Review: Detective Comics #1013
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Art: Doug Mahnke, Keith Champagne & Christian Alamy
Colors: David Baron
Letters: Rob Leigh
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Batman moves in on Mr. Freeze’s operation, rescuing his captives but forcing Freeze to gamble on reviving Nora without a test run.
Detective Comics #1013 continues to tell a gripping Batman tale without all the baggage that’s going on in Tom King’s Batman. There is a small disclaimer at the beginning of this issue that states that this story takes place before Batman #77. Even though last issue had a few subtle connections to King’s epic, Detective Comics has felt timeless in its approach to Batman. It’s a refreshing alternative, nearly anyone could pick up Detective Comics #1013 and enjoy it without feeling like he or she had missed something.
There’s no shortage of character moments, however. Tomasi has been exploring the relationship between Bruce and Alfred in his run on Detective, and it shows just how indispensable Alfred is to Batman’s mission. In this issue, Bruce uses Alfred in the field to help get a desired response from one of Freeze’s thugs. It’s a fun twist that keeps Batman right in character, but also allows for a small moment between Bruce and Alfred. Always “on,” Bruce can’t help himself from critiquing Alfred’s performance. It certainly helps transcend any notion that this is some master/servant relationship. While there is always some aspect of employer/employee, it is much more complex and small moments like this remind the reader that is also a relationship founded in family, friendship, and crime fighting partners.
Mr. Freeze’s situation with his wife is, perhaps, one of the most emotionally engaging in all of comics’ villainy. While Freeze consistently commits crimes and in no doubt is a bad guy, it’s hard not to feel for him and his predicament. How many of us wouldn’t want feel the same way about a deceased loved one. Reanimating the dead drove Victor Frankenstein mad in Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein. Freeze is not trying to bring life to some “new creation,” or a randomly stitched together amalgam of corpses, but his wife. There’s a lot of compassion to be felt for Freeze, and perhaps even more as his quest has taken him down a criminal path. But, this story appears poised to address what happens WHEN Victor Fries succeeds.
It’s hard to find a negative in this story arc or issue.
Detective Comics #1013 successfully digs down to touch on some emotional and moral issues in Mr. Freeze’s story, while presenting a timeless interpretation of Batman. The relationship between Bruce and Alfred is heart warming and real, and it reminds the reader that Bruce is human, he’s a real person under that cowl. Despite being intense and driven, the Batman cannot function without those around him. To top it off, this issue is easily accessible to new readers, making it a great place to start picking up Detective Comics, (but it wouldn’t hurt to get last issue, too!)