Review: Detective Comics #981

“Fall Of The Batmen” – Conclusion
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artists: Eddy Barrows & Eber Ferreira
Review by Steve J. Ray

The day has arrived. James Tynion IV’s incredible 47 issue run on Detective Comics has finally come to an end.
While 47 issues may not seem like a lot within the lifespan of a book that’s approaching its 1000th issue it is remarkable for a number of reasons. Most comics are released on a monthly schedule, so 47 issues would normally take almost four years to reach comic store shelves.
Since the DC Comics Rebirth Detective Comics has released an issue every two weeks, so Mr. Tynion has given us almost four years worth of stories in less than two. This is an incredible achievement in and of itself, but when you look at the quality of the stories he’s produced in his run, one cannot help but be blown away.
Detective Comics #934 saw Batman bring together a team of crime fighters including Kate Kane, Tim Drake, Cassandra Cain and former criminal Basil Karlo. With Barbara Gordon forming her own team in the Birds Of Prey, Dick Grayson leading the Titans, and Damian Wayne tearing through America with the Teen Titans this was an all-new team, for a brand new world.
Over the months we’d see Lucas Fox, Stephanie Brown and Jean-Paul Valley join the aptly named Gotham Knights. We’ve had internal team squabbles, ghosts from Batman’s past, the apparent death, and resurgence of Red-Robin, Ninjas, assassins, magical warfare, and  mercenaries a la mode. All of them brilliantly written, and illustrated by some of the finest art teams working in comics today.

Drawing The Correct Conclusion

The way this run has ended is poignant, to say the least. Originally these final issues were meant to be drawn by Álvaro Martínez and Raül Fernandez. This duo has become, in the space of a couple of years, an artistic force to be reckoned with. So much so, that James Tynion is teaming with them on his next project Justice League: Dark.
Tynion’s stellar run began in issue #934 with the story “Rise Of The Batmen”, with stunning art from Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira. Detective Comics #981 ends with “The Fall Of The Batmen” and closes, as it started, with Barrows and Ferreira doing what they do best. Every page of this issue is a feast for the eyes. Explosive action, heart wrenching emotion; rage, joy, redemption and commencement. This comic has something for everyone.

A Parting Of The Ways

Adriano Lucas’ colors sharpen the art to a point that makes the action leap out of the page, and grab the reader by the throat, the mind, heart and soul.
What can I say about the legendary loquacious letterer Sal “Sultan of Sentences” Cipriano, that I haven’t said a thousand times before? Letterers are frequently overlooked and are the unsung heroes of comics art. Having a professional, polished letterer on a title will totally change the look of the final product. James Tynion writes A LOT of dialogue, and every line that Mr. Cipriano fills his word balloons with is crisp, clean and always, ALWAYS spot on perfect.
No-one talks about editors. I have to: Chris Conroy, I salute you. You have gathered a stable of artists to illumate James Tynion’s scripts that have always surpassed all expectations. Many of these artists are quite new to the industry, but I’m sure will go down as some of the all time greats. Other titles’ art has suffered, due the two week release schedule, Detective Comics isn’t one of them.

Conclusion

I’ve loved this run… really, truly LOVED IT. I grew up reading about Basil Karlo, and was there when Tim Drake, Cassandra Cain, Stephanie Brown and Jean-Paul Valley made their comics debuts. James Tynion IV and his amazing team has brought back the heroes of my adolescence with care, love and respect. Detective Comics has showcased its fair share of talent over the years, but this run will be remembered as one of the greatest in its long history.
I was going to include quotes from James Tynion’s blog in this review, but his final letter to Detective Comics is so stellar, that I think every fan of the book should read it for themselves.
Next month sees the return of Deacon Blackfire in a tale by acclaimed writer Michael Moreci. While I’m sad to see James Tynion leave this book, I know that the next six issues, at least, are in safe hands. I look forward to Mr. Moreci’s tale, and the five issue arc by Bryan Hill, featuring Black Lightning!
Images Courtesy Of DC Entertainment
(This review was originally published on the Dark Knight News website on May 25th 2018)

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