DETECTIVE COMICS #997 Review by Peter Verra


SYNOPSIS: There’s no man on Earth more convinced that he knows what makes Batman tick than Dr. Hugo Strange! Which makes him a natural target for the thing that’s hunting Batman, unless Batman gets there first!

Here we are, Detective Comics #997.

Only three issues away from the big one, issue #1,000.

Someone has been taking out Batman’s mentors. One by one tormenting The Dark Knight. Who could have the guts to go after those who taught The World’s Greatest Detective?

The more pressing question here my fellow readers, has Peter J. Tomasi “jumped the shark?”

Here is where Tomasi excels as a veteran of the genre.  He can take an almost absurd concept — have you question it while reading the book — only to have you at the end of the story say, “That was a damn good time!”

Now there are some honestly ridiculous things going on here.  At times while reading I’m saying to myself this is very Batman ’66, while at the same time being a modern Batman story.

Tomasi takes us back where we left off last issue, Batman and the original Mister Miracle, Thaddeus Brown are in quite the pickle. It’s a good old fashion Deathtrap with all the fixings.  Our heroes are anchored down, tied up, water over their heads and what death trap isn’t complete without sharks and piranhas.  For those of you who love a Batman that is always prepared, with or without his utility belt this issue is right up your ally.

Batman’s thoughts are nothing short of priceless this issue. Tomasi is inside Batman’s head, completely aware of the situation surrounding him and of all the consequences. Taking into account, his fellow hostages age, health, and mentality. From utilizing secret gadgets and even knowing his animalistic attackers’ strengths and weaknesses. This is a veteran, vintage complete Batman who is never out of his element.

Once again artist Doug Mahnke provides his beautiful artwork to Detective Comics. Various stunning splash pages will stick with you after reading this story but it’s the underwater panels that I fell in love with.   At times I felt the pressure like I was playing Labyrinth Zone in a Sonic the Hedgehog game, synced up with Tomasi’s writing perfectly. Mahnke delivers one large action scene that is twisted fun at the expense of Batman’s mental health. These panels pit the Dark Knight up against his greatest fears.  Further confusing the reader as to who is actually behind this, wonderful use of misconception.  While Tomasi guides you through the story with words Mahnke drives the story with his art as the selling point and that is just what this book needed.

While this is the most bizarre issue so far in Tomasi’s run it is still a fun read.  Let’s be honest regardless of what the trap is it’s always a hell of a time seeing Batman escape certain death.  It only gets better when you have an A-list writer who knows exactly what he is trying to do with a character and how that character should act.  Combine that with some stunning artwork and you are guaranteed a book well worth your $3.99.

This might not be the best story you read on new comic book day this Wednesday but it will be the most fun and entertaining. – Pete Verra