SYNOPSIS: “THE TRIAL OF BATWOMAN”! In a 30-page anniversary story, Batwoman faces scrutiny from Batman and Red Robin but stands up for her actions. Will Batman allow her to continue bearing his symbol after everything she has done?

I’m stepping in for Peter Verra this week, and those are big shoes to fill. I won’t let you down brother!

I’ll admit, and please hang in there with me: I’m not the biggest fan of this Detective Comics run. It’s fine, it’s just not my desired story. But out of all the issues for me to fill-in for, Pete served me a delicious bat-dish.

Detective Comics #975 plants the seeds for one hell of a finale from James Tynion IV. The writer tweeted last week he is leaving the book, and Gotham, following issue #981. He may have saved his best for last, as “The Trial of Batwoman” looks to be an emotional, tense roller coaster that will affect this team’s relationships for months to come.

He comes out swinging in the opening pages, flashing back to Kate Kane’s mom’s funeral service. She encounters Bruce, and makes a violent proclamation that will be paid off later in the issue. Speaking of, everyone gets their moment in this extra-sized book: Nightwing, Barbara, Cass (in a hilarious take-down of Damian), Damian, and Jason. The reason everyone meets in the Batcave is to help Bruce decide what should be done with Kate, after her recent devastating act. Out of everyone who speaks, Barbara is the shining star, taking the floor and uncovering Bruce’s plans from the start.

What Tynion does here involves a lot of dialogue, but wow does it work. Everyone is included in these 29 pages, and nobody feels forced. Their actions are true to character, further the story, and raise the tensions with their leader. Bruce is unsure of himself, and his plan of hearing from the family sort of backfires as it doesn’t help him with his decision on Batwoman. Tynion constructs true family drama, and I never thought it’d be as effective as it is here.

The art meets the high standard the story calls for. Alvaro Martinez depicts gorgeous scenery throughout the issue. From a fall funeral, to the Clock Tower, to the Batcave, each location is moody and haunting, yet stunningly appropriate. This issue is a dark cloud on the bat family, and the sun isn’t about to shine through anytime soon.

Overall, I loved this issue. Aside from Tynion’s recent annual issue, this is his best book on the title. It’s the family drama I never knew I wanted. Haunting, dramatic and tense, Detective Comics #975 lays the groundwork for one of Gotham’s most traumatic stories in recent memory. I’m in. – Ryan Lower