Detective Comics #34 review

Detective Comics #34

Wow…what just happened?  This story just did a 180 – or at least a 160.  This arc started with noir detective work, in a grimmy city filled with murder, drugs, and backstabbing.  Where, you ask, did we end up?  In a city full of explosions with buildings crumbling to the ground!…Pink Powered guys blasting off into the stratosphere while machine gun fire ricochets off metal tech suits!….fire and brimstone coming down from the sky!…. still more explosions with flooding!.. and giant squids coming out of nowhere!!!…cats and dogs living together?.. mass hysteria!  For a story grounded in reality, it sure went super spectacley for the finale!

While there is nothing wrong with the action itself, it felt like it was borrowed from another story.  This was nothing like what we had seen previously. And while, in any other story, it would have been epic and awesome, it just wasn’t the kind of ending I was hoping for in any way, shape, or form.  It went from subtle to, lets throw everything at the wall, in no time flat.  I would have been more satisfied with something low key that would have concluded the arc with the emotional weight that the story had built up so far.  That emotional weight is there at the beginning and the end of the issue, but the middle is something all its’ own.  I did feel like I was missing a page or two -I wasn’t!  I could have really used something to ease me into the second ending of the story. And a few more explanations of some key elements would have been really nice.  It really did wrap up too quickly and several loose ends were either conveniently dealt with or just plain forgotten about.

But, Brandon, you’re giving it a 5??  Surely there was something good in it?  Yes, the art was still just as good as ever and there was some payoff with the emotional side of the story, even if it was a little cliche.  The action, while unnecessary, was still entertaining, but still misplaced.  Ok.  Some of these positives are starting to sound like negatives.  Maybe I should give it a 4 instead?  I loved the first two pages with the voice-over of Elena, as Annette debated whether or not to kill Johnny; and there was a funny moment with Batman and Bullock….Yeah… I can’t defend this issue!  If you think I am totally off on this one just let me know, I can take it.

SHOW SPOILER ▼

Interesting Facts:

  • I’m a little late with this information as it pertains to a previous issue of Detective, but when I was flipping through some old comics to find info for my Batman Eternal #18 review, I realized I had found something relevant for this review as well.  In the Icarus storyline, we were introduced to the Squid (a gang boss), who has a giant squid in a tank back at his hideout.  As it turns out, this is also from Batman #357 (1983), which is also Killer Croc’s first appearance.  While I don’t think they are actually supposed to be the same character, I would be surprised if this older story wasn’t influential in some way or another.

Recommended if…

  • You like over the top, insane, out of control action!
  • You like when things get conveniently wrapped up.
  • You’d like to be just as disappointed as me.
  • You’ve been along for the whole ride and at this point you have to know how it ends.
  • Despite the craziness of this last issue, you still dig Francis Manapul’s art.  Yeah, he still rocks!
  • You wanna see one last funny moment between Batman and Bullock.

Overall:

For a story arc that opened so well it really let itself go in that finale.  Lots of crazy action that didn’t fit well with the tone previously established and several key elements of the story glossed over or completely disregarded.  If you’re only picking up this issue and haven’t read any of the others you’re probably going to have a blast but for those who have been keeping pace you’re going to be left wanting more (or less) and most likely confused.  At least this Batman fan was.

SCORE:  4/10

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