Review – DETECTIVE COMICS #981

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SYNOPSIS: “BATMEN ETERNAL” finale! This is it—the unbelievable conclusion of James Tynion IV’s Batman epic! It’s the last stand of the Gotham Knights, fighting a monster they helped inspire…and a destiny they won’t accept! What will become of the greatest crime-fighting team Gotham City ever saw?

Here we are, the end of James Tynion’s epic run on Detective Comics.  A run built on redefining characters that were lost in the New 52.  Tynion was on a mission to make up for the sins of DC’s past.  Tynion’s run never missed a beat; the interludes are just as valuable as the main arcs thus bringing us closer to these characters on an emotional level. He rebuilds Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain, and Basil Karlo for a new generation while reminding the reader of the glory days of the 90’s.  So much of this run is built on relationships and consequences that it kept us on the edge of our seat, with huge pay offs as it drives off into the sunset.

Since Tynion’s run on Rebirth began he has been building this grand tale in Gotham. Sprinkling breadcrumbs we knew to follow and others we didn’t. Building strong relationships is the heart of the run. At the center of it all is Tim and Stephanie, Red Robin and Spoiler. A new Spoiler, one who stands up for herself, one who is confident and won’t let anyone push her around. So it’s fitting that the fight for Tim’s “soul” would come down to Ulysses and Stephanie.  Only Tynion’s version of Spoiler could save Red Robin.  The one who stood up to Batman or anyone in her way. Making this run so satisfying

While the relationships Tynion built are so amazing it’s the fact that they all pay off in the end makes his story so beautiful. Every character had time to shine.  Even if they weren’t involved in the main arc Tynion would deliver a one or two issue interlude that gave the character a moment for the reader to bond with. This issue Tynion delivers several moments that compare to the end of Dark Knight Rises. We don’t often see “happy endings” in Gotham, in this issue alone Tynion delivers in a big way.

ALSO: DETECTIVE COMICS #980 Review

Eddy Barrows was just as much a part of this run as Tynion. With some great variant covers and stunning interior artwork as well. The whole book is wonderful to flip through. The OMAC invasion is big and bold. They converge on the Belfry while battling Batman and Orphan packed with action and color.  The colors capture your eye on every page thanks to Adriano Lucas.  I love the use of oranges and blues through out. As I’ve come to expect with Barrows is his ability to draw facial expressions and really show the mood of the character through body language, a true selling point.  Panels large enough for the right amount of detail and expression, wonderful colors and shadows on display, with stunning splash pages. As I’ve said before about the artwork of the book. Regardless of who the artist was they matched what Tynion was writing.

Tynion has crafted something that has flown under the radar. Runs like this do not come around often.  This ensemble cast has made for a Bat-family unlike any seen before.  This Batman relies on others, reforms criminals, allows his team to operate while he oversees the situations. He has re-imagined Clayface as a sympathetic character while recreating the best version of Spoiler and Azrael to date.  This run is heavy and will make a great collected edition. The Internet is drooling over White Knight and #BatCat right now and rightfully so.  But this run is just as good if not better.  Some will say that solo Batman makes for the best Batman.  The perfect defense for that is this run, this run will go down at a Bat-family classic.

If you have enjoyed this run as much as I have, while reviewing it, please be sure to check out episode #117 of the BOF Podcast which will be dropping soon on the site. During the podcast, Ryan Hoss is joined by Rob and Terrence from the “Everyone Loves the Drake” podcast as well as myself. We do a deep dive into the whole run from issues 934 to 981. We break down what we loved so much about this great run because it truly deserves it!

After Michael Moreci’s one-shot story in Detective Comics #982 (dropping on 6/13/18), we get a new 6-issue arc from writer Bryan Hill. Let’s see what they have in store for us. – Pete Verra

GRADE: A+

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Peter Verra
A lover of genre films from BATMAN to FRIDAY THE 13th. A producer of college sports at the world’s most famous arena, MSG. A fool for watching that SCOOBY DOO teaser trailer from 2002 and praying Batman is the one who turns around every time. Backyard BBQ enthusiast & sports fan Yankees, Pacers, Devils, who ever plays the NJ Giants!