Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Detective Comics #950 Review


Written by: James Tynion IV
Art by: Marcio Takara, Alvaro Martinez, Eddy Barrows and various
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: February 8, 2017

I don't know why this is an anniversary issue, but I guess I'll go with it.  If you really want to know, it feels more like a typical Annual than anything else.  We get three stories all written by James Tynion that set up the book going forward...Cassandra Cain, the League of Shadows and Azrael are all featured.  If you have been reading Detective, then I'm sure you agree that it sounds like a pretty good way to move into the next phase of this book. Sounds good, but is it actually good?  Let's find out...

The issue starts out with Cassandra and after an extended intro that fans (or at least readers ) of Batman and Robin Eternal will probably appreciate, we get an abbreviated look at her origin and past...including some things she still pains over.  We get a little bit of Harper and Cullen (which I like - sorry Dancing Mike!) before heading off to Batman.

The Batman bit was also very brief and felt like just a way to set up Mayor Hady's desire to start helping Gotham after sucking it dry for so many years.  I'm guessing that will play out later, but this story is focused on Cass and we thankfully go right back to her.

After more flashbacks, we see Cass taking down a piece of crap trafficking ring and if Batman didn't show up, it could have gotten real bloody.  He did show, however, and this is where we see exactly how much of a killing machine she really is.  Her body and mind are honed to kill and while that is scary, it makes her an even better character in my mind because she no longer takes it that far. It's also very sad...when you read it, you'll know what I mean.

We then go to the Belfry where Luke gives Clayface a present...a smaller device to change back to Basil.  Sounds great, but there is always a catch and this one is a real Monkey Paw. Clayface is losing his Basil DNA and the more he stays as Basil, the more it burns out.  Man, it sucks being Clayface!

While this is going on, Cassandra looks in on the entire Team (including Azrael) and then the issue wraps around to the beginning theme before showing us the Big Bad whose come to Gotham with a few issues to kill.  It's a character I love and has me pumped for the League of Shadows story.

This story is for all the Cassandra Cain fans...old and new.  If you didn't read Batman and Robin Eternal, this will give you some major points of that story and get you ready for what feels like a book that will finally give us a good dose of Cass.  That has been my biggest complaint with Detective since Rebirth started and I hope this story is just the beginning of fixing that problem.

The next story is all about Azrael and as someone who is a fan from afar, I was so excited for this.  It also includes Batwing as well and that is a-ok to me.  Him and Luke (or as Azrael has to overstate...Lucas) are fighting in the Mud Room and when Azrael takes care of an unwinnable foe, Luke wants to know the secret.

We then get a bit of Azrael and St. Dumas information, but it's all about how Jean-Paul Valley looks at the world and faith...and his kick ass suit that has "Evangelical Artificial Intelligence".  This leads to more information about St. Dumas that leads us to our cliffhanger...which is pretty kickass as well!

While we don't get a full rundown of Azrael's origin, Tynion does show us what makes him tick and putting him with Luke Fox was awesome!  They are the perfect odd couple for this book and I hope that continues.

The final story is a very brief flashback with Tim Drake and Batman.  While it's nice to see Tim again, it all is a forced advertisement for a future story and because of that, I just rolled my eyes.  Thankfully, the first two stories were strong enough to make this just an unwanted bonus for me.

This was a nice oversized issue.  The art was great throughout and the stories do a good job setting up the team and the book going forward into the League of Shadows story and beyond.  I liked the Cassandra story a lot more than the other two and wouldn't have been upset at all if that's all we got here.  Therefore, the Azrael bit was icing on the cake and then there was the final story...  All in all, a good read.

Bits and Pieces:

Though the idea of an "Anniversary Issue" seemed forced, this was a really good way to get readers ready for the League of Shadows story coming up.  Tynion finally focuses on Cassandra, gives us a cool introduction to Azrael (and a great Odd Couple dynamic) and we even get to see Tim a flashback.  Overall, the writing and art were really good and I can recommend this to Detective fans, especially those craving more Cass.



  1. I'm just glad Cassandras getting the proper respect she deserves. Pre-Flashpoint she was a definitive member of the Bat Family. They should just make her Batgirl already and Just make Barbra Oracle. With Barbra teaching her just like Pre-Flashpoint. The moment between her and Bruce felt just like old times. And it's about damn time they addressed that Lady Shiva is her mom. This League of Shadows is probably just a ripoff group of the League of Assasins.

    Side note, personally I've never liked Azreal. But damn this art makes him look like such a boss. To bad he's always written like a rube.

  2. -8.8 Cass could have taken out Harper any number of ways and didn't pull the trigger. What a waste of a great setup.

  3. I liked this a little bit but the Cass stuff felt over extended for me personally since Ive read her "new" orgin previously. This was a giant setup issue for just Detective I guess? This book really is going in 10 different ways then a la those we should not speak of .... Ill whisper it Batman and Robin Eternal!!!!