Detective Comics #939 Review

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Posted August 24, 2016 by Jean-Luc Botbyl in Comic Books

Written by: James Tynion IV

Art by: Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, & Adriano Lucas

Publisher: DC Comics

When Detective Comics kicked off two months ago under James Tynion IV, it rapidly became one of the standouts of Rebirth. It was whimsical, it had great characters, and the stakes felt real. It was everything I wanted the book to be, perhaps more. My expectations were blown out of the water, and with every issue, the book reached new heights. It has improved in little ways with each issue, that by the end add up. So I expected to love Detective Comics #939, much like the previous issues.

What I did not expect was that it would move in ways that a DC book hasn’t done in years. Of course, there has always been depth to the characters and their relationships in this series. But there’s a culmination of it all in this issue that is immensely powerful. It opens on a flashback sequence that legitimately made my eyes a bit watery. I was cutting up some onions while reading the book, what can I say?

Spoiler: I wasn’t cutting onions. I hate onions.

That particular flashback sequence is relevant to the events of this issue, which adds impact to it. But what really caught me off guard when Tynion didn’t stop making me feel things with that scene. I’m sure we’ll delve into spoilers this week on the Comics Dash podcast, but there’s a panel where the expression on Batman’s face alone is heartbreaking. Even more taxing on what remains of my ability to feel emotions was one of Clayface’s scenes. Just thinking about  it is giving me tingles.

These moments are payoff for all the incredible character work that Tynion has done thus far. On their own, I think they’re solid moments, but after spending five issues with this cast building to this issue, they come off especially well. Tynion earned the right to put these payoff moments in this issue, and he doesn’t squander it.

Of course, there’s still plenty of everything else that has made the book excellent thus far here. Tynion retains the book’s wit and light-heartedness, though both are dialed back a little bit. There are some incredible action scenes, and the issue is paced with near perfection. The art is also incredible – in fact, none of the high impact moments could have been pulled off without the absolutely stellar work being done by Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, and Adriano Lucas. They make every panel in this issue do it’s job, which is an incredible feat to behold.

Look, Detective Comics #939 isn’t a perfect comic. But no comic is perfect, and this gets about as close as may be possible. The creative team executes the whole affair with utter perfection. Just when I thought this was a series that couldn’t get any better, it proved to me that it most definitely could.


About the Author

Jean-Luc Botbyl

Jean-Luc is a grizzled veteran of We the Nerdy. Most days, he just wonders why he hasn't been formally fired. Follow him on Twitter at @J_LFett to make him feel validated.