Review – DETECTIVE COMICS #984

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SYNOPSIS: Batman called Black Lightning to Gotham City for help with a specific case—but what is Batman hiding from Jefferson Pierce? It looks like he’s in touch with somebody from their mutual past, and he doesn’t want Black Lightning to know about it —and that operative might be in over their head!

Bryan Hill is two for two on Detective since taking over writing duties. Right off the bat, Hill writes a captivating espionage scene straight out of a 007 film.  Sprinkled in with just the right amount of backstory on the new villain in Gotham, Karma. Karma is a bad man, wasting no time confronting the Bat-family on their turf just as he planned and totally prepared.  Only two issues in and Karma is shaping up to be an interesting new member of the Gotham Underground. Similar to the First Victim from James Tynion’s run. I’ll always appreciate a writer taking a risk on creating a new villain or trying to reinvent one such as Tom King’s Kite-Man.  As much fun as a great Joker or Two-Face story can be, I don’t mind mixing things up a bit once and a while.

Hill’s dialogue through out the book is on point. Karma sounds like a mad man on a mission and I love how he studies each member of the Bat-family as he fights. Batman has a vision and he needs Jefferson Pierce’s help to fulfill it.  Jefferson’s leadership and ability to connect with the youth seems to make him more up for the job than Black Lightning. Every bubble between Jefferson Pierce and Bruce Wayne is deep and emotional with huge ramifications at the end. Jefferson and Alfred have one of the better exchanges in regards to his partners that you will ever read.

Artistically, the book is an A+ and that goes out to the entire creative team. Colorist Adriano Luca did an amazing job with panel backgrounds, lightning effects, lens flares and that amazing final splash page!  Finding that perfect balance between dark/bright and black/color in a Batman book can be a tough task and Luca aces it.

Miguel Mendonca is our artist and draws a gorgeous clean, sharp book with detailed skylines and buildings, nonstop action and heavy emotions. Mendcona nails the spooky Batman in the shadows that we all know and love.  The action scenes in the book are a thrill ride. Cassandra vs Karma in the streets is as good as we have seen. With all the great action in the book and even an appearance by the Batmobile my favorite panel is the last. A splash page finale that I can’t help but compare to the classic artwork of Alex Ross and his Batman Scars. A beaten and bandaged Bruce Wayne staring out the window looking defeated. Nothing short of stunning. Bravo to all involved Mendonca, Lucas and inker Diana Egea, bravo!

Hill and Mendcona work wonderfully together on another issue that is a must for your pull list this week!  Hill knows these characters, Batman the preemptive tactician, Alfred’s witt, Jerfferson’s questionable eagerness and Cassandra silent yet strong. Reading this book was a true pleasure.  A new villain hungry to make a name for himself and a team dynamic that is shaping up to rival what Tynion just gave us.  Bryan Hill has me desperately waiting for Detective Comics #985! That’s not on sale until 7/25, until then BOFers!

GRADE: A+