Review: Detective Comics #1035
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Mariko Tamaki
Art: Dan Mora and Clayton Henry
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Letters: Aditya Bidikar
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Batman finds out what happened to Sarah Worth and it’s not the surprise ending you were expecting. Plus, the Huntress begins an investigation of her own in the second feature.
So often, it seems like Batman is easy to write. A closer look may reveal that it’s just the fascination we have with crime and detective fiction be they television and movies or books and comics. There’s no shortage of these types of stories across all entertainment media. After introducing the new players in Bruce Wayne’s brave new world last month in Detective Comics #1034, she turns head on to the mystery of the death of his new neighbor and acquaintance Sarah Worth.
There’s a really nice juxtaposition at the beginning of this issue as we get Batman narrating from afar the events that are transpiring with the police and the investigation into Sarah’s disappearance. Tamaki uses this parallel narrative to contrast what the police are doing with what Batman is doing and allowing Batman to subtly point out why his approach is effective. It’s not humorous, but it is clever, especially since Batman finds Sarah’s body fairly quickly through some insightful detective work. It’s always nice when there is some of this in a comic titled, Detective Comics.
The Police are a few steps behind and it results in Batman being named as the chief suspect in Sarah Worth’s murder. This follows naturally from Mayor Nakano’s stance on the Bats in Gotham. It’s a real shame Jim Gordan isn’t there to set things straight. It’s interesting that the police are not completely off the mark in finding Sarah. It shows that the police are effective, just maybe not as effective as Batman in following clues and deducing what may have happened.
Tamaki saves the best for last as over the course of the final two pages, Batman gets quite an unexpected turn in the investigation into Sarah Worth’s murder. It appears to confirm that the suggestion that there’s something much bigger going on earlier in the issue is valid and the stakes may be even higher than suspected.
Dan Mora, like last issue proves he is a fine choice for Batman. He gets the mood and tone just right while also building the tension as the police close in on Batman in the sewer. Mora doesn’t exaggerate his figures, choosing to allow them to be more realistic in appearance.
As Damian Wayne gets his own #1 with the release of Robin this week, he gives way to the Huntress as the star in the second feature in Detective Comics #1035. It’s always great to see Helena Bertinelli get some exposure. Tamaki not only makes this story the set up for a mystery, but one has to wonder if it is related to the Batman story at the beginning of the issue. Both tales deal with the disappearance of a woman and Helena’s cameo towards the end of the Batman story seems to suggest this. I’m not sure if it’s intentional or not, but the woman in the Huntress story bears a resemblance to long time Birds of Prey writer Gail Simone.
Tamaki gets Helena’s voice just right. She also manages to play on some of the flaws the character has been shown to have in previous stories. Tamaki focuses on Helena’s character and makes it the driving force of the story. It’s exciting to see her presented in this way. Tamaki also throws in a line about Helena’s recent work with Oracle and with Babs’s appearance in Nightwing #79 last week, it can only hope we will see a full-fledged Birds of Prey reunion soon.
It’s really hard to find a negative in either of the stories in Detective Comics #1035. Both tales deftly set up their mysteries even suggesting there’s a lot more at work than the obvious and that they are somehow connected.
This is a comic you should be buying. The creative team understands what it takes to tell a good Batman story, one that isn’t an event, but rather one that utilizes character and world building to draw the reader in. There’s no shortage of surprises either. All this spills over into the Huntress feature as well.