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Detective Comics #1047

Review by Paul Bowler

Arkham Tower looms over Gotham in Detective Comics #1047 like a dark ominous shroud. Yet beneath its gleaming high-tech facade and promises of new therapies from the mysterious Dr Wear, a terrifying darkness is waiting to be unleashed. But with Batman taking a break from Gotham City following the events of Fear State, the Bat-Family’s supporting heroes must step-up in the Dark Knights absence. If, like me, the solicitations for this issue made you think another year, another ‘Bat-Event,’ then you’d be wise you to think again as you may find yourself pleasantly surprised. The Tower: Part 1 kicks off a 12-part weekly Detective Comics event, Shadows of the Bat, written by Mariko Tarmaki, and the first chapter of its engaging and mysterious storyline draws you in right from the outset. 

Arkham Asylum has fallen and been replaced by Arkham Tower; a new facility built in the heart of Gotham itself and run by the enigmatic Dr Weir together with Dr Chase Meridian – a consultant appointed by Mayor Nakano. The issue is something of a slow burn to begin with,  as Tamaki builds the tension with scene setting flashbacks that shift between the Towers opening, Batwoman’s investigation of the new Arkham’s therapies, and a chilling portent within the pages of a hand made tarot scrapbook before plunging us full throttle into the carnage the Bat-Family must confront in the present-day when the inevitable riot break out in Arkham Tower. Tamaki weaves grim, action-packed descent into chaos for the Bat-Family, with action divided between characters either rushing to the scene while others are missing, or trapped inside the tower in dire peril. 

Featuring pencils by Ivan Reis and Inks by Danny Miki, Detective Comics #1047 looks absolutely stunning. Every panel is awash with rich detail and steadily gathering menace. The panel layouts are dynamically structured, moving from free-flowing to chaotically haphazard, all in perfect sync with the beats of the story. There’s intense close up drama, horror, and high-rise shocks cleverly interspaced with the Bat-Family’s interactions against the backdrop of Gotham and the terror unfolding within the tower itself. The vivid colors employed by Brad Anderson stylishly accentuates the mood and pace as the drama unfolds, and letterer Ariana Maher also does a fantastic job of making this surprisingly dialogue heavy issue a throughly engrossing and gripping read.

Batman may be out of town but he still plays a major role in this issues backup story: House of Gotham by Matthew Rosenberg. Its a dark, unsettling glimpse into the not-too-distant past, with an unflinching tale of the horrifying cracks in Gotham’s mental health system that one poor unfortunately soul could soon fall through. Featuring art by Fernando Blanco and colors by Jordie Bellaire, this bleak foreshadowing of the main storyline unfolding in Shadows of the Bat looks set to be every bit thrilling.

Detective Comics #1047 is like a gloriously dark and sinister mash-up of One Flew Over the Cuckoos  and The Towering Inferno. As comic book events go this one has certainly gotten off to a compelling start with its taut scraping and impressive artwork. Detective Comics #1047 is a terrific set up for Shadows of the Bat that poses just as many question as it does answers, let’s hope Tamaki can sustain the pace and keep the narrative on track for the duration of this immense storyline. 

Publisher DC Comics

Writer Mariko Tamaki

Pencils Ivan Reis / Inks Danny Miki

Colors Brad Anderson / Letters Ariana Maher 

Cover Irvin Rodriguez

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