Enter Montoya in Detective Comics #42 with Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato on story, Brian on script and colors, Fernando Blanco on art and Wes Abbott on letters.
Jim Gordon continues his new role as Batman in his robo Bat suit and zeppelin team vs La Morte gang (of skull makeup clad crooks) as well as the support of Harvey Bullock and, this is a surprise, Renee Montoya back in the flesh (supposedly she showed up last month, but I hadn’t heard much fuss which is surprising as she’s been routinely a fan favorite character. Her stripping of the Question mantle in the reboot in favor of the new…whatever he’s doing was considered pretty raw) and with a vocal anti-crooked cop stance is digging around the police department. Harvey feels a bit attacked, thinking she might be Internal Affairs.
Jim isn’t doing so well (sloppy) as Batman and is becoming a laughing stock at the police department. Jim calls Harvey for a talk but their chat is interupted by a call to duty. Jim suits up and Harvey is joined by Renee and I’m presuming Nancy as backup. La Morte sets a trap for Jim and they short circuit his suit, forcing him to get out and fight in the flesh.
Wow Renee is back and seems amazing, I’m so glad she’s back. The one fault since the reboot was the clearing of the “Batfamily” and fringe Gothamite members only to triple the amount since (with a less cohesive feel as a unit, it’s all very fractured) while fans were left with alternate versions of vanished characters like Renee and Cassandra Cain in semi alt-universe events like Future’s End and Convergence for them to show up in print. While we’re still waiting for Cassandra (nearly 5 years post reboot, a crime) we can at least say that Renee is back.
I do wonder if she has an alternative agenda other than just “doing her job” but I admire the fervor and passion the character has, and it’s clearly showed here. This issue is pretty much what Detective should be about, a balanced story on the more domestic (in this case police) side of things with enough dollops of action to keep it interesting. Renee, the bat-blimp and the general conversational tone brings to mind BTAS a bit, which is my ideal Gotham in general so I’m happy to get those vibes.
I must commend on the art. It’s not the flashiest or most groundbreaking, but Fernando here knows how to draw people, particularly women, well. No uni-boobs or suction cupped belly shirts separating their boobs into “book socks” here. Renee and Nancy actually look and dress like actual people and actual cops. Renee in particular looks like the best illustrated rendition of Michelle Rodriguez you could ask for without looking like they were actively trying for Michelle Rodriguez (all it takes is one look at most Doctor Who or Buffy comics to see the uncanny valley attempts at trying to draw characters as we know them through certain actors or for example when artists go for Christopher Reeve for Superman). The color on this is also very good.
Very few. I’m still getting used to Jim as Batman and without a mustache.
Grade A. I usually love Detective in general for it’s tone and I’m liking what I’m seeing here. La Morte isn’t that interesting, and probably brings this down a bit. Everything else is gold.