Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Detective Comics Annual #2 Review

Our Past is Prologue

Writer: Peter J. Tomasi

Artists: Travis Moore, Max Raynor, Tamra Bonvillain, Nick Filardi, Rob Leigh
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: May 29, 2019

Review by Joey Casco of

It appears that the Reaper has returned yet again and is killing criminals in Europe, and it's making the news. With the Reaper coming from Batman's own rogue's gallery, and the Reaper also being dead, Batman has got to figure out what the heck is going on. But his encounters with the Reaper were so long ago that he needs to use the "Black Casebook", which is essentially his journal of "unusual and unexplainable adventures" from early in his crime-fighting career, to brush up on him.

So we get Reaper's story. His real name was Judson Caspian, and as the Reaper, he was a crime fighter who killed the criminals when Bruce was a boy. After disappearing for many years, he came back soon after Bruce became Batman. During one of their fights, Judson fell off a building and Bruce was not able to save him.

Bruce and Alfred travel to Crete and meet up with old friend Sophia Zervas. I have no idea who she is but she's pretty awesome; scaring Bruce with her driving and flicking peas at him during dinner. One of my favorite parts of this issue is when a fan runs up and wants Bruce to sign a bunch of magazines he's featured in, and Bruce pays him a grand to not sign any of them.

Sophia: You paid someone a thousand dollars to leave you alone?
Bruce: He's also got a great story about how rich Bruce Wayne is.
Sophia: Debatable.

Later that night Alfred and Bruce set things up to attract the Reaper. Alfred pretends to be drunk and calls attention to some muggers. One of them punches Alfred in the face and suddenly the Reaper is there, kicking their asses. Alfred yells for Batman in Greek, and the two capes go at it until the Reaper is able to escape, leaving his mask behind.

I'm not quite sure how Bruce is able to find the Reapers hideout but I think it's because of signals in the mask he left behind??? Right? Anyways, he goes to an old book store and finds the Reapers hideout in the basement. After Batsy beats him up, it turns out that the Reapers are a whole organization now and this guy is just one of many all across Europe. And this guy is now scared his leader is going to kill him. Who is their leader? Judson Caspian's son, Julian, who gives his story off location on a monitor.

And Julian, planning for revenge against Batman, has created something just for him: basically The Mountain version of the Reaper: THE REAPER PRIME! The dude is huge and the battle is pretty awesome, but after seeing that Reaper Prime is also a freakin suicide bomber strapped with explosives, Batman gets the hell out of there and takes the defeated Reaper with him before the entire building blows up.

Reaper Prime may have killed himself and destroyed that base, and Crete's Reaper is going to be arrested, but it was explained that this is now an organization headed by Julian Caspian. It's probably not the last we'll see from Julian and the Reapers, but it was done in a way that it could be self-contained and forgotten about for a while or forever.

Bits and Pieces

I really liked this annual! There are nice moments between Batman and Gordon, Bruce and Sophia, and ESPECIALLY Bruce and Alfred. It's got action, humor, a villain you actually feel bad for who works for a jerk-face villain out for revenge, and a nicely packaged one-shot story that leaves things open to possibly make a return later. The art is great and the Reaper outfit looks badass as always.


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