DETECTIVE COMICS #1008 Review

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SYNOPSIS: The Joker returns to Gotham City! The Joker is through working with the Legion of Doom, and he wants to get back to his roots: giving Batman absolute hell! The Clown Prince of Crime comes back with a bang—and he’s not about to take prisoners! As if that weren’t enough, Lex Luthor delivers the cure for Mr. Freeze’s beloved wife, Nora, freeing her from cryo-stasis at last! But something else is very, very wrong with Nora…

Detective Comics #1008 is one of the purest Batman comics I’ve read in a long time.

From page one Peter J. Tomasi has crafted a damn near perfect issue.  This story feels like a classic with hints of the 70s and 80s.  Doug Mahnke provides the interior artwork for the issue and delivers stunning panels with each Joker smile and murder.

This is what I have been waiting for! This is the story I envisioned when Tomasi was announced as the new writer of Detective. I’ve enjoyed Tomasi’s for the most part. Each arc started off hot, drawing me in only to fizzle out.  Tomasi has done a great job reimagining villains who needed updating but they always seemed to be my issue at arcs end. I wanted that vintage story from a legendary writer and boy did he finally deliver!

This story feels like a love letter to both Batman and The Joker. Winks of the 60s, a wonderfully crafted 70s Joker threat with clean 90s artwork.  There is so much to sink your teeth into.  Sprinkle in some direct Killing Joke references and you got me hook, line and sinker.

Since he has been writing Detective I have stood on my soapbox preaching how Tomasi is inside the head of our hero.  Tomasi knows exactly what Batman does in the moment and now he’s writing The Joker just as incredible.  Taking a “walk” with The Joker through the amusement park was one of the best comic book experiences I have ever had.

As soon as Mr. J makes his appearance you know you are in for some fun. Every kill is so superbly presented, from the peanuts to the smilex gas. This Joker has a vicious sense of humor and you are going to feel just as twisted laughing with him. Tomasi’s Joker has some 80s/Jack vibes to him.  Kidnapping an entire amusement park is a total throwback move and Tomasi does not disappoint, not one bit.

Mano a mano, the big dukeroo, no partners or sidekicks just hero vs villain with civilian lives on the line.

The last time we were blessed to have Doug Mahnke provide artwork in Detective was all the way back for landmark issue #1000.  Mahnke makes a more than welcome comeback. Two pages in you are face to face with a gorgeous close up of The Clown Prince of Crime and his perfect smile.  Mahnke draws a creepy Joker that is clean-cut and well dressed, think Brian Boland with shorter hair and bloodshot eyes. Mahnke’s backgrounds are captivating from the sun setting outside of Wayne Manor to the amusement park rides in the distance. Magnificent amounts of detail thought out the issue with panel placement that guides you through the story. Mahnke does a great job with angles, low angles, wide shots, extreme close-ups. His angles and his panel placement are really second to none.

Detective Comics #1008 is the best comic you will read this week and well worth your money.  This is a vintage story one that will be read years from now and people will always remember how much fun they had the second time Batman and The Joker faced off at the amusement park. This is a story that feels like it is timeless in the DCU, pre-Crisis, post-Crisis, New 52 or Rebirth, it is Batman vs. The Joker at it’s finest.  Those are the stories you do not want to miss.  Tomasi and Mahnke are a fanboy dream team and have delivered a true classic.

I can’t wait for 1K9! – Peter Verra

GRADE: A+

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Senior BOF contributor covering the Bat-beat since January 2017. Co-host of the "Straight Outta Gotham Podcast." Peter has covered the red carpet premiers of BATMAN: NINJA and REIGN OF THE SUPERMEN. Peter has interviewed various titans the industry such as producer Michael Uslan, producer James Tucker, stuntman Richard Cetrone, Kevin Conroy, Tara Strong, Loren Lester, Tony Todd, Will Friedle, Marie Avgeropoulos and Cress Williams just to name a few! Contact Peter on all social media platforms @PeteIllustrated!