Detective Comics #46 review

Detective Comics 46

The League investigates the homicide of a 200 foot tall eyeball eating alien.  Is this an issue of Detective Comics or an episode of the X-Files?

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Right from the start, I was happy to see that this issue of Detective Comics actually had some detective work for a change.  However, it only took a few pages to determine that this was some very run-of-the-mill detecting.  Anybody who has watched any police procedural or forensic show would be very familiar with everything that goes down here.  Considering how 101 this felt, I couldn’t help but feel that The League should have been able to figure this out on their own without Gordon’s help.  As a forensic scientist, Flash is fully aware of what Gordon is doing and even comments on it.  It simply doesn’t seem like Gordon offers any earth shattering revelations that Flash couldn’t have come up with.  Presenting a story in which the reader can feel mentally superior to the collective wisdom of the entire Justice League really doesn’t help to put them on a pedestal we should strive for.

DC46.5   Gordon just warned them that it was delicate and could shatter easily.

This was their solution….

The scene also goes on for far too long, encompassing 10 pages.  Since the detecting isn’t all that engrossing, other ways to hold our attention are explored.  The fantastical nature of the body requires The League to use their powers to accomplish goals that are typically achieved through much more mundane means.  Once again, the Flash stands out as a key player, instilling more doubt as to the need for Gordon.

My biggest problem with this issue is that The League is irrelevant to the outcome of the story.  The “problem” would have “solved” itself whether or not they investigated and became involved.  I’ve never liked stories like this.  I want to feel that the protagonist has a major effect on the conclusion, not simply that he was a witness to it and by extension so were we.  SHOW SPOILER ▼

Not only does the story exhibit extremely convenient timing but hugely questionable plot points that draw our suspension of disbelief into question.  SHOW SPOILER ▼

It also feels really forced for The League to call Gordon “Batman”.  When you consider that they knew the real Batman in more than just a work capacity, it somewhat demeans the personal relationship he had with the members. “Batman” is just a code name when it comes to Gordon, while Bruce actually is Batman. It’s like calling your step-mother mom (unless your step-mother raised you, then it makes sense).  I can understand if they were in public and didn’t want to reveal who he was to the masses, but they are in the middle of nowhere.

Art for this issue is once again brought to us by Marcio Takara, and once again, I feel the need to point out how dissimilar the presented artwork is from the vast amount of his work that you can find from a quick Google search.  Maybe I should be commending his versatility.  Maybe he is trying something new.  All I know is that I would have much rather had his signature style…

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…than what we actually got.

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At 24 pages long, this issue was 2 pages longer than your standard 3.99 book.  While it is always nice to get free stuff, it makes me wonder why they felt this story needed or deserved the extra 2 pages.  If we had been made to pay for those extra pages, I surely would have counted this as a negative, since they were unnecessary.  At the same time, I can’t really count it as a positive for the same reason.  In the end, the reasoning is a real conundrum, much like the story itself.

DC46.4There is also this scene where Gordon and Cyborg have a buddy moment and joke around.  For all they know, the rest of the team is getting murdered right now.  How about a little sense of urgency.

With all the questionable narrative choices this story took, I wasn’t expecting a very satisfying conclusion, but oddly enough, I found it strangely touching.  SHOW SPOILER ▼

Question for the readers:

  • In one scene, Flash goes to headquarters to analyze some samples and comes back in the blink of an eye with the results.  I get that Flash is fast, but do his power extend to the devices he uses?  The speed of the analysis shouldn’t be based on his speed, but the speed of the machine doing the work.  Even if he were doing it some old fashioned way with beakers and chemicals, wouldn’t he still need to pause for the chemical reaction to occur.   I’m not a Flash fan, so I am not entirely clear on how his powers work.  Can someone explain this, or is it indeed an error?

Recommended if…

  • You like un-Batman stories.
  • You want to see some detective work, even if it’s very rudimentary.
  • You like stories were the outcome isn’t dictated by the heroes actions.

Overall:

When I read a story like this, I think about a little kid who loves Batman going into a comic book store for the first time to pick up their very first Batman comic.  How exciting!  Then they go home and read this….  Is this really the kind of thing we want people to associate with Batman?  Any issue could very well be someone’s first.  It’s important to give people a reason to come back for a second one.  I was under the impression that DC wanted to encourage new readership.  Maybe people are intimidated by the history of comics, but I’m guessing they would be even more off put by a book that doesn’t even give you the bare essentials of what a Batman book should be.

SCORE: 3 / 10

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