Detective Comics #42 review

Detective Comics 42

My absolute favorite thing about this issue is that they address the fact that Robobat-Bunny is not superior to the real Batman!

They don’t actually say it overtly in a conversation between characters, but when you think about what we are being given in the story, it is a subtle way of addressing the matter.  The main villains are a group of guys jumping across rooftops, relying on their natural acrobatic abilities, and augmenting themselves with limited technology.  They are essentially an analog for Batman, and they are totally trouncing the Bat-Bunny suit.  I’ve seen some people make the argument that going back to the real Batman after having a technologically superior “Batman” running around wouldn’t make sense.  However, as the story has begun to unfold, I’m starting to think that this arc isn’t about showing a superior “Batman”, but it’s actually about showing that a guy running around in a low tech suit fighting crime in a tech progressive world still makes sense.

Back in the 90s, fans were begging for Batman to get darker and darker.  DC didn’t really want to take Bruce down that path, because once they did, they couldn’t undo it.  Instead, they decided to create Jean-Paul Valley and have him take the journey that fans were begging for Bruce to take.  After Valley started murdering villains, fans became outraged and demanded the return of Bruce Wayne. DC managed to show the fans that taking Batman to the extremes of darkness wasn’t what they wanted after all, and they accomplished it without tarnishing Bruce’s moral code.  I think what is taking place now is the equivalent of that.  It’s showing fans that taking Batman to the extremes of technology doesn’t work for the character.  Seeing a man who has dedicated every moment of his life to reaching the peak of physical and mental perfection is truly inspiring.  Not someone who slips on a magic suit to become a Super Hero.  This is what draws people to Batman.  It’s about the man behind the mask, not his suit and not his gadgets.

The issue itself is a real talker.  Yes, there are two action sequences that bookend this particular chapter, but it really felt like the majority of the story was just people talking to each other.  Seriously, there is a lot of talking in this issue.  I’m not saying that some of the conversations aren’t interesting (a few are actually really engaging), but due to all this talking, momentum is lost and the pacing seems to drag at times.  It just doesn’t have a healthy balance of action to dialogue scenes.  Speaking of dialogue…

crap Thanks for that mental picture Bullock…

One of the topics of conversation in the comic that is starting to feel like beating a dead horse is people continually bringing up the fact that this new “Batman” is stupid.  I read all the issues in June where Bat-Bunny made an appearance and most of them contained disparaging remarks in regards to the new suit.  This issue is no different, but it takes it a step further and brings it up on 4 separate occasions.  I think it is safe to say that the creative teams at DC are really trying to drive home the fact that everyone thinks it is a ridiculous idea.  I’ve even seen writer interviews where they acknowledge that this is silly, but that it is kind of the point.

exchange     This exchange between Bullock and Gordon was priceless.

Fernando Blanco handles art again for this issue and although my opinion of his work hasn’t really changed, I didn’t find it quite so jarring since I knew it was coming this time.  In general, his work lacks a definitive style that makes it truly stand out among the crowd of other artist who populate our books each month.  It also has a tendency to be inconsistent.  Some pages and panels look pretty decent whereas others suffer from depth perception and minimal detailing.  Likewise, with attention to facial modeling and expressions.  It could stand to be a lot tighter across the board.

SHOW SPOILER ▼

Interesting Facts:

  • Recently, there has been a lot of talk about people being in the Batman suit other than Bruce.  I figured this would be a good time to start sharing with you some classic moments from when other characters have donned the famous garb.  Here we have Detective Comics #225 (1955).  In this issue, average citizens who win a contest get the honor of donning the suit

Detective_Comics_225

  • You think that the current status quo is the first time that Gordon has worn the Batman suit?  Well, think again.  Next time, I’ll share with you a Golden Age issue in which Gordon wasn’t running around in a Batman-like robot suit but an actual grey and blue one.

Recommended if…

  • You want to join the GCPD in ragging on the new “Batman”.
  • You like issues with plenty of dialogue and character interaction.

Overall:

Light on action and heavy on dialogue.  While not much happens, the issue really takes the time to allow you to get under the skin of the characters and live with them in the world they inhabit.  Sometimes the pacing can feel a bit too methodical, but there are individual conversations that really capture the consciousness of the characters.   While not one of the most thrilling issues of Detective Comics, it still manages to broach several worthwhile topics.

SCORE: 6 / 10

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