Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Detective Comics #1076 Review


Written by: Ram V
Art by: Jason Shawn Alexander
Colors by: Dave Stewart
Letters by: Ariana Maher
Cover art by: Evan Cagle
Cover price: $5.99
Release date: October 31, 2023

Detective Comics #1076 fires a starter pistol in a race for Selina Kyle and Jim Gordon to save Batman from the Orghams before his public execution by hanging.
Is Detective Comics #1076 Good?

Longtime readers may notice an uptick in the cover price of Detective Comics #1076 and wonder why. Well, this comic is more expensive because you get not one, not two, but three backup stories for your reading enjoyment. Whether or not you actually enjoy the backup stories is another matter altogether.

Main Story

Ram V continues the loosely defined Orgham arc with Batman held hostage in the bowels of the old Arkham Asylum's ruins. Arzen Orgham lets Batman know he's going to be hanged in three days as a public spectacle to kill Gotham City's hope in Batman's protection. Selina Kyle receives an unexpected visit from an Orgham ninja who believes the hanging is misguided, so the ninja gives her the information she needs to form a rescue party. Selina solicits various forms of help from Jim Gordon (who in turn seeks help from Renee Montoya) and Poison Ivy. Oh, Azrael makes an appearance, presumably as a precursor to some future involvement. Or maybe not... you never know with Ram V.

I've been increasingly critical of Ram V's meandering, formless, pretentious writing on this series, but I'll give credit where credit is due. At least this issue shows purpose and direction. The goal is clear (save Batman), the players are making moves to achieve their goal, and except for Azrael's disconnected appearance, the plot remains focused on the journey toward that goal. If you can look past the fact that this quest is happening within the context of the larger Orgham arc which has no clarity and purpose, enjoy the beam of sunshine in an otherwise cloudy run.

What's great about Detective Comics #1076? This is one of the rare times when Ram V creates a cohesive, coherent plot and sticks to it.

What's not so great about Detective Comics #1076? All the nagging leftovers related to the Orghams have long outlived their intrigue value and remain a sour point of frustration. What was the point of Orgham Place if all the Orghams were going to do was blow it up? What is the Reality Engine? What is Azmer? What is the Orghams' plan, and what motivates them to pursue it?

These questions and many more are fundamental Script Writing 101 questions that Ram V either can't or won't address, so the readers are left in the dark. There's no circumstance where leaving the readers in the dark for an extended period is a good thing.

How's the art? Jason Shawn Alexander delivers creepy, dramatic energy to the visuals that greatly enhance Ram V's basic plot. DC is playing musical chairs with Detective Comics artists lately, but they could do worse than keep Alexander on for a while.

Backup 1: The Scream

Renee Montoya goes on the prowl as The Question is on the hunt for a man with a hard drive full of screams.

Dan Watters's short story is notable in that The Question captures a serial killer, who you never see do anything. All you know is that the killer-in-question has a hard drive of recorded screams that eventually leads Montoya to an elementary school. If children were harmed, dead, or missing, wouldn't somebody have spoken up? Watters jumps right to the hunt without ever confirming there was a crime, and it's patently weird.

Backup 2: The Sword of Batman

Azrael attempts to build a device out of some inspired intuition, but he fails. When he snaps out of his deep focus, he realizes Father Valley and Vengeance went out to find Venom to help ease Vengeange's addiction sickness. Azrael intervenes when the duo finds zombie venom dealers, and by helping Vengeance, Azrael finds the focus he needs to complete his build - the Knightfall Batsuit.

This is the second odd backup, also written by Dan Watters. At first, it's unclear what Azrael is building or why. When Azrael returns to his work after saving Father Valley and Vengeance, he builds a replica of the Knightfall suit, which looks nothing like the box Azrael was building on the first page. Presumably, this short is a prelude to Azrael's return to Dark Knight duties, but it's a wonky way to do it.

Backup 3: The Summoner's Lament

A mysterious man explains the reality of what a true summoning means, and he knows Bamtman's death will complete a summoning, years in the making.

Ram V writes and draws this two-page short that acts as little more than a vague soliloquy about one person's intentions for Batman's forthcoming death in the main story. There is no context, motivation, or expressed goal, so like much of Ram V's run on Detective Comics, this short sounds important but conveys nothing.

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

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Bits and Pieces:

Detective Comics #1076, under Ram V, takes the unprecedented step of presenting a coherent, purposeful plot when Selina and Batman's allies take measures to save Batman from a public hanging. All the uncertain questions surrounding the Orghams remain, but at least this issue shows direction. The elevated cover price signals the inclusion of three backup stories that are all, in one way or another, weird (but not in a good way).


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