’re simply a different angle of the main story or almost act as a prologue. This is (currently) not related to the main story and so it’s a great addition to the comic that I think adds more value for money.