Friday, July 3, 2015

Detective Comics #42 Review

Written by: Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul
Art by: Fernando Blanco and Brian Buccellato
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: July 1, 2015

Learning Curve

When the New 52 ended and the DC You was ushered in, nobody was more affected than Batman fans.  Sure, you could argue that Superman had an equally drastic change, but you'd be wrong.  Remember, this is my review so what I say goes!  The whole Bat world has been turned upside down and while this has happened in the past, I think we can all agree that Jim Gordon as RoboBatman is pretty damn drastic.  That being said, I like it.  It's too early for me to say I love it, but I like it.  It's mixed the books up and given the writers something different to play with.  Take this book for instance.  Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul had already been pushing Detective Comics into a more Harvey Bullock-centric story, but this new status quo has put him front and center.  Add in Renee Montoya and we have ourselves the closest thing to Gotham Central than we've had in a long while.  Of course, we still get a heavy dose of Bat Chappie, but it's a more street level version than the main book and I that's one of the reasons this was my favorite Bat book of the first month.  Did that trend continue this month?  Let's find out...

I was going to start this out by saying that I'm already getting tired seeing Jim Gordon's doubts about being Batman, but Brian Buccellato makes sure it's not just lip service.  In the next couple of pages, it is painfully obvious that Jim Gordon and the whole RoboBatman program was not ready for takeoff. The Day of the Dead cosplay gang (La Morte) not only attack Batman, they get very close to ending it all just as it started.  To say they are one step ahead is a severe's more like five.

I really like what Buccellato is doing here.  One of things I was worried about with this new direction of Batman is that we were going to get an unstoppable wrecking machine, but this is furthest from that.  We are seeing the learning curve as it happens and right now, Batman is very vulnerable.  To make matters worse (or better for the story), almost the whole GCPD thinks this Batman is a joke.

Speaking of the GCPD, we get a little more setup to the Circus is in Town story that is obviously going to come to a head in the next couple of issues.  It all leads to more Batman bashing and a really good exchange between Bullock and Renee Montoya.  I mentioned last month that Buccellato writes these two so well and that continues here.  Their discussion is about good and bad cops and choosing sides and while Bullock has always been in the grey area, things look like they're about to change.

We then get my favorite part of the issue.  Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock have a late night (early morning?) talk that might have been quick, but packed so much in so little time.  Seriously, if you want to see how to write dialogue between longtime friends, check this out.  It's just as much about what isn't said than what is.

While this issue isn't action packed, it ends with a long action scene that again shows that the villains of Gotham are ahead of the game.  La Morte is back and seem to know everything about the robot Bat suit.  It's as if the have an inside man (or woman?)  While Bullock and Montoya rush to the scene, Jim Gordon ends the issue by showing off that cool, slick Batsuit he wears inside the robosuit. The way the book ends, that may not be a good thing.

This issue is another step for me loving this new Batman.  Funny thing is, it has little to do with Batman, but the reaction to everyone towards him.  I'm talking the GCPD calling him a joke, the villains knowing all about him and Bullock being caught in the middle of it all.  Speaking of Bullock, Buccellato is slowly peeling away the layers that lead to the explosive event from the sneak peek and I can't wait to see more.  Poor Bullock.

The art in this issue gets the job done.  I know that doesn't sound like a rousing compliment, probably because it isn't.  I am a fan of Fernando Blanco, but the past two issue haven't been his best.  It's not bad, it's just average.  Workman like is how I'd describe it.

Bits and Pieces:

This continues being my favorite book in the Bat Family since the new Batman has hit the scene.  Buccellato is taking it to the streets and the reader gets to watch Batman learn on the job.  Better yet, we get to see the reaction of everyone involved and while it's not pretty, it feels real.  While I hope the art catches up to the story eventually, I'm enjoying what we are getting so far.


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