Review: Detective Comics #881

Published on August 16th, 2011

I’m Batman! That’s wishful thinking on my part. How awesome would that be?! I am The BatSam though, and that’s on the serious. For now, Dick Grayson is Batman, and the latest run on Detective Comics has been nothing short of incredible. Let me tell you why…

batmandetective881Simon has been going on and on and on about how Scott Snyder is his favorite Batman author ever, and how Snyder is the best detective writer at the moment. While I can’t say I totally feel the same way about the first statement, I definitely agree with the latter. I would probably never have started reading Detective Comics because Bruce Wayne is Batman, and I really don’t care for Grayson as The Caped Crusader (and I really don’t care about numerous Batmen around the world). But I digress… The whole set-up for the current foe of Batman and James Gordon, Sr. goes back to the first Snyder arc “The Black Mirror”. While they were initially back-stories, Snyder slowly integrated it until it became the main plot. This seepage becomes apparent to the characters of the book as well; they were aware and even had suspicions of what was right in front of them, but they all kind of threw it on the back-burner. By the time Batman and Gordon realize they’d waited too long to apprehend/go after their initial suspect it’s pretty much too late, and someone close to both of them is in extreme peril.

One line I found very interesting that made me really think is when Dick (as Batman) is on his way to save the hostage and confront the new villain, comes from the villain talking to Dick. The villain knows this Batman is Dick, but makes a comment referring to Dick as a Wayne. I thought this simple reference was a fantastic way to give a deep, psychological insight as to how delusional and alienated this foe really feels towards everyone he’s ever known. Another thing is the whole James Bond villain spiel that is given; to which the captive even mocks. Bravo, Mr. Snyder.

What I found interesting about the art in this issue is the use of two separateartists on the same story in one issue. Jock’s art bookends the issue, while Francesco Francavilla does the central pages mostly focusing on the hostage situation and Batman’s attempt to confront the danger. I’m gonna be honest, and while doing so I’m sure I’ll catch a lot of heat from others on the site, but I can’t say I’m a fan of Francavilla’s art. It’s not bad by any means, but it’s just not a style I prefer. Having said that, one thing that caught my attention was the saturation of red that was used in the hostage situation. Not only that, but you never really see the hostage-taker’s eyes in any panel unless it’s a close-up on their face. I thought that was a very bold choice and it really adds to the intensity of what’s happening between all of the characters. Jock is always amazing. He is one of the main reasons I started reading Detective Comics. His style adds a subtle potency with just the right amount of action without making the book too boring or too one-dimensional. My one problem comes from the very last panel of the issue. It kind of reminded me of the last shot of The Departed. The inference was already given in the dialogue, but the last image felt a bit forced to me and kinda disappointed me as a crime fan.

Overall, this run on Detective Comics has been a great ride, and I will definitely pick up the hardcover or trade when it’s released. I suggest you all do the same. It’s good stuff for any Batman or crime fan.

Sam Taylor
Sam@ComicImpact.com