Written by: James Tynion IV
Art by: Alvaro Martinez, Rauld Fernandez and Brad Anderson
Publisher: DC Comics
I’m not usually a big fan of Batman or any of the series that have spun off from him. Having been introduced to him through Grant Morrison and Mark Waid’s JLA run, Batman in my mind has always had the power of foresight and plot convenience, which is incredibly boring. It’s for this reason that I’ve been enjoying Detective Comics as of late, however, as Batman comes face to face with a group he didn’t even know has been operating in Gotham for a while (that isn’t the Court of Owls).
We come into this issue with Bats having been captured and stripped of his utility belt as scientists slowly and methodically go through it, in order to catalogue his tech and learn from it. This set up perfectly outlines why I like this issue, it’s the Dark Knight caught unawares, no plan made up ahead of time, having to rely solely on his wits and what gadgets he has with him. He makes mistakes, he blunders about a bit and Oh My! There’s actually some palpable tension as a result of it!
The way Batman escapes his holding cell is pretty cool in and of itself, and reminded me a bit of similar scenes you might see in an old 80’s action film. From there Bruce wanders around the complex, a massive cave, and we see people training and maintaing tanks etc. until Batman stumbles across the guy who’s been trying to retrofit all of the caped crusader’s toys for the cell’s soldiers.
From him we learn that the organisation is trying to create their own Batman soldiers (after all he does regularly do what it takes a whole military task force to do, alone). Batman is of course shocked because his methods are being used to kill and one rule and blah blah blah… That’s not the interesting part.
What is interesting is the engineer Bats is talking to, Ulysees Hadrian Armstrong. The dude is a crazy big Batman fan, probably even bigger than you, reader. I mean have you calculate the possibility of you being able to win in a fight against the old cape and cowl, down to the 12th decimal? didn’t think so. What I like is he’s this very almost cookie-cut character, the youthful science genius recruited by the army because he hacked the pentagon and knows more about technology than Bill Gates, but while that character is usually slimy or creepy or overly arrogant, this guy isn’t. The dialogue that comes from his mouth reads really well and sounds that it comes from a normal human being, his adores Batman but addresses him respectfully and doesn’t slobber over him, he shows off his gadgets but gives credit to whoever had the base design and doesn’t gloat about them. I really hope we see more of this character.
While this whole thing is going on Red Robin, Batwoman and pals are trying to track down Bruce and there isn’t really all that much special here except of course Bat Bullet Trains! Seriously the coolest addition to this series in a while is the network of hyper-fast trains built throughout Gotham to get the Bat team from one end to another in seconds. It’s that kind of stupid superhero ‘sure why not, it’s cool right?’ thing that makes me love comics and am so happy this is a thing.
This series has been absolutely exceptional so far and this issue has not let it down, with amazing revelations abound which I didn’t really touch on because spoilers but trust me, they’re good). I would heartily recommend this book as it has convinced me to finally put a Batman title on my pull list