Fellow geeks and geekettes, it is a monumental year and a monumental month within that year. Last year it was the Man of Steel, and this year it’s Caped Crusader’s year to celebrate: eight decades since his debut in Detective Comics #27, way back in May, 1939. To celebrate, we have a face-off review of the monumental Detective Comics #1000, featuring our own Robert Bexar, and Rob Bass! And then, since we’ve got an action-packed event, we’ve super-sized this review, and will round it all out with a surprise review!
Eighty years ago, Bob Kane and Bill Finger created an icon. They created a creature of the night that would hunt down the “superstitious and cowardly lot” that corrupted the soul of Gotham.
In that time, we have seen a character that, alongside Superman, has shown us what humanity means in the DC Universe. They gave us a character that — 80 long years later — went to World War II, survived the near death of comic books, gave us an iconic (and comedic) TV show, went back to his detective roots with Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams, fought Superman, gave us some fantastic (and not-so-fantastic) movies and showed us that, even after everything has been taken from us, we can’t ever give up. We must keep moving forward and when we have to stare into the abyss that life throws us; we never ever blink…
Detective Comics #1000, much like last year’s Action Comics #1000, is a collaboration of some of the best and most well-known writers and artists from Batman’s past. A literal who’s who of Batman lore including writers Warren Ellis, Paul Dini, Tom King, Brian Michael Bendis, Peter J. Tomasi, James Tynion IV, Scott Snyder, Kevin Smith, Christopher Priest, and Dennis O’Neil, and art by Alvaro Martinez, Joëlle Jones, Dustin Nguyen, Alex Maleev,Jim Lee, Kelley Jones, Steve Epting, Tony S. Daniel, Greg Capullo, Doug Mahnke, and Neal Adams. The book is absolutely fantastic and I really can’t pick a favorite story. But, gun to my head, the Kevin Smith/Jim Lee story, the Dennis O’Neil/Steve Epting story, and the Tom King/Tony S. Daniel & Joëlle Jones are strong favorites; while reading the issue again, I fell in love with the Scott Snyder/Greg Capullo, and the James Tynion IV and Alvaro Martinez stories. And it hit me why these stories resonated so strongly compared to the others: each one of these tales is a part of Batman; the heart, the soul, the World’s Greatest Detective, the hurt child and the loving father. While there were a few stories that might have came up a bit short, the stories by the specific artists listed above more than made up and carried the rest of the issue.
Here’s to another 80 years (at least!) of the Dark Knight prowling the rooftops of Gotham. 5/5 Bat Bibles.
It’s Batman’s 80th birthday and his flagship title, the one that actually gave DC Comics its name in the first place, has finally made it to 1,000 issues after all this time. So they threw one hell of a party, inviting an all-star lineup of A-list creative talent to contribute eleven new stories and not a single ad to be found among them. And away. We. Go!
- Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo continue their partnership on a few pages that are very much the beginning of something much greater; it’s really something to see how far Capullo has come just in this decade alone, such a master draftsman, nothing ever too flashy, always in service of telling the story.
- Kevin Smith & Jim Lee tell the tale of the gun used to murder the Waynes; Lee is as great as ever, and Smith is just fine, much much better than the last two Batman stories he wrote, let’s just leave it at.
- Paul Dini & Dustin Nguyen show up with a report on Knute Brody, the worst henchman ever, a story with a clever twist that seasoned readers will probably see coming but still appreciate all the same.
- Warren Ellis & Becky Cloonan provide a single scene of basically just another night at the office for the Caped Crusader; it’s not quite as mean and nasty as we’ve come to expect from Uncle Warren, and special mention to colorist Jordie Bellaire’s breathtaking palette.
- Long-time writer/editor Denny O’Neil returns to the fold for another story about visiting Crime Alley on the anniversary of the Waynes’ murder; Steve Epting does fine work here channeling O’Neil’s famous collaborator Neal Adams, who is curiously on the very next story (why not an O’Neil/Adams reunion?).
- Christopher Priest writes that one, and it’s the first one that doesn’t quite work the way the others had, maybe because the missed O’Neil/Adams reunion opportunity was such a distraction.
- Brian Michael Bendis & Alex Maleev provide a tale of two old men talking on the beach that is well done and satisfying. Oh man, but then Geoff Johns and Kelley Jones show up with one of those old-time “imaginary stories” that delivers an absolute gut-punch on the last page so sweet and sad, I had to get up and walk around after that one, almost like Adam West had clocked me there right in the abs. POW!
- James Tynion IV & Alvaro Martinez-Bueno take us into Bruce and Alfred’s debate over whether or not to bring newly orphaned Dick Grayson into the fold; only five pages, but these younger guys really show up and hang with the other titanic talent, no problem.
- Tom King &Tony S. Daniel & Joelle Jones deliver a rooftop mystery involving the entire Batman Family that spars around with the reader pretty well, but doesn’t quite land with the force that it seems like it should; though of course all I want is a book of Damian and “Richard” verbally sparring with each other all day long.
- Finally, Peter Tomasi and Doug Mahnke throw down a series of career-retrospective splash pages that absolutely thank all these talented folks for stopping by, but very much assert that this is their book now, and we will remain in very good hands when #1001 hits the stands in a couple of weeks.
This issue is a gift to fans and a celebration of so many aspects of what make Batman such a resonant and beloved character while providing a spark of hope that the best may still be yet to come as long as we keep showing up, same Bat-Channel, same Bat-Time. 1000/5 Bibles.
While there was a massive blow to the Nazis and massive casualties dealt out by the Freedom Fighters in the opening pages of this issue, Freedom Fighters #4 was mostly setup. Hitler Junior’s leadership is called into question by his own son, and a hero’s return is handled in a creepy, almost horror movie fashion. The body count can sometimes get excessive, but I need to remind myself that these aren’t just superheroes punching out costumed bad guys: these are costumed warriors battling the Nazis, who have taken over the world. I have to give props to writer Robert Venditti, as he gave us new and creative ways to utilize the Human Bomb in battle.
The art team (consisting of artists Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira, and colorist Adriano Lucas) gave us their usual awesomeness. The only qualm is that the colors seemed a bit too bright in said hero’s return to the land of the living; perhaps a slow transition from grayscale to bright colors on the last page, to show the world lightening up to the land of the living, would have been more effective and powerful and a better technique. Other than that, this was another solid entry for this volume. 3.5/5 Bibles.