Review: Detective Comics #42

dc042In a sense, Detective Comics is DC Comics.  DC owes its name to one of its flagship series, and although the series has gone through tough times before, it has always persisted.  In the 1970s during the DC Implosion, the title was almost lost in favor of the Batman Family comics, but Detective Comics was too important, and became Detective Comics featuring the Batman Family.  Except for the brief period just before the new 52 when the series featured Batwoman, the series has also always had Batman, be that Bruce Wayne, Jean-Paul Valley or Dick Grayson.  That is to say that DC is Detective Comics, and Detective Comics is Batman, which is an easy way to identify one of DC’s main two heroes.

The recent story arc in the Batman titles deals with the fallout of the Endgame story arc in the main Batman series.  With Bruce Wayne gone, there needs to be someone to fill in the gap as the Batman, and it has fallen to the unlikely choice of Jim Gordon to fill the suit.  It is not just any suit though, rather an Iron-Man like mockup, but with a few kinks.  This series has also put some focus on the renewed partnership of Montoya and Bullock, and the story here finds itself somewhere in between.  Jim is still trying to figure out what it takes to be Batman, especially as some criminals have figured out how to weaken the suit, and Harvey and Renee are trying hard to make work what was once a great partnership.

If DC needs Batman, and specifically Detective Comics, then it is hard to see how this fits in.  The idea of Jim Gordon as Batman is one which breaks certain base assumptions about the group of characters.  Though both defined by a moral code, Batman is not Jim Gordon, nor can Jim Gordon be Batman.  Others that have taken up the title have done so in the spirit of Bruce Wayne, but this new version is a bit bizarre, asking the reader to forget key parts of the publication history of the characters, so that an unconventional story can be told.  Unconventional stories can be great, as any work of fiction should try to push the boundaries of what is the expected, but in this case it still doesn’t quite feel right, as Detective Comics still feels like it is missing its Batman, even when it ostensibly has one.

Story: Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellatto Art: Fernando Blanco
Story: 6.8 Art: 6.8 Overall: 6.8 Recommendation: Pass