Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Detective Comics #973 Review

The Beginning of the End of the Beginning

Written by: James Tynion IV
Art by: Jesus Merino, Jason Wright, and Sal Cipriano
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: January 24, 2018

The time is coming for James Tynion to decide if Clayface is going to be a villain or hero.  I am still holding out hope for hero, but even if that's not the case, I will give Tynion credit...he has evolved the character from just being a cliffhanger doppelganger.  You know, when you end an issue thinking Jim Gordon has been killed and the next issue it's revealed to be Clayface.  I hate that!  So, at least if he moves back to the other side of the tracks, he has some more abilities for writers to use.  I am getting ahead of myself here and go back to the question, Hero or Villain?  Well, let's find out if we get an answer this week...

The issue opens with a flashback that may be a bit of revisionist history (Tim hinting to Batman about hanging it up), but also gives readers a tiny bit more of an explanation of that excess clay used in the mudroom and why it's a problem for Clayface.  A BIG PROBLEM!  Big like the Kaiju Clayface ripping through Gotham!

We get a quick assessment of the team...Tim has a concussion, Steph is still a righteous jerk, before seeing that the First Victim has set up everything to convince the world that Batman is a monster.  I know that is nothing new, but we fully see the lengths he will go to prove it.  Not only does the reader see this, but so does Lonnie and it's not the type of thing he wants to be involved with.

The rest of the issue boils down to Batman trying to lore Clayface to Monstertown while Cass goes to get the cure from Dr. October.  We also get our normal quick guest appearance from Azrael and Luke, the redemption of Anarky and a confusing moment with the Batmobile.  It all leads to Cass trying to cure Clayface, but in the end, the monster remains...but what monster?  I am not going to get too upset at the cliffhanger yet, but what it means to the team (especially with all the setup since the Tim of Tomorrow showed up) is the most interesting thing going forward.

This is a very quick moving issue that read like an action movie on the page.  There are a bunch of full-page spreads where Jesus Merino gets to spread his artistic wings and also ups the tension with how fast a read it was.  Until the last page, everything went pretty much the way I expected it and even if the final shot was telegraphed for a while now, it was still rightfully shocking to see.  Overall, I had a pretty good time reading this and while it felt more like a setup issue than a finale, that's kind of par for the course with this book and many others in Rebirth.  If you expected answers about the First Victim or Clayface, you may be disappointed.

Bits and Pieces:

James Tynion ups the action level to eleven for this issue, but I expected more answers in this finale.  The art was really good and I recommend it to anybody already reading it...I just wish we could put a pin in this First Victim stuff and move on to something more interesting.



  1. Then maybe you can, I don’t know, break it apart, put it back together in a way that’s not lethal.

  2. I can't believe that utility belt actually has some utility! It can be used for hammers and stuff.