Henry’s Hot-Take: Detective Comics

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Article by Henry Varona.

Order DC Rebirth Detective Comics HERE: http://ow.ly/sMeX30heC6K

In the world of comics, there’re so many sensational titles that sometimes truly fantastic books don’t get enough love! And since love is a really awesome thing, I feel like it’s my responsibility as a lifelong comic book fan to spread the good word about some of my favorite books in comics. Starting this week, you can find my thoughts on the wide-world of comics as I talk about new books, old books, and some just plain awesome things! It’s all right here and it starts right now with the inaugural edition of Henry’s Hot-Take!

The first Batman comic I ever remember reading was the first issue of Hush by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee. I had been a fan of the character for years through his appearances in Batman: The Animated Series and the 90’s live-action movies (Shout-out to Batman Returns) but it was a completely different experience when I jumped into the world of comics. Soon I read through the entire series and found myself diving into storylines like Under the Red Hood and Knightfall. But throughout this journey into the depths of Gotham City, I found myself enjoying the comics that featured the extended Bat-family much more than I did the solo tales. As I grew as a fan I learned that even though I loved tales like The Long Halloween, my favorite version of Batman involved him opening up to other characters. Tim Drake, Dick Grayson, Alfred, Commissioner Gordon, Stephanie Brown, and Kate Kane; these were the characters I truly loved. So why weren’t they regularly featured in Batman?

Art by Eddy Barrows

Flashforward to today and I have found what I consider to be probably my favorite Batman run, the current Detective Comics series by James Tynion IV, Eddy Barrows, Joe Bennett, and many more. I knew there was something special about this book from the first issue. Opening on Azrael, Batman swoops into the scene for only a moment before we’re whisked away across Gotham to meet the rest of the cast. Batwoman, Spoiler, Red Robin (In a new 90’s-inspired suit), Orphan, and Clayface were put on the same level of importance as the big, bad Batman. And that was remarkably refreshing. They are shown to be equally adept heroes and Batwoman even jokes about Batman revealing his identity when she had discovered it long before. I had longed for Batman to feel like a member of the Bat-family instead of just an overlord concerned with keeping a safe distance. He let these heroes into his life and through that, they had an opportunity to grow in their own right.

Art by Alvaro Martinez

Since that first issue, Detective Comics has been an absolute roller coaster of emotion. James Tynion IV has had an amazing grasp on his entire cast of characters, which is no small feat. For my money, James Tynion IV writes my favorite Tim Drake. He’s extremely smart, he’s wildly determined, and he makes mistakes because sometimes he’s a little overzealous. A flawed hero is compelling, especially when his flaws are relatable. This book also does an amazing job with Batwoman and if my above mention wasn’t enough for you, please check out issues 948-949 with co-writer Marguerite Bennett. This two issue arc led into her solo series and it’s an easy highlight of the whole run. Kate is nobody’s pawn. And for quick recommendations based on character, check out 950-955 for Cassandra Cain, 943-947 for both Clayface and Spoiler, and 958-962 for Bruce. I could gush about how each of these stories nails these characters, but you should honestly read them because they’re superb. I won’t even get started on Batwing and Azrael, I’ll be here all day.

Art by Joe Bennett

Beyond that, I have also loved the series for using secondary villains and making them feel like truly top-notch threats. Let’s not mince words here, Joker is more popular than Killer Moth. But honestly, for my money? I want to see Killer Moth more than the Joker. I already have a thousand amazing stories with the Joker, I don’t think I need more. That’s not to say I won’t enjoy them or that a storyline like War of Jokes and Riddles isn’t worthwhile, because that’s simply not true. But when you tell me that I’m going to get a story about Lady Shiva, Ra’s Al Ghul, and the League of Shadows facing off the Bat-family I get way more excited because I haven’t seen that as often. And despite their “lower” statuses, they pose major threats because Batman doesn’t have a plan at the ready for them. When somebody threatens Gotham City and the livelihood of everybody there, it’s a serious threat and Batman has to get creative.

Art by Fernando Blanco

Now, this book wouldn’t be possible without some amazing talent. I’ve spoken about James Tynion IV a bunch here, and he steers the ship as the main writer, with an occasional co-writer like Steve Orlando or Marguerite Bennett, who enhance the story by adding depth to the world. He really is amazing and he’s been working on the Bat-books for about 5 years now (Ever since Talon) and he handles the world with impeccable balance. Dark themes and the threat of death don’t stop this book from being occasionally light-hearted and *gasp* fun. There’re also a wealth of great artists that seamlessly juggle story arcs, creating visual consistency without compromising their own artistic strengths. Eddy Barrows does many of the early stories and handles sorrow very well (Plus he draws an amazing cape). Marcio Takara, Fernando Blanco, and Christian Duce jump on later for some fantastic action choreography with Orphan. Plus there’s Joe Bennett, Alvaro Martinez, and Ben Oliver! With names like this, Detective Comics is one of the prettiest books on the stands.

So yeah, that’s my quick version of what makes this book so amazing. But there’s so much more that I can’t get into otherwise I would be writing an entire thesis. I’ve been reading comics for my whole life and I feel that right now is truly one of the best times in the history of Batman. Detective Comics is so good that I have this much to say and I haven’t even talked about Batman himself yet! How crazy is that?! Needless to say, Batman is phenomenal in this series as well and if you are a Batman fan who enjoys seeing the world of Gotham City expand, you’ll have so much to enjoy here. Starting on Detective Comics 934 and continuing until the most recent issue (970), Detective Comics is a book that makes you fall in love with Batman every day. I wholeheartedly recommend it to fans of the caped crusader, and particularly those who enjoyed Batman: The Animated Series. It is a book you simply cannot miss.

Order DC Rebirth Detective Comics HERE: http://ow.ly/sMeX30heC6K

The views expressed herein are solely those of the writer and not Midtown Comics. Additionally, Midtown Comics makes no representations as to the accuracy of any of the information expressed herein.

Art by Joe Bennett

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