Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Detective Comics #1069 Review


Written by: Ram V
Art by: Dexter Soy, Stefano Raffaele, Miguel Mendonća
Colors by: Adriano Lucas
Letters by: Ariana Maher
Cover art by: Evan Cagle (cover A)
Cover price: $4.99
Release date: February 28, 2023

Detective Comics #1069 continues the long road to somewhere as Batman nearly escapes becoming one of the Azmer-enslaved, and Oracle discovers something unique about the earth under Gotham.
Is It Good?

Detective Comics #1069 is the latest entry in Ram V's opus about a fight for the soul of Gotham City, and true to form for Ram V, things happen with an indeterminate consequence. The direction (if there is one) needs to be clarified. Everyone speaks like they're auditioning for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

When last we left the Caped Crusader, he was spirited away by Two-Face to receive medical attention to cure his Azmer infection. Two-Face, for some unexplained reason, thought the Ten-Eyed Man was just the person for the job.

Now, Batman recovers with the help of the Ten-Eyed Man's renowned medical expertise(?), and he seeks out the Gordons for rest, patching up, and information. We learn crime is way down thanks to the Orghams' Azmer-induced mind control, the Orgham tower built atop the land formerly occupied by Arkham Asylum is almost open (even though we don't know what kind of building it is), and Oracle divulges a discovery about Gotham resting atop ley lines that create a rich-yet-mysterious source of power.

That's a lot; to be clear, that's part of the problem with this floundering title. Ram V paints a ponderous picture of important moments that don't appear to have any clear direction or purpose. What do the Orghams want? What is Orgham tower, and why did it need to be built atop the last location of Arkham Asylum? What is Azmer? Why are the Orghams hiring mercenaries to burn down the homes of and kidnap low-income citizens? What's the rush? What do ley lines have to do with any of this?

Ram V gained some infamy for stating he would rather write a 100-issue story that doesn't go anywhere in particular so he could roam and explore the world his imagination created. Unfortunately, after only 8 issues on Detective Comics, Ram V's penchant for decompression makes this run feel like it's gone on for 200 issues, with no end in sight. To say the pacing is horrendous would be an egregious understatement.

Coupled with the glacial pacing is Ram V's secondary penchant for tediously overwritten dialog and narration. There's a scene where Oracle explains her discovery of the ley lines, and she speaks as if she's channeling Stephen Hawking and Arthur C. Clarke all rolled into one. In other words, Oracle sounds nothing like Oracle - another hallmark of Ram V's writing.

Well, at least the art is solid. Soy, Raffaele, and Mendonća compile a respectable collection of visuals that express heavy, dramatic mood, intriguing camera angles, and atmosphere. If you're looking for a comic that looks dark and gritty, the art team nails it.

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.

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Bits and Pieces:

Detective Comics #1069 is another slow, complex, ponderous entry in an arc that appears to need direction or sense of momentum toward an eventual goal. The art is spot-on for a dark, grim thriller, but the glacial pacing and overwritten text need to come together in a story that will hold your interest.


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