Review: DETECTIVE COMICS #1003
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Art: Brad Walker & Andrew Hennessey
Colors: Nathan Fairbairn
Letters: Rob Leigh
Reviewed by: Matthew Lloyd
Whatever you’re thinking about the Arkham Knight, you’re probably wrong…
While Batman searches for Damian, having learned that he’s gone missing, Damian, himself, is face to face with the Arkham Knight. After a brief confrontation, the Knight let’s him go, seeing him as a victim of the Batman. But, in the process Damian has been shown the Knight’s true face. Damian leaves and is soon found by Batman.
Damian tells Bruce all he can about the Knight, including drawing a picture of the Knight’s true face. It doesn’t get any matches on any data bases Bruce runs it through. They decide to enter Arkham Asylum, where Damian claims he was being held. But, they go underwater, and when they arrive, they see they are a little late, the Knight has departed with a number of Arkham inmates and left one man to tell the tale…..
The surprise under the cowl is easily the biggest positive of the issue. Not only is it surprising, but it is surprising on multiple levels. It’s such a fun reveal, that I don’t want to spoil it here. Additionally, even the way in which the Knight’s identity is named proves to be a shock. Tomasi, while allowing us to see the Knight’s face in the first couple pages, waits for the final page to tell the reader who it is. It’s significant that it is someone with a connection to the greater Bat-universe, though someone I”m sure no one has thought of. Even the Arkham Knight’s real name evokes something else entirely…though, I can’t imagine the Knight singing “The Girl from Ipanema.”
There’s some fun this issue, as well. Damian gets in full Adam West mode when he pilots the Bat-sub on their way to Arkham. It’s even a little humorous as Bruce begrudgingly gives in to Damian’s request to drive. It’s not only a common father/son trope, it shows Bruce’s humanity and provides a point of relevance between the Dark Knight and the reader.
Continuing with Damian, his skill as an artist proves not only useful, but intriguing as he draws the Arkham Knight’s real face so that Bruce can utilize the image in the data bases. This instance allows Bruce and Damian to consider Talia’s involvement in Damian’s development as well as his natural abilities. There’s a clear contrast between Bruce and Talia’s methods and ideology. This is not only a nice father/son moment, but an opportunity to illustrate the conflicting natures of Damian’s parents.
So far, this arc has presented the Arkham Knight in an ambiguous manner. While clearly Batman’s antagonist, Detective Comics #1003 goes a bit farther as the Knight views Damian as a victim, while using the inmates of Arkham Asylum as warrior’s in the Knight’s cause.
This is the strongest issue of the arc so far, and has zero negatives.
The surprise reveal of the Arkham Knight’s identity is executed excellently! The journey is clearly worth it in the case of Detective Comics #1003. This issue while having a major plot element also delves into the Bruce/Damian dynamic while providing a bit of retro fun. The questions it raises with the reveal of the Knight’s identity are probably more entertaining…. This issue succeeds on multiple levels and should not be missed. So far, the surprises herein are more satisfying than the arc which preceded Detective Comics #1000.