Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Detective Comics #1

For long-time comic fans, the term "reboot" can mean anythings. It can mean anything from a slight rejiggering of a character's history up to a complete slaughter of continuity, starting completely from scratch. So while Superman is getting the year zero treatment over in "Action Comics", Batman is only getting a bit of a resurfacing. In that vein, DC decided to keep writer/artist Tony Daniel working on a Batman ongoing series, and handed the "Detective Comics" relaunch over to him.

Daniel goes straight to the DC treasure chest, and busts out a Batman versus Joker story. It's fairly by the numbers, with Joker in-hiding after his 800th or so escape from Arhkam Asylum. As I said before, this is a slightly reupholstered couch, so Batman is no longer on great terms with the Police Department. They trip over each other as they hunt for the Joker, which is a pretty hard conceit to get over, even in the realm of superpowered fiction. A direct quote from Batman in this issue establishes that the Joker has killed over 1400 people in the past six years. You'd think that would encourage the GCPD to be open to a little extra help when catching the Joker, but Daniel disagrees. This is one of many thoughtless little mistakes Daniel makes throughout. Whether it's having Batman say to himself, in a narration box, "I'm Batman" or the scene where it's unclear if Batman's butler is a real person or a hologram, Daniel just couldn't assemble a proper story.

As I mentioned before, Daniel both wrote and drew this issue. His pencils are a bit better than his script, with no major flaws. He doesn't have to take the blame for Batman's new and over-designed suit, though it is pretty bad.

Will I buy the next issue: Nope. Nothing compelling here.

New reader friendly: Understandable enough, not that there's anything great to be discovered.

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