For the past few issues, Detective Comics has felt like The Brave and the Bold. I’ve kind of mentioned this a lot, so it shouldn’t be news, but it totally fits: take Batman, pair him up with another character (Deadshot, in this case), and throw them into some sort of crazy adventure. A botched kidnapping of rich investors whose plane crash lands on an island after a freak lightning storm oh and there is also a pair of old soldiers who have been marooned there since World War II? Tomasi writes this as if he were submitting scripts for his favorite DC comics from the Seventies, and it is absolutely fantastic.
So what we have is a story that feels retro in the best ways, with a desire to do nothing but entertain. And that it does.
But now it pulls from Predator too.
Pulling a play from Dutch’s Guide to Jungle Warfare? I mean, there’s no such thing as “The Perfect Comic,” but you sure can get awful close…
To be honest, there really isn’t much that happens here. Batman and Deadshot have a showdown, everyone is rescued from the island (uhh, spoilers?), and there are two brief-but-meaningful epilogues. Trim up some of the events over this and the previous two issues and the story probably could have been done in two, but hey, when you have a creative team this strong it’s still a blast.
Clarence and Hiroshi are the real MVPs here, and it’s fun seeing these two old soldiers help Batman take on Deadshot. They’re loaded with personality and have a great rapport with each other, and Bruce’s respect toward them is admirable. That’s portrayed particularly well in the first epilogue, which is a fitting end to the pair’s story.
It also helps that they rig up a booby trap so a plane crashes into Deadshot. Those rascals.
Duce’s linear work is still quite impressive, with clear layouts and a strong sense of movement between panels and pages. It’s an odd thing: this issue is relatively light on story, but it’s still quite economical in its narrative. The action moves along at a nice, breezy clip, from Bruce’s preparation for his showdown with Lawton to the inevitable fistfight between the two foes.
In fact, my only real complaint about the art is that Luis Guerrero gives a few of the scenes a strange purple tint. It’s when Deadshot and the other crash survivors are gathered around a campfire that it happens, and it looks kind of odd. It might have made sense if it was dusk, and the various colors of the sky mixed together to create a purplish hue, which then reflected off of Deadshot’s armor. But no, this is while they’re around a fire that is giving off a typical reddish-orange light. All that to say that it isn’t bad coloring, by any means, just an odd stylistic choice that I don’t think worked.
It’s all made up for in some of the more dramatic passages of the story, though, like the panel above with Batman looking over his shoulder. I love the green in the background that almost looks like it was applied with a paintbrush, with the brushstrokes fading away into the white of the paper. That’s one of those cool stylistic choices I can totally get behind, as it works perfectly.
This arc was perfectly pleasant: it’s a nice throwback to comics of old, paying tribute to the beloved stories of Tomasi’s childhood more than anything. “Mythology” had a lot of thematic depth to it, the Arkham Knight saga put a new twist on a familiar villain, and the team-up with the Spectre was appropriately creepy. This story, meanwhile, was more like The Brave and the Bold than anything, and as a fan of those stories I dug it quite a bit. Sure, it may have just been biding time until the next big story, but you can do worse than some solid Tomasi.
Speaking of: in the second epilogue, the Mr. Freeze “Year of the Villain” plot gets a bit more traction. A lot more, in fact, as Freeze gives a handful of goons a mission: find women who meet some very specific anatomic traits.
Whose traits? Nora Fries’.
I think we know where this is going, and yeah, it’s pretty terrifying. Given Tomasi’s penchant for characters and how menacing and calculating Freeze can be, this might shape up to be the best of the “Year of the Villain” stories. Here’s hoping.
- You’ve been enjoying ‘Tec.
- You like The Brave and the Bold.
- You want more Clarence and Hiroshi.
Overall: You can do a lot worse than some solid comics storytelling, which Peter Tomasi always delivers. Even for an arc that could have been trimmed up a bit, this issue still delivered as an enjoyable slice of entertainment. Aside from a few odd coloring choices, it’s a strikingly gorgeous book, and was a nice The Brave and the Bold-style throwback adventure.