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Detective Comics #934

Review by Paul Bowler

The Batman family must confront a new menace in Detective Comics #934, when an unknown enemy that looks suspiciously like Batman begins stalking Gotham City and using ruthless tactics against perceived threats. Batman and Batwoman unite to train the next generation of young heroes in Gotham: Spoiler, Red Robin, Orphan (Cassandra Cain), and the reformed super-villain Clayface, to battle crime and protect their city. ..

As well as returning to its original numbering, Detective Comics now embraces an entirely new concept, and gets a new creative team with the advent of DC Rebirth, as writer James Tynion IV, artist Eddy Barrows, inker Eber Ferreira, and colorist Adriano Lucas usher in a new era for DC’s flagship comic series. Detective Comics #934 also marks the return of Batwoman to play a major role in the DC Universe, now working alongside Batman, together they will form a new team of superheroes with, Spoiler, Red Robin, Orphan, and Clayface, to confront the challenge of this mysterious new Darker Knight prowling Gotham like a vengeful predator, but can they work as a team, and is Clayface really ready to change his villainous ways?

You know, as excited as I am by Batman, Nightwing, and All Star Batman, of all the new Bat-Titles coming our way during DC’s Rebirth, its Detective Comics that I’ve really been looking forward to the most. I often feel that Detective Comics got a bit overlooked at times during The New 52, but I’m sure all that will change; especially now on the strength of this first issue by James Tynion IV and the exciting new premise it establishes.

detective-comics-934 COVER

The initial scenes of Rise of the Batmen Part 1 flashbacks to events as Gotham’s deadly new cape and cowl attacks Azrael, it’s a brutal fight, but with Batman’s arrival on the scene this strange doppelganger impersonating Batman soon beats a hasty retreat to the shadows. The new status quo and cast of characters is quickly set out as the issue unfolds, as Kate’s father’s sentiments are echoed later in Batman’s request for her to help him find out why Azrael was attacked and who is controlling the drones that have been spying on Gotham’s vigilantes. It’s really interesting to see Bruce and Kate working together so closely again, the unusual dynamic between them really plays to Tynion’s strengths as a writer, and I’m looking forward to seeing how Batman and Batwoman will work together. Given how tense and distant their relationship has sometimes been, this issue heralds a major turnaround on that front, it’s a terrific scene, and pivotal to forging their bond of trust and respect as equal partner in recruiting and running their boot camp for their new trainees.

James Tynion IV also does a great job at handling this ensemble cast of characters, a fact that really shines through as we see Batman and Batwoman assessing and visiting Spoiler, Red Robin, Cassandra Cain, and Clayface individually over the course of the issue, and brining them together as a team to survive this new threat. Even though each student has their own unique attributes, strengths, and skills, Batwoman makes it clear from the outset their training is going to be tough; and she certainly isn’t going to go easy on them!

Then of course we have, in my opinion, the masterstroke move by Tynion and co, of having Clayface becoming part of the team! The scene were Batman and Batwoman recruit Basil Karlo proves to be a really powerful and emotional scene for the character, I found it genuinely moving, and the dynamic between Batman and Batwoman here is pitched perfectly. Ok, hands up, I admit I’m more than a little biased here, because Clayface is my all-time-favourite villain from Batman’s rogues galley, and I’m thrilled to see the character become such an integral part of this series, but is he really ready for redemption? Only time will tell…

Detective Comics #934 features some gorgeous artwork by Eddy Barrows and inks by Eber Ferreira. The page layouts are bold and dramatic, Barrow’s art is finely detailed and conveys the often kinetic action with an almost fluidic sense of pace and movement, all the characters are impressively realized, and Ferreira’s inks really brining out the finer nuances of Barrow’s work to such a degree that each scene literally bursts from the page with the sheer immersing power of characterization and spectacle in this issue. Likewise, colorist Adriano Lucas builds the tension and drama with a subtle blend of rich hues and bold tones, while the clever use of light and shadow accentuates the mood of countless scenes to make this issue an outstanding synergy of storytelling and art. This issue has so many highlights: Batman standing framed in light in St Michael’s Cathedral before the fallen Azrael, Batwoman swinging across the Gotham skyline, the recruiting of the individual team members, and the stunning welcome to boot camp at the Bat-Signal that emulates this issues stunning cover by Barrows, Ferreira, Lucas is a sublime move that neatly bookends the issue in fine style.

James Tynion IV has done a terrific job with Detective Comics #934, the new premise and mission scenario is set out for Batman, Batwoman, and their new team in a way that gradually builds the mystery and suspense, before the issue closes with a startling glimpse at the true scale of the menace they will all soon have to face. James Tynion gives all of the characters a moment to shine, while Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, and Adriano Lucas ensure the issue is busting from cover to cover with impressive visual, along with concise letting from Marilyn Patrizio, collectively gets this new creative teams run on Detective Comics off to a great start!

Publisher: DC Comics / James Tynion IV / Art: Eddy Barrows

Inks: Eber Ferreira / Colors: Adriano Lucas / Letters: Marilyn Patrizio

Cover by: Barrows, Ferreira & Lucas / Variant Cover: Rafael Albuquerque