SYNOPSIS: “THE CURSING OF GOTHAM CITY!” The abduction of a child by a strange, militant, religious sect of Gotham’s homeless takes Batman into the city’s darkest subterranean tunnels… and into the upside-down world of the vicious spirit Deacon Blackfire!

Detective Comics #982 is a one shot that gets a bit spiritual. Michael Moreci goes back to 1988’s Batman: The Cult retrieving one of the more interesting villains, Deacon Blackfire. While Batman vs ghosts is not my cup of tea, the monologues in the book are nothing short of tremendous. Artist Sebastian Fiumara comes off as almost a combination of Eddy Barrows/Kelley Jones, fitting for this spook story.

Moreci really excels at what makes Batman tick, his motives, willpower and drive. The story is a search and rescue on a higher level.  Batman is searching for a young boy who Blackfire wants to use as a host. This scenario reminds me of Batman and the Mad Monk and even horror icon Chucky.  The dive into Batman’s head in this issue is a breath of fresh air. He is on his mission and nothing will stop him, ghosts, mind control, nothing. It was a treat going a long for the ride, hearing his next move, seeing how determined he is. I always love when someone tries to invade the mind of Batman and/or Bruce Wayne. Training for this crime fighting lifestyle always goes above just the physical perpetration. Bruce spent as much time if not more training his mind. Anytime you see those skills on display I will relish in the moment, it is often over looked.

The artistic team did a fabulous job on the book. It’s dark and eerie when it needs to be yet beautiful backgrounds allow the characters to be on full display, a fitting look for this paranormal tale. Sebastian Fiumara’s artwork really captures the imagination from page one. Giving off vibes of Kelley Jone’s Batman: Vampire but yet being very clean and modernized like Eddy Barrows.  With so many good looking panels and pages it is an easy book to flip through and enjoy. The action and wonderful silhouettes of our Dark Knight will leave you with a smile.  Dave Stewart and Clem Robins also did a fantastic job on colors and letters respectively. The book is so complimentary to itself and everything works fluidly.

Coming off Tynion’s epic since Rebirth began this is a nice palette cleanse between arcs. If you like detective Batman then this is a book you would like to read. It’s not a part of some longer tale that you have to keep up with. If you want to see what Detective Comics is about this is the book to pick up. Moreci dives deep into Batman’s psyche and delivers a solid tactical rescue book featuring a villain that even I forgot about. I can’t say I enjoy Batman playing Ghostbusters, however, I do enjoy seeing The Dark Knight kick ass and saving people.

Bryan Hill’s five issue arc featuring Black Lightning kicks off with issue #983 on June 27th, however, before that look out for a special episode of the BOF Podcast dropping this week.  California’s finest Justin Kowalski and myself were so fortunate to have Bryan Hill join us on episode #119. You can’t miss it! Until next time BOF’ers! – Pete Verra