Detective Comics #1080 will be Ram V’s most frustrating issue on his run. This run has peaked and valleyed like none other I have read before. I was not even ready for this issue. Joining V in this book is the duo of artists, old reliable Jason Shawn Alexander and Mike Perkins, with Dave Stewart on colors. At the same time, Dan Watters handles backup duties on the first chapter of a Damien Wayne tale with artist Christopher Mitten and Triona Farrell on colors.
A story has never blown me away, only to feel like I’m not too fond of the direction of the future, which I am dreading. Right out the gate, V delivers fast-paced action that can barely keep up with the emotional roller coaster we are thrown into. Gordon and Selina save Batman. These two are a combo that I wouldn’t mind seeing work together more, their dynamic is very refreshing to Catwoman and Batman.
Then it comes.
Two-Face’s Grand return: good old pissed-off and angry Harvey Dent is back in the game! Earlier in the story, Harvey looked weak, like a chump on his last rope. Here! He is the underground King of Gotham. With every word bubble, I say, “That’s not Two-Face talking; that’s me on Twitter.” I laugh when Two-Face calls out the Wolf-Man. I love it all. Every panel, every word.
Is this it? Is this the moment I fall in love with this run?
No, it goes south fast.
Talia and Selina have some great back-and-forth as they talk about how to bring Bruce back from the brink of death. Then the rest of this reads like Knightfall: Part II meets Batman RIP. Eh, I don’t think I am ready for a rehash of either, much less a remix of the two. Pink Flamingo seems to have made his way over from the Catwoman title, so there will be more crossover; I hope you enjoyed the recent Gotham War.
I have been praising Jason Shawn Alexander in every review; he is paired up with Mike Perking, and these guys crushed this issue. I can’t tell you who drew what, but as always, the art outshines the story once again. The opening with the car chase was excellent, Two-Face yelling and flipping out was my favorite part of the book. I like the different layouts, the perfect angles of Two-Face flipping the coin, and even something more straightforward, like transferring Batman on the docks. It’s a bit calmer than running for your life; the layout is more traditional. Veteran readers will pick up on these things easily—Bravo artistic team.
Now, when it comes to Watters, I’m treading lightly. I have not enjoyed much of what I have read in the past. The trend continues, I will be honest. I’m starting to think it must be the story and not Watters’s ability; one person can’t write this much that I don’t like, right? These back-ups don’t move me. This one seems more in line with what is happening in the primary. That is two strikes against it already. Mitten and Farrell do an excellent job artistically. Whatever that skeleton thing was, it looked cool on the page; Damien’s Batsuit is cool, as is the cameo from the 89 car. But this one is not my cup of tea, yet again.
Gotham Knights, the show, was barely watched; the game didn’t get that much love from what I have heard, either. So now it looks like it is time for comic books to give the Batman is Gone gimmick a run. Great art and a few pages of badass Two-Face will not get a “must buy” from me, with yet another lackluster backup and a future that looks DOA. We are in for a long, rough 2024 on the Detective beat. – Peter Verra