This issue of Detective Comics is NOT illustrated by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato!!!
Usually I save the art talk for the last paragraph in my reviews, but opening this book up and finding out that Fernando Blanco did the art and not Manapul & Buccellato was a huge let down. For those of you who are unaware, the previous issues of Detective were not only written by Manapul & Buccellato but also drawn by them. And their work is what I would call art. Not just comic book art, but actual art. So I mean no disrespect to Blanco as an artist, but when compared with the level of work that Manapul & Buccellato typically turned out, Blanco’s stuff just doesn’t measure up. I’d also like to point out that, while Blanco does an acceptable job, it’s not the kind of art I expect to find in one of the flagship titles of the DC Universe. Detective is one of their $3.99 books, and I hold those to a slightly higher standard. At least Blanco drew Maggie Sawyer as a woman…
Looking at the picture of Maggie above, I’m sure some of you are thinking that Blanco’s work doesn’t look as subpar as I seem to be implying. But the truth of the matter is, that image is misleading. All the face shots of Maggie in this issue seem to have been given far more attention by Blanco than any other image in the entire book. See for yourself.
Plot wise, I didn’t really feel like there was all that much to sink one’s teeth into. If I had to boil it down to bare essentials, it’s basically about Harvey deciding whether or not he wants to join the Bat Task Force. The majority of the book is simply scenes of dialogue shared between characters debating the dilemma at hand. There is also some setup for the major challenge that the G.C.P.D. will be facing in future issues, but at the moment that takes a backseat to all the small talk going on.
Not only was the art in the book unexpected, but the actions of one of the characters is also particularly out of left field. Harvey Bullock wants to find the real Batman. For those of you who are also reading Catwoman, this may seem like a similar plot point since she also decides to go looking for Batman. The main difference here, is that I can completely understand Selina’s motivation for doing what she does, while on the other hand, I have no idea as to why Bullock would want to locate Batman. Harvey has always been very adversarial towards Batman and adamant that the city doesn’t need him. I’m not sure if it is something that is going to be revealed later, but at the moment it is rather puzzling. The only thing I can think of is that Harvey’s disapproval of Batman was more for show than anything else, and that even if it wasn’t, perhaps he recognizes that Batman is a necessary “evil”.
The issue closes out with a bar fight followed up by a midnight excursion to a taco stand. To be perfectly honest, I was torn. On my first read through, the scenes felt really weird. But on my second read through, I kinda felt like they made sense. They had a sort of cliche 80s cop movie vibe to them. Depending on your preferences, that is either a good or bad thing. But I think I get what the creative team was going for, so I’m going to accept it as quirky fun rather than ridiculous.
- Nancy Yip is a bad guy! Ok now, THAT I did not see coming at all. Genuinely surprised for a change.
- Lots of people now know that Harley Quinn made her first appearance on Batman: The Animated Series, but Renee Montoya also got her start due to the show.
- You’re a fan of Renee Montoya. She finally gets her debut to the New52 in this issue…er..DCYou…or whatever it is they are calling it now.
- You’re a fan of cop dramas. Without a real super hero element present, that is more what this book seems to be going for now.
It’s a real shame that Manapul & Buccellato didn’t contribute to art duties for this issue. Other than that, if you are coming here looking for some super heroing, then I should advise you to look elsewhere. The book is definitely more of a police procedural/drama at the moment. While there is nothing wrong with that, I’m just not sure how much interest that is going to generate among the book’s current fan base.
SCORE: 6 / 10