Review: Detective Comics #19

Detective Comics #19 CoverIn a special oversized celebratory issue, Batman is challenged by the “Mystery of the 900!” While this is the 19th issue of the rebooted Detective Comics, it also marks the 900th issue if the series had continued on it’s original numbering, a pretty impressive number that should come with celebration. The issue is oversized made up of five different stories as well as some pinup art. It’s not a bad 19th issue, but not sure if it really sticks out to me as special for a 900th issue.

In Birth of Family writer John Layman with art by Andy Clarke we’re introduced to the origin of Man-Bat, a character that has remained absent in the New 52. But, the character’s origin is now tied into Emperor Penguin who is now running the show after his coup of the original Penguin. A virus is unleashed upon “the 900” an area of Gotham, changing it’s populace into giant bat creatures.

The solution to the story gives us the “new” Man-Bat, a semi-tragic story that would have more impact if we got more background and investment in the main players. There’s a tragic love story here, and it’s good if not predictable.

Birdwatching also written by Layman with art by Hendrik Jonsson puts some of the pieces of the puzzle together, connecting dots that have been teased and laid out throughout this short Detective run. In the chaos that is the Man-Bat virus, Mr. Combustible goes on a robbery spree. It becomes clear by the end how everything fits together, an orchestrated plan that seems overtly complicated for it’s goals and what it achieves. Still an interesting way to tie everything together.

Bane is the next focus, in the story War Council, that sees him training a bunch of juiced up freaks as he talks about how his latest plot was foiled and connects Bane with the Court of Owls. It feels a bit of a stretch, but it clearly is there to set up what comes next. While a nice teaser story, his army seems unnecessary and almost diminishes Bane as a character. It’s a little out of place. James Tynion IV is the writer with art by Mikel Jamin.

Finally, Through a Blue Lens, written by John Layman and art by Jason Masters has me missing Gotham Central, one of the best “Bat” series ever and a great depiction of cops in Gotham. Here, an officer recounts his time responding to the Man-Bat virus and his run in with Batman. His fellow officers all share opinions on Batman, which is interesting, but not quite right somehow. Again, not bad, and it gives greater incite into the relationship Batman has with the Gotham police force.

Overall, the issue is really good. As a 19th issue, it’s solid, tieing together numerous plot points while paving the way for what comes next.

Story: John Layman, James Tynion IV Art: Andy Clarke, Hendrik Jonsson, Mikel Jamin, Jason Masters, Alex Maleev, Nathan Fairbairn, Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund, Andrew Dalhouse, Chris Burnham, Jason Fabok, Jeromy Cox, Francesco Francavilla, Cameron Stewart, Dustin Nguyen
Story: 7.75 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review