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Batman Detective Comics #1018

Review by Paul Bowler

A chill wind blows over Gotham in the aftermath of City of Bane. Detective Comics #1018 finds the Dark Knight in a dark, lonely place, as both Bruce Wayne and Batman. But there is little time to mourn his greatest loss as a series of gruesome ritualistic killings have been happening across the city. It would seem that supernatural forces have unleashed a monstrous pagan spirit. Batman must quell his personal demons for now and stop the killings, or Gotham’s festive season will be irrevocably tainted with blood and death…

For me Peter J. Tomasi’s run, after such a strong start, felt like it had been curtailed somewhat because of the Year of the Villain tie-in (something which I feel also spoiled a lot of my favourite comics, including Hawkman, Supergirl, and The Flash), although it has to be said that Tomasi’s story with Mr Freeze didn’t feel shoehorned into the umbrella style narrative of that ‘event’ like so many others did, if anything he was one of the few writers that really seemed to embrace the concept to really run with it and make anything even remotely cohesive from it as a result.

Now with Detective Comics #1018 Tomasi begins getting things back on track with Dead of Winter Part 1, however, there is no escaping the grim cloud of Tom King’s run (no, I wasn’t as fan of King either) and that hangs heavily over this issue. From the blood-soaked opening scenes we find the Dark Knight dealing with a minor crime by comparison to the one we‘ve just witnessed. From here Tomasi quickly immerse us in Batman’s ongoing investigation into the series of deaths that have recently struck the city, but now that Alfred Pennyworth is dead and Jim Gordon is unavailable, Batman only has Bullock to assist him, and not even making it home in time for a game of catch with pooches Ace and Titus affords Bruce little solace from his grief and isolation.

Employing a series of bold, sometimes overlapping page layouts, artist Scott Godlewski brings this sombre and powerful issue to life in the most stylish of ways. Sweeping snow swept vistas of Gotham blend seamlessly with the street level action with Batman. The Batmbile is a fan boy delight to behold with its gorgeous mix of crisp animated series lines, Burtonesque undertones, and classic retro flourishes. Colorist David Baron further heightens the atmosphere with vivid tones and hues alongside swarthy deep shadows, Bruce’s attempt to cast of the winter blues with a game of catch with the dogs poignantly conveys the Dark Knight’s melancholy, while Bullock’s office seems darker than the Batcave itself. The scene of the latest killing at the botanical gardens is another visual highlight of this issue, as it looks so bizarre, a twisted nightmare decked out in tinsel and baubles more akin to something like you’d have seen in the Hannibal TV series back in its heyday.

The issue ends with a dramatic cliffhanger and the stage is now set to bring the Dark Knight face to face with the stories monstrous protagonist… So, Detective Comics #1018 is a good return to form for this series, with a strong story, and reasonable enough artwork. The ramifications of City of Bane dose mean that there’s still very much a sense of picking up the pieces to this issue of Detective Comics. I can only hope that now the recent storylines and events involving Batman elsewhere are over Peter J. Tomasi’s run on Detective Comics can now really begin to stretch its wings and finally get its time to shine in the spotlight.

Publisher: DC Comics Writer: Peter J. Tomasi / Artist: Scott Godlewski

Colorist: David Baron / Letterer: Rob Leigh

Cover: Rafael Samdoval, Jordi Tarrago , & John Kalise

About The Author

Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook