Finally an issue of Detective Comics that I thoroughly enjoyed! I even thought this comic could’ve been longer. The backup by James Tynion IV and Henrik Jonsson could most definitely have been stretched into its own full length issue. Let me break it all down for you.
First off there’s the main event, The Final Lesson. This story is about a young Bruce Wayne from 10 years ago (They should really leave out the time stamps entirely. All of this 5 years ago, 10 years ago, nonsense just gives the most dedicated fans a migraine. Say “many years ago” and be vague about it) receiving his–you guessed it–final lesson high up in the mountains of the Himalayas. It’s very Batman Begins/The Man Who Falls which is exactly what I’m looking for in these Zero Issues. It’s written by Penguin: Pain & Prejudice author and current helmer of Batman: The Dark Knight, Gregg Hurwitz (who is only doing this one issue, just to be clear. Starting next month the series will be written by John Layman) and it also marks Tony Daniel’s farewell issue. After many years of drawing the Caped Crusader, Mr. Daniel is walking away and he did a very fine job illustrating this issue indeed.
The whole issue was advertised as being about Bruce learning the martial arts, but that turned out to be a classic misdirect. Instead, the lesson Bruce learns is far greater than that. This issue shows readers where a lot of Bruce’s struggle with intimacy comes from and who taught him to be so paranoid. The comic looks great (especially the final page), it reads great, and my only complaint would be that this issue wraps up way too quickly. It simply runs out of time to tell its tale before the backup story popped in. SHOW SPOILER ▼So other than being cut too short, The Final Lesson is a great read with plenty of surprises.
The other story included here is the even shorter backup by James Tynion IV and Henrik Jonsson titled The Long Wait. It’s about Alfred being hounded by the Kane family to hand over what remains of the Wayne estate. That should hook you right there because although Bruce’s travels have barely been explored, Alfred’s time during those years hasn’t really been touched at all! It’s an enjoyable read and it looks fantastic. I would love to see more from Jonsson in the future on any bat-title and reading yet another solid backup story by Tynion IV has me curious about what he can do with the upcoming Talon series. But again, the big problem with the backup is that it leaves you wanting more!
I wish both The Long Wait and The Final Lesson could’ve been given more pages so that they could reach their full potential but even so I think that this is a comic that every Batman fan should go pick up. Although they were brief, each story was very well done.