Review: Detective Comics #1031

"Smash The Mirror"
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist: Bilquis Evely
Color Artist: Mat Lopes
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Review by Steve J. Ray

Detective Comics #1031 is a revelation. We get to see more of the Mirror’s devious nature, a ton of Bat-Family coolness, Damian Wayne awesomeness… oh, and a surprise at the end that left me speechless.

I have to say that I’m loving Peter J. Tomasi’s work on this series. I mentioned in my review of issue #1030 that seeing Damian Wayne again in these pages, after the sad ending of the Teen Titans book, makes me very happy. I can honestly think of no better writer than Tomasi to tell Damian’s story. Just read all of his New 52 run on Batman & Robin, or any of the brilliant Super Sons series if you need proof.

Tomasi’s also the master of slow burns, cliff-hangers, and spot-on characterization. This issue gives shining examples of all three. Nakano is a good guy, and wants to become mayor the right way. The entire Bat-Family appears again in this issue, and are all amazing… and those final pages! Wow! I’m lust going to shush now, as they need to be seen to be believed.

Reflections

Two issues in and I’m totally in love with the art team of Bilquis Evely and Mat Lopes. What they give us is not typical comic-book art, what they do deliver is wonderful storytelling. Bilquis’ line art is earthy, textured, and atmospheric. Mat’s colors are subtle, clever, and unconventional. This pair makes for a very different kind of dynamic duo, and their styles mesh together brilliantly. I guess that’s why they frequently work together. Just look at the scenes featuring Nakano and the mirror. The layouts and detail are sublime, and the way Nakano’s all in warm colors, while the Mirror’s bathed in cold blue, clearly marks one as day, and the other as night; one as good, and the other as villainous. It’s simple, it’s subtle, and it’s terrific.

The first panel on page 12 is wonderful; even though it’s all in shadow, it’s as perfect a depiction of the Bat-gang as you could ever hope to see. Just their movements and silhouettes tell you who they are, and Mat Lopes’ night sky, and blood red cityscape behind them, is sublime. Buy this comic.

Rob Leigh’s letters are, as always, a gift that keeps on giving. The title – on the final page – is once again in green(?), his dialogue is crisp, and meticulously positioned, and his sound effects are outstanding.

Conclusion

There’s trouble brewing. Batman and his team are facing a Gotham City divided, with half of their hometown squarely behind them, while the other half is baying for their blood. Chris Nakano may have good intentions, but he’s also one of the heroes’ most vocal opponents. With Damian in the wind – but doing the kind of detective work worthy of this title, and of the quality that would make his father proud – the storyline is intriguing, and fascinating. All in all Detective Comics #1031 is another terrific feather in DC’s cap.

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment

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