Monday, 16 September 2013

Batman: Detective Review

Writers: Paul Dini & Royal McGraw
Artists: Don Kramer, J.H. Williams III, Joe Benitez & Marcos Marz

I have been going through my Batman stories over the last few months, mainly focusing on the key modern stories, having started with Hush, and progressed from there. This however is my first review of a story that's purely Detective Comics, though it's also my tenth Batman review in total since Hush.


Batman has to solve a series of cases, with some notorious Gotham City criminals getting in his way.


This was a fantastic collection of comics, all being very unique, and entertaining. Most of the issues in this book are written by Paul Dini, with Royal McGraw writing the second last issue. Both writers did an excellent job in this book, but I have to give most of the credit to Dini, as besides writing all bar one of the issues, most of his were also much more exciting. What I loved most about the writing throughout the book though was how diverse it was, as although I love a story that progresses through a book it's nice to get a collection of one-shot stories, especially when they're all very unique and entertaining. I also loved how each story also had a slightly different style, and pace to it, as if one didn't appeal quite as much as you'd hope the rest most likely will. The action throughout these stories was also handled perfectly, as although some finished a bit suddenly they were all extremely exciting.

The art in this book was also brilliant, as although there was four different artists each one suited the story, or stories that they worked on. Don Kramer would be the artist to work on the most issues, having done three out of the six issues collected with the legendary J.H. Williams III, as well as Joe Benitez, and Marcos Marz working on one issue each. It's hard to pick who's the best artist out of these as they are all amazing, but Williams III probably just gets it, as his artwork is simply beautiful. Kramer however being on the most issues caught my attention more, and I especially loved seeing him draw the Joker as he looked as crazy as ever, and Kramer's tone made the story a lot more fun. All the artists also did a brilliant job of showing the characters facial expressions, adding a lot of depth to the issue as well as making it extremely easy to tell what they were thinking.

With a title like Detective you'd expect a lot of detective work to be going on, and you'd be right. It's always nice to see the Dark Knight doing what he does best, as although having his family, and technology has made it so he doesn't have to do quite as much detective work, it's always nice whenever he does. All the different cases that Batman investigates in this story are interesting, and I love the monologue narrative that we get from Batman during it. I did however feel that some of these investigations had rather abrupt endings, as with all the fantastic build-ups some of the endings felt rushed. This however is expected from stories that last one issue, and the ones that were brilliant all the way through were truly astonishing.

The second story in this book would see the Riddler turn over a new leaf, becoming a private detective. Now with Riddler being one of my favourite villains of all time I always like to see him make an appearance, though unfortunately he's not always used to his strengths. I however felt that this would be a great turning point for the Riddler, as although the concept would be played for too long, it was nice to see him go against the Dark Knight in a different fashion, sticking to the law. I also loved the dialogue from Riddler in this story, and also enjoyed seeing him continue his private detective job in the background of the remaining stories in this book.

This book would also see a lot of Batman's classic villains make appearances, with the key three noticeable ones being Joker, Poison Ivy, and Penguin. Now I'll talk about Joker's appearance a bit later, but it was nice to see both Penguin, and Ivy in this book, and I especially loved the way that they were used as it was so different to how they're usually involved with Ivy needing Batman's help, and Penguin trying to turn legit. Both encounters were extremely entertaining, with Ivy's being really exciting, and Penguin's being fun, and slightly humorous.

My favourite story in this book however would be the last one, which would feature Joker kidnapping Robin (Tim Drake). Now it's been clearly established that Joker likes to torture, and kill Robin's, even going out his way to try and kill Black Mask for taking his job when he killed Stephanie Brown. This story was however extremely lighthearted, reminding me of Batman: The Animated Series, which Dini was one of the key writers for. I also loved seeing my favourite Robin put in this position, as although I'd have been really upset if he somehow died, I enjoyed seeing him try and work out a way of escaping, and defeating the Joker.

Final Verdict

This was an amazing book, collection some outstanding stories, and although some were much better than others it was very fun, and entertaining. The style, and uniqueness of each story showed that this was written by Paul Dini, as it had a very similar feel to Batman: The Animated Series which he was a key writer for. The stories themselves were also extremely dramatic, and exciting, and I'd highly recommend this collection to anyone, especially if you were a fan of Batman: The Animated Series.

Rating: 8/10

The next Batman book I'll be reviewing will be Batman and Son.