Review: Detective Comics #1019
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Art: Scott Godlewski
Colors; David Baron
Letters: Rob Leigh
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
The Norse Warrior who attacked last issue turns out to be your run of the mill Gothamite, but what’s really going on is the real shocker. Through some nifty detective work and a working knowledge of Icelandic, the Batman gets a hold of more than he bargained for!
Like Detective #1018, Detective Comics #1019 keeps the Christmas season as an effective setting, not only for the Yule-related villainy, but the marvelous subtle approach to dealing with Alfred Pennyworth’s death and absence. This is of course the conclusion to the two-part story begun last issue, “Dead of Winter.”
It’s always nice to see Bruce utilize his detective skills, and we get to see it here. Whether it’s figuring out the Nordic Runes in the snow, or the analysis of the hair sample that leads to identifying last issue’s “Norse Warrior.” One often forgets that Bruce knows many languages, so it’s a pleasant surprise when he speaks Icelandic to communicate with the Norse Cultists. His detective work also allows him to piece together the leader’s motivation and methods. Tomasi leaves no stone unturned in this aspect, echoing the Batman’s own thoroughness.
From a character standpoint, Alfred’s absence is addressed effectively and subtly. It’s easy to see that there are moments of pain for Bruce as he has to rely on Lucius for assistance. However, at the same time, Tomasi builds on this element referencing the plane crash storyline from Detective Comics #1009-#1011. Perhaps, the best moment is the very end when Bruce is dictating the conclusion of the case and the point-of-view switches from inside the study to a view out side the window.
The outside view depicts a snow covered lawn with flakes falling and Bruce’s lone silhouette in the window. It reminds the reader that it’s Christmas and Bruce is alone in that manor all by himself. It’s poignant and effective. Scott Godlewski lays it out nicely and along with David Baron does a nice job of contrasting the warm glow with the cold winter outside, suggesting the irony of Bruce’s situation.
Tomasi’s run on Detective Comics varied story arcs of various lengths. It’s a nice change up to the standard 6-issue arc that dominates the medium. Additionally, Tomasi makes a nice narrative change as Bruce takes over the narration of the finale in order to dovetail into the scene back at the manor. It’s a well executed shift that allows for the emotional impact of the final scene to be the final image in the readers mind.
The only aspect of this issue that goes sideways is the supernatural elements which at times feel out of place in Batman’s world. He’s right to want to alert John Constantine to what he’s uncovered! However, there is a element of this tale that feels unfinished that could possibly be revisited, and that would be welcomed. Maybe we can get a Viking Prince crossover out it!
Tomasi continues his outstanding run on Detective Comics with the conclusion to the two-parter, “Dead of Winter.” Tomasi, Godlewski and Baron balance the right amount of emotion, character development, detective work and action. This really feels like a high watermark for Batman in this title. Don’t just believe me, go out and buy the comics!