Review: Detective Comics #1040
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writers: Mariko Tamaki and Dan Watters
Art: Dan Mora and Max Raynor
Colors: Jordie Bellaire and Arif Prianto
Letters: Aditya Bidikar and Rob Leigh
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Bruce Wayne spends the weekend in jail and has to deal with an even bigger problem than that and what did happen to Man-Bat/ Kirk Langstrom?
Last issue the prospect of Bruce Wayne going to jail seemed to be a dead end of an idea. “Bruce Wayne, Murderer?” is a story we’ve seen before, however in Detective Comics #1040 Marko Tamaki uses it in a way that not only fits Bruce’s character it also proves to be a clever ploy on his part and shockingly reveals a completely unexpected challenge to the Dark Knight.
It comes as a pleasant surprise that Bruce gets off the hook in this issue. The idea instead of inaugurating an extended and tedious story arc becomes a series of character moments for Bruce as he waits it out over the weekend. Firstly, his decision to turn himself in shows his quality of character. Secondly, it allows Oracle to lead the Gotham Police Department to the right conclusion as she leads them in the right direction. It’s always great to see Barbara Gordon (Oracle) at work as it fleshes out the shadows in Gotham. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly what makes this issue work is the revelation is that one of Bruce’s fellow inmates in the holding tank knows he’s Batman.
It’s surprises the reader as much as it surprises Bruce as the fellow relates how years ago he saw Batman lift his mask on a rooftop to wipe something out of his believing he was alone. It’s such a small intimate moment, but it works for this issue because it gives Bruce a challenge- how does he address this? Can he simply deny it? Can he convince him otherwise? The flashback sequence includes a little bit more than this simple moment and it’s a treat as well.
We get to see the Batman and the Joker in an incident that we know is years ago, but Dan Mora and Jordie Bellaire allow the art to express this as well. Mora seems to channel just a bit of Norm Breyfogle recalling the artist’s run on Detective Comics in the late ’80’s and early 90’s. Additionally, the scene is colored more like the comics of that day as well that further cement the incident in the past and clearly a different era. It’s a nice touch that is subtle but at the same time demonstrates how critical the art and colors are to the storytelling.
The back up tale chronicling the death of Kirk Langstrom starts out sort of awkward, but finishes strong and gets right into Kirk’s character in way I’ve never experienced before. Don’t skip this as it’s a great little story, but also it sets up forthcoming issues of Detective Comics. Plus, it depicts Batman’s trepidation at having to explain to Francine Langstrom, Kirk’s ex-wife what happened to Kirk. Great, deep character stuff! Well done Dan Watters, Max Raynor and Arif Prianto!
This issue was not what I was expecting and thus ends up having no significant complaints, the things that could’ve detracted got turned upside down and were wonderful surprises instead.
Detective Comics #1040 keeps the train chugging along on this run! It’s a change of pace issue that wraps up a few ideas while at the same time teasing some new ideas. Amongst it all is a clever story and multiple moments that address Bruce Wayne’s character.