Detective Comics was one of last month’s most anticipated books. The combination of Ram V and Rafael Albuquerque had Twitter buzzing. Unfortunately, I was not one of those fans raving about the title at the end of the issue. Underwhelmed would be a more appropriate term. With V one of the hottest writers and Albuquerque a household name in the industry, I wanted to be blown away. This title has yet to let me down so far. Have I finally reached my Lower/Tynion moment? Let’s find out!
This month’s issue is indeed a more interesting book than last. V sets up this noir setting early on with Bruce and Harvey Dent. Their scenes and dialogue are the most beautiful parts of the book. You can feel the tension, the history between these two. This version of Harvey Dent is a changed man, but we all know that won’t last long. V does a great job at bringing in obscure characters and not recycling more prominent names in similar roles. V has a good touch on the detective aspect of Batman. My issue is the backbone of the story, and it feels a bit underwhelming for V. Bar-Ba-Tos, powders? And witches? The saving Grace could be Dent and how he factors into the storyline.
Even Rafael Albuquerque had an off issue. There were times it felt like Albuquerque’s art was a bit rushed. I usually love what I see from Albuquerque, but this issue feels meh. The horror elements are there; the serum/powder to the face is shocking, Bar-Ba-Tos is creepy as hell, but Albuquerque’s Batman seems different than his previous work. This Batman looks older and more rigid. Albuquerque does a great job with the backgrounds, mixing detailed city elements with old-school color backgrounds. Albuquerque gives us an excellent Dark Knight Returns-Esque Batman gliding through Gotham that everyone will love. There is a robust James Bond vibe with Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent on the page, highlighting the issue on both sides.
This month’s backup is The Coda, part 2 of 3. I couldn’t even finish this round. I found this Gordon story so dull that I lost interest three pages in. Thank god is got one chapter left.
Overall, I have to say that this run on Detective is a bit surprising to me so far. I’ve loved every issue of V’s Swamp Thing, and Catwoman runs. Albuquerque is a name I have come to expect great things when I see his name on the cover. I’ve been on the Detective beat since 2017, and this is the run I’ve enjoyed the least. I never thought it would come from two names that I consider at the top of their game. – Peter Verra