Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Batman: The Detective #1 - DC Comics

Advertised by its Burbank-based publishers as “an epic tale… that will take Batman on a harrowing, action-packed European adventure”, Tom Taylor’s narrative for Issue One of “Batman: The Detective” certainly seems to deliver the goods with its carousel of high-octane explosions and insanely violent punch-ups. Indeed, there’s arguably a palpable vibe of Frank Miller’s highly entertaining mini-series “The Dark Knight Returns” to this comic’s super-heroic shenanigans, as the Caped Crusader battles seemingly insurmountable odds whilst simultaneously feeling the weight of both his years and exertions; “The pain doesn’t fade like it used to. The muscles, the scars, the memories. They ache. Just under the skin. A lifetime spent fighting.”

To begin with, the book’s army of white-costumed antagonists make it crystal clear straight from the start that they absolutely mean business by arranging for a plane load of innocent passengers to fatally crash on the West Pennine Moors, in Lancashire. This merciless mass-murder is incredibly impactive, and sets a sombre tone for each of the storyline’s subsequent set-pieces - Whether they be Bruce Wayne’s alter-ego and the new Squire facing off against a quartet of gun-toting killers inside London's multi-storey Tower Hospital, or Batman dodging a veritable hail of bullets simply so he can bat-a-rang one of his fleeing assailants and later interrogate the cowardly assassin.

However, perhaps this twenty-six page periodical’s most memorable moment comes when the Dark Knight saves Amina from a misshapen Gentlemen Ghost. Possibly transformed into a grotesque, spectral monster following his gorging upon the 146 passengers who “died here in absolute terror”, James Craddock has debatably never looked more a formidable foe than he does here when he savagely clasps the beating heart of a surprisingly slow-moving cowled vigilante, and disconcertingly perceives the one thing the crime-fighter is truly frightened of.

Packing this publication’s punch-ups with plenty of eye-wincing blows, kicks and bone-breaking impacts, is Andy Kubert, who genuinely helps depict Taylor’s incarnation of Batman as a world-weary champion for justice badly weighed down by his losses and apparent defeats. In addition, the American artist does an outstanding job of illustrating just how insanely vicious a fighter the titular character has needed to become these days whenever he is either outmatched or outnumbered by his younger, stronger opponents.
The regular cover art for "BATMAN: THE DETECTIVE" #1 by Andy Kubert & Brad Anderson

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