Detective Comics #1 Review
- Published on Monday, 12 September 2011 13:25
- Written by Kevin
For most of his run on Batman I did enjoy what Tony Daniel was able to do with Dick Grayson under the cowl. Was it ground breaking work? No. But, what Daniel delivered were Batman adventures that I had fun reading. Now, Daniel moves over to Detective Comics to continue his work on the Batman franchise. What is different this time is that he is writing Bruce Wayne back in the cowl. With his previous work on Batman I expect him to continue to deliver a fun Batman comic with Detective Comics #1.
Writer & Artist: Tony Salvador Daniel
Inker: Ryan Winn
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
In the meantime, Joker is in some apartment getting his ass kicked by some guy wearing some person’s skin as a mask. While laughing the Joker is able to bite the guy’s neck. The guy says he is a fan of the Joker. The Joker then gives him his autograph by stabbing the guy repeatedly.
As soon as Batman arrives at the scene, Joker uses one of his bombs to blow up the apartment. As Batman is about to give chase to the Joker, he hears a little girl’s voice asking for help as the apartment burns down.
Batman helps the girl. Just then the GCPD come in and try to take out Batman. Not taking things nicely, Batman makes quick work of most of the cops and escapes as one of the cops gets the little girl to safety.
Batman is able to escape the cops’ sight and heads back to the Batcave. Alfred tells Bruce he missed his date. Bruce tells Alfred to send her an apology present because right now his main worry is the Joker.
He heads out and meets up with Commissioner Gordon. During their meeting, Gordon tells Batman that the mayor does not like him. Batman does not care and ask to talk to the girl he saved. Gordon says that she has already been picked up by her family but she did say that Joker was staying at Roscoe Pharmacy. Batman makes his exit, leaving Gordon in mid-sentence.
As Batman arrives at Roscoe Pharmacy he witnesses the cops arriving before him and setting off one of Joker’s traps that blows’ up the pharmacy.
Over at Gotham Station, the Joker is about to board one of the trains but is stopped by Batman. The two battle inside the train and on top of it. There fight ends up going to the rooftops. Though the Joker puts up a strong fight Batman is able to overpower his nemesis with a powerful kick through a building.
We cut to Arkham Asylum where all of the doctors try to exam Joker but it is no use as he is unconscious from the beating Batman gave him. They leave him locked up in his room.
Later that night, a mysterious figure who the Joker addresses as "Dollmaker" enters the room. The Dollmaker takes out a blade and tells Joker that what he is going to do is going to hurt. This is much to Joker’s delight. Next thing we see is Joker’s face cut off and nailed on the wall. End of issue.
The Good: When it was announced that Detective Comics would be relaunching as part of the new 52 there comes a lot of weight to that statement. Being one of the two biggest books in DC Comics library, Tony Daniel had to hit the ground running. With strong dialogue and solid artwork Daniel did just that with Detective Comics #1.
As with all the first issue in DC Comics new 52 one of the key goals of this issue was for Daniel to deliver a Batman comic that is accessible to all readers. And Daniel did that by writing this issue with the only history a reader needs to know is that Bruce is Batman and is chasing after the Joker. If it was not for one key scene I would say this is the perfect book to give a kid looking to read a Batman book.
Unlike most books in the new 52, Daniel understood that he did not have to do a lot of set-up in this book. When it comes to Batman people who pick up this book know his history and mission statement. This is something Daniel’s clearly understood as he wrote this issue with a strong beginning, middle and an end. At no point did it feel like he was saving something in the story for later. There was a whole story told that also left us with an ending that left me looking forward to what else he has in store for the book.
Having followed Daniel’s transition from just a comic book artist to writer and artist of the Batman books I am happy to see how much progress he has made with his writing. Something Daniel has always been good at has been to deliver a Batman comic that is fun and easy to read. He continued that in this book with how he captured the voices of all the characters involved in this issue.
Daniel’s clearly had fun writing Bruce under the cowl. He wrote Bruce’s version of Batman as a hero that does not take any crap from anyone. Throughout the issue, we saw Batman not waste any time. He is all about getting the job done. Even when talking to two of his closest allies, Alfred and Commissioner Gordon, he only cared about one thing, catching the Joker. This tunnel vision has been something that makes Bruce so successful at what he does and why so many of his fellow superheroes hate him.
At the same time, even with his tunnel vision, it does not mean Bruce is heartless. At the core of the character he is someone that will do anything to save the people of Gotham City. This is something we see as he saves the little girl from the burning building instead of chasing after the Joker. The scene also helped to show that Batman does not trust anyone outside himself to get the job done when he beats the crap out of the GCPD cops.
With this characterization it helps to show how Joker is the opposite side of the same coin. While Batman is focused and all about order the Joker is all about having his own fun by causing chaos and destruction. Even as he was getting a beating early on in the issue he laughed. He does not care about pain, even if he is the one getting it. He actually relish it as he happily laughed when he killed his attacker and when he got his face cut off at the end of the issue. This is what always makes Joker stories fun to read and I cannot wait to see what the aftermath of the last scene is.
It will also be interesting to see who this Dollmaker person really is. We got a short introduction to them at the end of the issue. The only thing that we know is that he seems to have the same sick mind that the Joker has. With the mention of a mysterious organization that Joker was a part of it will be interesting to see what his connections are to that organization, the Joker or even Batman.
With a strong written issue Daniel really invoked Frank Miller’s style of art in his artwork. This issue definitely did not look like Daniel’s previous work. He drew Batman, Commissioner Gordon and most of the characters in this book as if he had The Dark Knight Returns in his head while he drew the issue. The final fight scene between Batman and the Joker was also well choreographed as he gave a great back-and-forth battle in which he let his artwork do the talking.
The Bad: With how strong this issue was I would love to say that this issue can be given to most readers looking to get their first Batman comic. Unfortunately, because Daniel went overboard with the end of the issue this is a comic that you cannot give Detective Comics #1 to a kid. For an issue that was mostly new reader friendly the final scene really pushes this ‘Teen’ rated issue to the ‘Mature’ category.
This is unfortunate because Daniel really did not need to include the final page of the issue. He should have ended the issue with that final black panel at the end of the second-to-last page and it would have been just as good of an ending, if not better. It really is a case were less is more. Daniel seemed to only include the final page because he has been taught in the new school way of thinking in that he has to finish every comic issue with a splash page. It is too bad because when I finished the issue I did not automatically think how strong of a story he wrote but how unnecessary the final page was.
I was also not clear if this book was supposed to take place early on in Batman’s career or in the present. Though Batman mentions that he has been battling the Joker for six years the characters interactions with his supporting cast and the Joker felt like he was early on in his career. Even the mention of the Joker only committing just over a half dozen murders felt small compared to what we know he has done. Hopefully, Daniel clears this up later on because I was a bit confused on if this comic is supposed to be like Action Comics and take place early on in Batman’s career.
Overall: With the amount of pressure Tony Daniel was on with the relaunching of this historic series he was able to deliver a strong issue from beginning to end. Detective Comics #1 is a strong read from with good dialogue and artwork. Daniels treated this issue as his one-shot to bring in new and old readers as he gave us a beginning, middle and end in just one issue. If it was not for the final page I would recommend everyone to pick up this issue. Still, if you’re a Batman fan or are looking for a place to start I would recommend picking up Detective Comics #1.