Well, it isn’t exactly a blockbuster week in terms of quantity, but three is a decent number and the quality is certainly there. The standout title though is clearly Detective Comics.
Detective Comics #875
It’s rare, one would have to think, to be in the midst of an author’s run on a book and realize that you’re reading work that will, in all likelihood, be considered career-defining somewhere down the road. All the same, here we are in Scott Snyder’s run on Detective Comics and that’s exactly what appears to be happening.
It’s been covered in this column for the past few months now, but just to be clear: Commissioner Gordon’s mentally unstable son James has returned to Gotham City, coincidentally (or perhaps not) at the same time that a new criminal regime appears to be taking shape in and control of the underworld. Oddly, despite first appearing in Frank Miller’s seminal “Batman: Year One” (which ran from Batman #404 to #407, almost twenty-five years ago), James Jr. has barely appeared in the intervening years. What is known is that Barbara Gordon considers it a fact that James Jr. is a murderer…and Commissioner Gordon’s thoughts, shown in flashback during the time that this plotline ran as a back-up story, seem to bear out that assertion. This month, bizarre occurrences abound, as a dead whale is found on the floor of one of Gotham’s largest banks.
Prior to his work on Detective, Scott Snyder was known for American Vampire. No slight mean towards his American Vampire writing, but his run on this book has been amazing. A fair complaint could be made that the book seems light on the superheroic side of Batman (or any side of Batman at all, given the strong focus on Gordon), but let’s keep something in mind here: it IS called Detective Comics, so it seems unfair to criticize it for centering on…well, detective work. Snyder’s writing has a pacing and mood that rivals that of the best prose noir writers. Additionally, one would be remiss to leave out Francesco Francavilla’s artwork, which echoes Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli, a gritty, hard-boiled style that owes as much to its sense of color as it does its linework.
If you haven’t been picking up Detective Comics, this month is a great place to start. Just be prepared to track down the back issues of Snyder’s run when you make a trip in next week.
Teen Titans #93
Despite being somewhat historically connected to the Batman franchise (due to the large part Dick Grayson, in both his incarnations, played in popularizing the team in the ‘80s), the modern Teen Titans have been without a representative from Gotham City for some time now, since Tim Drake left to pursue the then-lost Bruce Wayne. However, in the last two months, things have begun to drift back towards the status quo. J. T. Krul’s Teen Titans let a noble experiment play out, allowing Damian Wayne to join the team on a trial basis, at the request of the aforementioned Dick Grayson. When the issue closed, Tim Drake was back where he belongs and Damian was on his way back to Gotham City (ending with an oddly touching moment, where Damian told Grayson that he “already has one friend”).
Now, one would assume that Tim will still be on the team this week. DC, presumably to obfuscate the matter of which Robin elected to remain on the team during the previous story arc, does not have either of Robin on the cover art for the next several months’ worth of issues (although he is hidden in the background of June’s cover). Without any previews online, we’ll have to wait and see. What is certain, however, is that this month’s issue picks up a thread begun in January’s Wonder Girl one-shot. Namely, the involvement of the new hero known as Solstice with the Teen Titans.
Similar to Wonder Girl, Solstice has parents who are globe-trotting archaeologists. In the Wonder Girl one-shot, the two met and teamed up to defeat the rock-creatures of Lady Zand, an event that would have seemed to have little relevance to the overall direction of Teen Titans…until the issue’s closing pages, where Solstice’s parents went missing, leaving the neophyte heroine searching for them alone. This month, the disappearances continue and Wonder Girl’s mother calls in the big guns (well, relatively speaking) for help.
It’s nice to see some payoff on that one-shot from a few months back and the Teen Titans certainly have a history of adopting new young heroes, so it’s quite cool to see Krul playing to that element of the team’s past. The story arc starting with this issue also appears to be substantial in length, running through all of the issues that have been solicited to date (meaning all the way through June, as of right now). And, as a whole, Krul has brought the fun back to the book and elevated the overall quality of the stories being told in it. It’s completely worth your three bucks.
Also out this week is Gotham City Sirens #21 and Batman and Robin: Batman Reborn, collecting the first six issues of Grant Morrison’s run in softcover for the first time.
Next week though? Oh my. We’ve got Batman Beyond…and that’s it.
See you then?