Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Detective Comics Annual #3 Review

One Man's Worth

Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist: Sumit Kumar
Colors: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Letters: Tom Napolitano
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: January 29th, 2020

Our Annual story opens up with a flashback of Alfred in his spy days escaping a Ukrainian town made to look like an American one to train Soviet spies. He's stolen something and has been recognized, and he flees in a car while being chased. It's then that he calls Agent H for help, and they send a plane with a rope ladder to extract him from the vehicle while he's driving.

Back to today, Batman is saving a woman and her wheelchair-bound son from an elevator shaft in a burning building. The most refreshing thing about this is that he smiles. He says "They call me Batman. I'm here to help." instead of being grumpy and saying "Hrrrrn. I'm Batman." Then he grabs both of them as the elevator falls, and he instructs the kid to push the button on his belt to use the device that projects them out of the building. When they land he calls the kid a hero and gives him a fist bump, and lets him know that a state of the art wheelchair will be delivered to him by noon. How cool is that? This is the Batman I grew up with.

When he gets back to the Batcave the place is just a mess. With no Alfred to pick the place up and Bruce too depressed and too busy to do anything about it, it just looks like crap. Damian even left him a note in the mansion refrigerator that he needs to buy food. Bruce sits down, closes his eyes, and the light turns on and wakes him up. There's a woman standing there named Marigold Sinclair, who was an agent with Alfred. She goes into their story, and I won't really get into it here, but there was another agent who basically stabbed them in the back and now she needs revenge on him. She makes the move of pretending to not know that Bruce is Batman while making it obvious that she knows, and tells him that this guy is in Ukraine.

So he goes to Ukraine as Batman, meets up with Marigold, and she brings him to that fake American town and tells him that's where this guy is hiding. The city is falling apart since it's been decades since it was abandoned. Bruce tells us a story of how Alfred let him drive in Missouri or whatever. And then an NKVDemon pops up and there's a pretty awesome fight between the two. One great scene is when Batman gets the gun off of him and crouches to the ground and commands "Here, boy", but he comes at full speed and knocks Batman into the wall and knocks him out.

When Bats wakes up we finally meet this traitor who chose the Soviets over the S.I.S. While he's monologuing, Marigold shoots him on the arm and he sicks his demon on her, but Batman uses a chain to pull him back. He then jumps over a pipe and uses the pull to smash his body into it and take him out. Defeated, the former agent explains why he defected. But after this, in the end, we see Bruce cleaning up Wayne Manor. "It's time to start taking care of yourself and your home." While he's doing that, he suddenly notices Marigold in a chair reading a book in the library, and he even mentions that he spends a lot of money on home security. It's then that she shows him a book with pictures from the life of Alfred Pennyworth, and they look at it together.

Bits and Pieces

We get a Batman who cares and talks once again. And it's a nice one-shot tribute to Alfred. What he used to do, what he left unfinished, and what his absence means to Bruce now. Really, it's how Alfred gave up his career and left that thing unfinished because he felt a sense of responsibility to an orphan named Bruce. So, yeah, I get it. But the things beyond that or the specifics of that just didn't hit with me. Yet I do realize that this is an Annual, and sometimes that means it’s isolated one-shot issues that you just need to relax about and enjoy. Seriously though, the art is fantastic. I love how Batman is drawn and the color schemes throughout this entire issue. So my gut rating is really all about the power of a few character moments and the art.



  1. When the mother in the beginning says she thought Batman was a myth was anybody else thinking "the late 90s called they want their continuity back"? I'm pretty sure Batman's existence is public knowledge in current continuity. Never understood that whole urban legend concept back in the day.