Review: Detective Comics #963

“Utopia,” Part One
Writers: James Tynion IV & Christopher Sebela
Artists: Carmen Carnero, Ulises Arreola, Kelly Fitzpatrick & Sal Cipriano

Review by Steve J. Ray
I love comics. They’re like little movies with an unlimited budget. They have colorful characters with complex histories, getting involved in fantastic situations. One issue character pieces, multi issue story arcs, long ongoing sagas, or combinations of all of the above. If done well, they’re great pieces of entertainment. Detective Comics #963 – “Utopia,” Part One – is a comic done well.
Delivering two issues a month cannot be easy, for comics writers, and especially for comics artists. Some titles suffer from inconsistency in the artwork, but ‘Tec has developed a near perfect formula. I’m one of those long standing comics fans that can name an artist just by seeing a page of their work. I like having the characters keep a consistent look, from issue to issue. Detective Comics has kept a strong consistent feel since the beginning of the DC Rebirth era, by having a stable of artists working on a revolving rota, story to story.
“Utopia,” Part One features the return of one of my favorite artists of today; the incredibly talented Carmen Carnero.

A Thousand Words

After Ascalon’s revelation that Tim Drake is alive in Detective Comics #962, this issue opens with a beautiful scene between him, and Spoiler. Ms. Carnero is a genius at drawing terrific character scenes. The way she captures a smile, a shrug, a knowing look, a tender moment, taking a bite out of a cheeseburger… perfection. Then three pages later there’s a masked vigilante jumping over a wall, flying drones, and a fiery conflagration. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; this lady can draw anything. The entire issue is pencilled and inked brilliantly.
I’m a huge fan of the color art of Brad Anderson, so was a little worried that his name wasn’t on the cover. I should give editors Chris Conroy and Andrew Marino a little more credit. Their choice of color artists for this issue did a bang-up job. I don’t know if they each did a few pages, or if they worked together on every page, but Ulises Arreola and Kelly Fitzpatrick enhanced Carmen’s work beautifully. They gave us sunsets and explosions, darkness and light. Great work!
James Tynion IV has delivered another tight script, this time in collaboration with Christopher Sebela. Once again, it’s not been made clear if one writer plotted, and the other wrote the dialogue, or if they worked in unison. Either way, Spoiler and Anarky were totally in character, as were Batman and Clayface. Basil Karlo has had a real renaissance in this series, but I – being the cynical fanboy that I am – am still waiting for the other shoe to drop.


I’m actually on vacation right now, but I couldn’t pass up on reading and reviewing the latest issue of Detective Comics. As long as these incredible creators keep producing great work like they have in “Utopia,” Part One, then they can count on me to be on board for chapter two.

Images Courtesy Of DC Entertainment
(Article originally published on the Dark Knight News website on August 26th 2017)


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