Thursday, April 7, 2016

Detective Comics #51 Review


Written by: Peter Tomasi
Art by: Fernando Pasarin, Matt Ryan, Chris Sotomayor and Wes Abbott
Cover Price: $3.99
Release date: April 6, 2016

Peter Tomasi is a lot of things...great dancer, snazzy dresser, but most of all, he is a team player.  In a business where you are your own brand, he has bitten the bullet and let at least two of his stories get squashed and derailed and has not complained at all.  To his credit, he still managed to make those stories very readable , but I am left wondering about what could have been.  Oh well, at least he gets two more issues to leave on a good note and go off to more Supermany (Man of Steely?) pastures. So, is this the start of an exciting and thrilling goodbye?  Let's find out...

The issue opens up with an unknown figure desperately running from something or someone before we see Jim Gordon buying some groceries and without really knowing the exact timeframe of this story, the interaction between Jim and the clerk felt a little off.  It's not a big thing, but it did make me look back to see if I missed a designation of when this story is taking place.  There isn't one.

While we don't know exactly when it was taking place, we learn that what is going on stems from something in Jim's past as the frightened man from the opener is an old marine buddy of Gordon's and has come to warn him about something that happened in both their pasts...something that has come back to haunt everyone involved. I'm sorry if I am coming off as vague, but Tomasi is purposely keeping things close to the chest for now. The scene ends up pretty gruesome, reminded me a bit of the Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword and had a guy biting down on something (please make it a false tooth) and dying in a frothy mess. That's a win, win, win in my book!

Besides the little chit chat with the store clerk, this beginning sucked me in mainly because we are getting Jim Gordon completely void of Batman.  Unfortunately, that isn't going to last and is one of my biggest complaints with this story.

With his past suddenly coming back at him, Gordon takes it on headfirst as he travels back to Afghanistan and while a couple things seemed rushed and or forced (how he is even allowed back and the overuse of generic marine lingo to name a few), Tomasi only has a couple of issues to tell his story and has to be looking over his shoulder just waiting for word that it has been shortened. 

We continue as Gordon meets with some marines who know about what is going on (and a new guy who I don't trust one bit) and  we get a little more information, but Gordon wants he puts on the Batsuit and goes to work.  Goddammit!  I know that timing is something that can't fully be controlled in the comics industry, but like they say, "timing is everything".  With Batman #50 already behind us and Bruce back as Batman, seeing Gordon in the suit just feels wrong.  It makes it worse that it doesn't really feel necessary. He does find out some information that pushes the story forward, but it still upset me.

While Tomasi is still being coy about what all this is about, Gordon finds out how deep it runs or at least who else is involved.  It's not just the Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword  Amun-Set who wants Gordon dead, but someone even closer.  I know this was supposed to be a shocking reveal, but it kind of fell flat since we really haven't had much interaction with the person involved.  It's okay, because he ends up with a boot to the face courtesy of Gordon and we move along.

We do see him again a page later as Gordon treats him like George McFly ("Silence, Earthling! My name is Darth Vader. I am an extra-terrestrial from the planet Vulcan!") and with his "cooperation", Gordon heads out into the desert.  After some more Batman stuff, the cliffhanger gives us a glimpse at the past and what happened to cause all this hoopla.

I'll say it one more time...everything Batman through me off in this issue.  I know it shouldn't have, but it did.  Beyond that, though, this issue is just setup for next month's finale and while I really liked the mystery of it, most of what pushed it forward was just Gordon in the Batsuit and not much more.  Hopefully, now that we are a little more up to speed after the cliffhanger, Tomasi jumps right into it next month and we get an exciting conclusion.  It just worries me that Gordon made it clear what he's wearing under his military duds.

I really liked Fernando Pasarin's art in this entire issue and while most of it takes place in the drab desert, him ans colorist, Chris Sotomayor, get a couple of chances to kick some ass and they take the chance and run with it.  It doesn't hurt my excitement level that the last couple pages were my favorites.

Bits and Pieces:

While this is hardly a throwaway issue to keep pace until Rebirth hits, it was just a setup issue for next month's finale.  I love the idea of having an actual mystery in Detective Comics and it's a pretty good one, but the timing of it is off and the character of Jim Gordon suffers a bit because of it. Fernando Pasarin and the art team do a kick ass job and even with my complaints, I'm interested in how it all turns out.  



  1. I actually really liked this story a lot so far. Everything about it was great except the usage of the Batman stuff which really wasn't needed. It definetly takes place before Batman 50 for sure with Jim using the Bat suits and Daryl helping out its just strange they release it now.

    Tomasi on Detective with the horror vibe I kind of dig. I don't need every Bat story to have world changing stakes and I like the last 4 or 5 issues he's done what he's wanted with.

    1. i get that it takes place before, but with the fact that it's not really needed at all (and feels like a crutch), I wish they kept the Batman stuff out. I did like the horror vibe and thought the art was awesome...but it really was all setup with little real info until the last couple of pages. It is a mystery, though, so that can be expected as well.

  2. I'm really enjoying this story so far. I am going to miss Mr. Tomasi on this book when his run is over next month.