Review: Detective Comics #1017

"Orphans"
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Fernando Blanco
Color Artist: John Kalisz
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Review by Steve J. Ray

No, your eyes do not deceive you, Detective Comics #1017 has an all new creative team behind it… and what a team it is!
You must have been up a mountain in Nanda Parbat for the last five years if you haven’t heard of Tom Taylor. The Awesome Antipodean has been writing some of the finest comics on the shelves, both for DC and the Marvel-ous competition in that time. Batman fans will no doubt have already loved his amazing work on the Injustice titles, and devoured his award winning best-selling apocalyptic (Apokoliptic?) masterpiece, DCEased.
The great news about this issue is that it’s nothing like either of those great titles.
Yes, you read that right.
“Orphans” is a standalone, poignant and bittersweet tale. This is the kind of comic you hand to someone who isn’t that into superheroes, and who you want to show how much more a comic-book can be. This shows another side of Bruce Wayne, one that’s every bit the hero that his masked alter ego is… but without the spandex. Plus, you see him as man, a caring human being, and as a father. All this in the pages of a four color funny book.
Who knew?

Eye Of The Beholder

I raved about the brilliant art of Fernando Blanco when he was behind the visuals of the sorely missed Batwoman title. I’m about to do so again. Look at this stuff! Clean, elegant, clearly drafted, easy to follow and gorgeous. Great characterization, facial expressions and action. Look at page one, with young Bruce and his mother on the grounds of Wayne Manor. His mother, standing in the light, almost like an angel, with Bruce sitting on a branch in the shadows; a clear premonition and omen of his future, if ever there was one. This is simple, effective and brilliant comic-book storytelling.
Now look at the leaves on the ground, the light filtering between them on Martha’s face, and her dress. John Kalisz, you rock, dude. Now look at the very next page, following on with the warm oranges and reds. Bruce’s childhood memories are colored by love. Then we reach page three, and the present day. All warmth is gone, and what we have is arctic blues and chilling hues. I almost felt the temperature drop whilst reading. This is what a great color artist brings to a comic.
Page four. Wow. Kalisz and letterer Travis Lanham are just showing off now. Look at the artificial light from Batman’s computer, the unnatural green clashing against the bright red background with white writing on the monitors. The plentiful dialogue, and the subtle TKTKTK of the Dark Knight’s fingers on the keyboard.
Lovely.

Conclusion

You may have already guessed, but I loved Detective Comics #1017, the only thing I don’t like is the fact that this team is only here for one issue… but Peter J. Tomasi’s back for #1018, and that’s pretty cool too.
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment

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