Detective Comics #1062 is the opening act of Ram V’s time on the book. Promising operatic darkness, and a new enticing mystery this arc –and run– is sure to be an interesting one. I’m delighted to get a chance to review it, as Ram V is one of my favorite writers at DC right now. His work can be found on Justice League: DarkHe was wonderful and made me so excited to see him succeed. Detective Comics.
This first issue does an excellent job setting the stage for Ram V’s first arc. It has a distinct tone and reflects the promise that Ram V will present a Gotham opera with Batman. After hearing this and looking at the gorgeous preview art and covers, I kept calling this arc. Batman of the OperaThat feeling is evident from page one. Not only does Bruce Wayne no-show for his seat at Gotham’s showing of L’auriga but the book’s overall feeling matches the tone, from it’s title page to the narration running through it. Even characters later introduced have the same designs as those in operas and personalities that would be appropriate for the medium.
The issue wastes no time in setting up the plot going forward by quickly dropping readers and Batman into the mystery he’ll be investigating. Batman is pursuing a gang of smugglers while Bruno Maroni appears. The man transforms from a normal guy to a zombie/monster, with green ooze running from his mouth. Add to that Talia showing up to give cryptic warnings, and Bruce finding odd artifacts and you’ve got quite the recipe for an intriguing investigation.
We are also given some clues about the mysterious transformation of Ram V. Ram V introduces new characters whose designs and settings clearly follow the opera theme. They are the Orgham family. They’re tied to the artifacts that were being smuggled, and seem to have some deeper roots in Gotham that I’m excited to see explored over the next few issues. Their introduction sets the stage for greater momentum in the next issue.
The designs in this issue, which is a great example of design, are amazing. Rafael Albuquerque is a master at creating characters and setting a tone that matches his writing. Both his younger, monstrous Maroni and the mysterious Orgham families look great. Maroni in looking gruesome and unnerving, and the Orgham’s in both setting and design. The whole scene with them transported me back to the last time I watched an opera, Mozart’s Magic Flute. This had darker omens than the brighter, wondrous feeling.
In addition to introducing the mystery, the issue also gives readers a look at the kind of Batman we’re likely to see from V going forward. Batman is a meticulous, calculating Batman. He’s also willing to help others when necessary.
There’s two elements of his Bruce/Batman characterization I want to lock onto right now. Ram V is writing Bruce who seems a little older and less tired than he really wants. He’s aging and getting just a little slower at being Batman. We get this from the opening scenes where he’s dealing with some thugs down at the docks and takes them down in 22 seconds instead of the 18 he’d estimated. Talia repeats this fact several pages later. And while neither are huge shining shows that he’s slowing down, it is an indication that something is off.
The second element is the comfortable banter we see between him and Nightwing when he calls to check in with him regarding the weird transformation that occurred in Maroni’s nephew earlier in the night. The two talk mostly about their work, but there’s some playfulness between them too. It’s a short scene, but in it you can feel the closeness between Batman and Nightwing. Added to that, we get to see a panel of icons indicating he’s got more than just Nightwing on speed dial in the cave, which promises that this Batman isn’t a total loner.
The book doesn’t push itself much farther than introducing the characters, mystery, and a few key elements to both. It does end on an unsettling nightmare, which gives me the vibes of older books. Batman tales I’ve read. Added to that, Albuquerque’s second to last page is absolutely stunning, leaving readers with quite the impression of the story to come.
Jim Gordon in The Coda
This is the first of three backups that Simon Spurrier authored with Dani on artwork. It both stands on it’s own, giving readers enough details to understand Jim’s place in the narrative, and acts as a –well coda to his part in The Joker.
It shows Jim Gordon, who has returned to Gotham in a few weeks but is still struggling to find his place after his global hunt for Joker. He’s floundering and a bit lost, and more than happy to take a missing person’s job offered to him that sends him right back into Arkham investigating. The narration has a distinctly noir tone to it that I don’t mind, and this part really just introduces you to the main players and plot to be explored further. Overall, it hooks readers and gives us the first part in a larger story.
- You like Batman with a dash of spooky
- These stories can be a great way to express your feelings.
- It’s dark, it’s haunting, it’s full of opera, you gotta pick it up
This issue was a great introduction to the new arc. Detective Comics, and Ram V’s own take on Batman. You can feel the exact tone he’s going for in its pages, one of mystery and darkness, all woven together in the style of an opera. It’s dark, and haunting, and a fascinating read that leaves me excited for whatever is coming next.
Overall Score 8/10
DISCLAIMER: Batman News was provided a copy by DC Comics for review.