Review: Detective Comics #1033
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Art: Brad Walker & Andrew Hennessey
Colors: Dave McCaig
Letters: Rob Leigh
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Bruce and Damian save the Bat-family and stop Hush, but can Bruce save their relationship as father and son? Plus, the returns are in, who is Gotham’s new mayor?
Family has been a major focus for the Bat-titles since “Rebirth”, be it Bruce and Selina in Batman or the Bat-family in Detective Comics. Detective Comics #1033 looks at a more intimate view of family as Bruce attempts to figure out what’s been going on with Damian and how he can fix things between them. More than anything else this fractured father-son relationship is relatable on a much broader scope than super-hero comics. While it has a specific story element here, the theme is universal.
It not only is the heart of this issue, but the heart of the story. Hush has been attacking Bruce through the Bat-family and of course Tommy Elliot’s “relationship” with Bruce is characterized by the differences in their two families when growing up. Thematically, this emphasizes it’s importance when it comes to Bruce and Damian. As we get just a brief recap of Hush’s family, it is echoed in the end of the issue when Bruce and Damian finally get to talk.
Much like Dick Grayson striking out on his own as Nightwing. This appears to be a similar moment for Damian. Bruce and Damian aren’t left at odds, but Damian is definitely shown to be in need of being his own man. He certainly appears a little older as well. There’s been much well-deserved complaining about Brian Michael Bendis aging up Jon Kent, but Damian seems to be beyond his Super Sons age here as well. While there was no real chance for Jon to grow up organically, Damian has been around since Batman #655. That’s a solid 14 years, and he’s had plenty of time to grow up a bit, so this feels more natural.
It’s touching how Bruce reaches out to Damian. Tomasi makes us really feel Bruce’s pain and love. However, he also makes it clear that Damian has had a very different life experience and has to find his own way. It’s a turning point for this father and son.
Brad Walker turns in some very exciting and dynamic work in the issue, as well. The splash page is particularly good. Walker is a good fit for the character on the action standpoint, but he also does a good job communicating Damian’s internal conflict when he explains himself to Bruce. He also allows us to see Bruce moves through the emotions despite wearing the Bat-cowl.
Detective Comics #1033 is Tomasi’s last issue, and while there is a wrap up of story elements, it feels truncated. With Nakano winning the election, it seems clear that Tomasi had more stories to tell and has set the stage for whatever it was going to be. Additionally, I’m not really sure where things are going with Bruce losing his fortune. It’s an odd situation and it feels awkward.
While the Bat-family was saved from Hush’s organ harvesting fate, it doesn’t feel quite right that there was no real debriefing or conversation afterwards. You’d think as Batman demonstrates that he understands the importance of family in the issue, there’d be an acknowledgement with the Bat-family, especially as Damian strikes off on his own.
While it’s disappointing that this is Tomasi’s last issue of Detective (and one assumes Walker as well) that doesn’t mean it’s not a really good issue! This team will be missed! As the future appears quite uncertain for Bruce, Tomasi, Walker and company deliver a moving and emotionally significant story to close out this era of Batman. The real human emotions deliver on another level and are what separate good comics from great comics.