Thursday, 5 August 2021

Batman: The Detective #2 - DC Comics

Despite being strangely devoid of any real physical action involving this comic’s titular character, Tom Taylor’s fascinating focus on portraying the Dark Knight as a keen investigator throughout this twenty-two page periodical still deservedly ensured Issue Two of “Batman: The Detective” was the twenty-third best-selling publication during May 2021 – at least according to “Diamond Comic Distributors”. In fact, considering just how well written this short-lived insight into Bruce Wayne’s relationship with his old teacher, Henri Ducard, arguably is, it’s perhaps surprising that this particular instalment concerning the Caped Crusader’s “European Adventure” didn’t sell more copies.

For starters, the Melbourne-born writer’s ability to depict the sheer mercilessness of the Equilibrium and the criminal organisation’s zealous determination to murder any person whom Batman has historically saved, really comes across when its leader decides to kill the utterly naïve Matthew. True, the idiotic minion doesn’t really generate much in the way of sympathy from the audience due to the fact that he had previously attempted to assassinate a bed-ridden Knight in hospital. But even so the goon’s sudden bullet to the head, simply because he would have died if the World’s Greatest Detective “hadn’t caught me” during his escape from the medical institution, is a truly horrifying moment.

Likewise the Australian author is very good at penning the somewhat tense atmosphere created by Wayne meeting up with his old mentor, Ducard, on a Paris-bound train. Both men clearly have a lot of mutual respect for one another. Yet it’s also very evident that Batman doesn’t agree with Henri’s amoral reputation as a killer within the criminal underworld, and as a result is extremely perturbed to accept his assistance; “But if it helps with your ethical conundrum here, just know more people will die without me. Also, I’ve been fully pardoned for all my known crimes.”

Admirably assisting this comic’s storytelling with some eye-catching visuals is Andy Kubert, whose pencils depicting both Matthew’s realisation that his own words have lethally sealed his fate and Ducard’s stunned amazement that he’s not as immortal as he perhaps thought, truly showcase their heightened emotions. In addition, Brad Anderson's colours help provide this book with some highly memorable action sequences, such as the splash page of Batman dangling the doomed Equilibrium stooge from the clock face of Big Ben during a sunset, or the partially-illuminated night-time chase scene between Bruce and Henri across the top of a "TurboTrain à Grande Vitesse" during a torrential downpour.

The regular cover art for "BATMAN: THE DETECTIVE" #2 by Andy Kubert & Brad Anderson

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