I won’t spend too much time writing this article because I already feel like I’ve wasted enough of my life on this issue just by reading it. It sucked. The first half is unbearably boring and the second half is just plain stupid. Now I’m out five bucks amd I’m not happy.
The annual is about Roman Sionis, who is somehow on the loose. To find where he is, Gordon and Bullock interrogate Clayface who was apparently a close confidant of Roman even though Roman was in solitary confinement and Clayface was locked away in his own private containment unit. Whatever. To get this info Gordon and Bullock withhold Clayface’s pain medication effectively torturing him. There are also a few scenes of Batman beating up other bad guys for info (thankfully every guy Batman beats up actually knows something and doesn’t confess to anything or name random folks just to make the pain stop. That would definitely make detective work a lot tougher) including a member of the False Face Society who all seem to wear magic masks now as well only less powerful than the “sacred ebony” (yes, it’s actually called that). Batman must race to find Black Mask before he does anything and a war bubbles up between Black Mask and Mad Hatter because there can only be one hypnotist villain in this town. So…yeah, that’s what your in for when you buy this thing.
The only thing I enjoyed about this issue was the art by Romano Molenaar, Pere Perez, Sandu Florea, and Andrew Dalhouse. I thought they did a fine job and the book at least looked good (except for the giant bull henchman who seems to fluctuate in size from panel to panel). But other than the artwork I can find nothing of value here. I cannot recommend that anyone anywhere spend five bucks on this. You could spend five bucks on a crappy story that takes maybe 10-15 minutes to read or you could go rent five 1.5-2 hour long movies from a Redbox, eat a footlong sub sandwich, or better yet buy a better comic book and still have some cash left over. Did you see the Aquaman #12 Robot Chicken variant cover? I haven’t read that issue yet but I already find the cover of that comic more valuable than everything about Detective Comics Annual #1.
This is not a great detective story a full year in the making. This is Batman beating people up until they tell him where someone is. This isn’t a great action story, either. It’s a guy in a magic mask and a guy in a technologically advanced top hat having a 2-page spread staring contest. It’s *#$@ing stupid. I’ve complained about Tony Daniel’s idea of what the Black Mask should be before. You can read about that here so I won’t go into that again now. I’ll just say that Detective Comics Annual #1 is the perfect example of the sort of crap stories that can come out of that particular characterization of Black Mask.
As for my rating, let me be clear about what my rating system is like. If a book is really enjoyable through and through and is available at a fair price I’ll give it a 10/10. I’m not saving up 10/10 scores for some mythical comic that’ll make me an inch taller for having read its pages. I’m also not saving 1/10 scores for a comic that opens up to a used syringe and pages of freshly smeared feces instead of artwork. The higher the score is above 5, the more I think it’s worth your time and money. The lower the score is under 5, the less I think it’s worth your time and money. And if it’s just a 5/10 then you should flip through it at the shop first before making a decision because I could take it or leave it. I’m giving this book a 1/10 because I wish I hadn’t bought it. I found it completely un-enjoyable and totally overpriced. If it had been $4 bucks I might’ve given it a 3 or 3.5 because the art was alright, but there are way, way way too many better books out there for you to be reading to waste your time on this ridiculous one-and-done book.