Revisiting DETECTIVE COMICS #27 by Michael Fricker


I recently revisited DETECTIVE COMICS #27. I own it on Kindle of all places, a special edition that includes a retelling from when they launched New 52.

What is so amazing about DC #27 is that Bruce Wayne/Batman is fully-formed and is not all that different from the character we still read, view, and believe in today.

He’s got a cape, a cowl, even a utility belt. He doesn’t use anything from the belt, but he has it. Right from the start, it’s Batman. Jim Gordon is there. Bruce Wayne socialite cover for the crime fighter vigilante is there. Criminals scared of “The Bat-Man” are there. The tense at times relationship between the police and Batman is a part of this story as well.

In “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate,” Batman is a detective, he is a brawler, and lurking figure that he has no time for criminals. He also has a ruthless streak in this very first story throwing thugs off the roof or over the railing into vats of acid. That ruthlessness informs, I believe, the later written origins of the character.

A case can be made that the revolutionary Batman stories of O’Neill and Adams in the 1970s, and the dark operatic retellings of Miller, Mazzucchelli, Loeb, Sale and others in the 1980s and 1990s crib heavily from this first story and tone of the early Finger and Kane stuff. The DNA of Batman is there in DC #72 and it seems to be something that gets talked about a lot by so many creators.

We’ve seen homage paid to THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, YEAR ONE, THE LONG HALLOWEEN and others with Batman on film before. You can’t really go wrong with those. The wonder becomes now what Matt Reeve’s upcoming picture will bring. He has mentioned recently that YEAR ONE is his favorite story for Batman.

What would it be like if his upcoming film went back to the beginning for some inspiration.

A noir detective story that is very personal to Batman?

What’s more personal than the one that started it all? – Michael Fricker

Michael Fricker got scared of the scarecrow in BATMAN BEGINS, loves all things Batman and BOF, and also writes about soccer in his (very) spare time. You can follow him on twitter @Michael_Fricker.