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James Tynion IV is a godsend.  I can’t remember the the last time I enjoyed an arc of anything as much as I’ve been enjoying his current arc on Detective Comics.  Well….that’s not true.  I can remember, but I’m being melodramatic for the sake of impact.

Tynion is really shaking things up for me.  Because of him, in a way, I’ve had to reconstruct the method in which I go about reviewing a comic.  I don’t want to sound like a pessimist, but my approach as a reviewer has always kind of been to find what is “wrong” with an issue and point it out to you.  Slowly chipping away at a perfect score with the discovery of each new aberration (yeah, I’m using this word cause Batman used it).  Tynion has shattered this approach for me.  I simply can’t find anything wrong with this comic.  But it’s not just the fact that the story lacks any kind of obvious errors.  No no no.  Tynion is consistently nailing the way these characters should act and speak.  Couple that with wonderful art and an engaging, action packed, heartfelt, and culturally relevant plot; and I’m running out of reasons not to just break down and give this thing a 10.

tec938.1 Our story starts off with a flashback involving Jacob and Kate Kane.  It’s beautifully illustrated and colored by Al Barrionuevo and Adriano Lucas, in what I’d like to call a muted water-color style.  It definitely lends itself well to establishing the fact that we are looking at a flashback, even if we weren’t outright told so.  The dialogue and plot of this opening really helped to define the way in which we are supposed to be looking at Jacob Kane.  I know that he has been set up as the antagonist of this particular tale, but after having witnessed this opening exchange, I can’t help but feel that what we actually have in this story is simply two groups of opposing protagonists that merely have different ideologies on how best to go about saving the world.  When you see his undying commitment to his daughter and they way in which he basically mimics the Batman motto/creed, “I’ll spend the rest of my life making sure that what happened to me never happens to anyone else”, it becomes almost impossible for me to see him as a villain.

With everything that is going on, I’m on the edge of my seat wondering how this is going to end.  If this story isn’t brushed aside by subsequent writers, it will forevermore change the dynamic between Jacob and Kate.  And that is an exciting prospect.  Sure, people like coming back to the warm embrace of the familiar, but these characters really are still in their infancy.  With Batman, the character has been around for 75 years and you can only change so much before things gravitate back to an established status quo.  But with Jacob and Kate,  they have only been around for a decade.  We are still hammering out their status quo.  So it’s not entirely crazy to think that we might actually be witnessing a lasting change to their story within the annals of DC mythology.  Pretty exciting stuff if you ask me.

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Weighty stuff aside, this story also delivers on every other front as well.  It’s got humor…it’s got action…it’s got Clayface flipping a bunch of Colony soldiers around as if they were the Agent Smiths to his Mister Anderson.  I don’t know about you guys, but I found that to be a pretty striking visual.  Alvaro Martinez obviously meant for it to be an eye catching layout, and it is, but there was a much less highlighted panel on the next page that I personally found far more moving.

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See.  It’s just Batman and Robin fighting back to back against overwhelming odds.  Nothing special, but really, in and of itself, it is special.  I mean, it’s Batman and Robin fighting people.  What kind of Batman fan could possible look at this and not be excited at seeing the Dynamic Duo just doing their thing.  I’m totally loving this story arc, but I’d also be down with seeing some solo stories from Tynion in the future that just revolve around Batman and Robin going out on patrol and having long in-depth philosophical conversations on rooftops while waiting for criminals to show up.

Hmm.  Did I mention yet in this review that Casandra Cain is awesome?  No?  Well then, here is the obligatory Cassandra Cain is awesome quote:  Cassandra Cain is so awesome that if you type the words “awesome characters” in a google image search, the first thing that comes up is a picture of her.  That’s actually not true.  Once again, just trying to be dramatic for impacts sake.  However, that actually got me to thinking.  What does come up?

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Well I’ll be…

According to the internet, the Stephanie Brown version of Batgirl is the 12th most awesome character out there.  I like Steph and all, but google might want to re-calibrate their search results.  I mean, yeah, she is awesome in her own way.  But is she really the highest ranking Batman character out there when it comes to their awesome factor?  That was a strange and completely unintentional segue, but Steph is in this comic too.  So let’s talk about her shining moment (in my opinion).

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This was my favorite Steph contribution from the issue.  And it’s sooooo true.  We all know those goofy wings were mock worthy.  And I really love when a writer includes stuff like this in their stories.  When they openly make fun of something, but can always play it off as the character’s opinion and not really there own if they were ever confronted by the creator of the thing they are knocking.  You could also say it’s a nod by DC acknowledging one of the faux pas they made with The New52 and how Rebirth has once again made things right.  And really, Rebirth has been fantastic.  Maybe I’ve just been lucky in the books I’ve been reading, but the stinkers have been few and far between.  Go DC!

Spoiler

  • Batman keeps going on about how the League of Shadows isn’t real.  Sound familiar to anybody?  Remember that thing when Bruce was convinced that The Court of Owls wasn’t real?  And you all remember how that turned out!  I’ve got a feeling that this whole thing is going to come around and bite him in the butt again….

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You know your days are numbered when Batman points at you!

Recommended if…

Seriously?  How many good things do I have to keep saying about this Tynion arc week after week to get people to read it?  Fine, how’s this:

  • You have a pulse.

Overall:

James Tynion IV is unstoppable.  He’s like this secret weapon that DC has been restraining up till now, but with his chains broken, he’s absolutely killing it at every opportunity.  This installment is just another success in a line of excellent issues that have been the hallmark of Detective Comics since Rebirth began.  You’ll find nothing but perfectly depicted characters, humorous and thought provoking dialogue, insane amounts of action, beautiful art, and a truly empathetic “villain”.  This is just comic goodness at its best!

SCORE: 9.5 / 10