Friday, October 3, 2014

Detective Comics by Tony Daniel issue #1

Here we are again as I officially open the second wave of my Batman Comics Diet for the months of October to December this year! Three months of everything Batman once more! I'm starting with the New 52 Detective Comics written and illustrated by Tony S. Daniel. Personally, I started reading bits and pieces of the more recent ones of this series which were penned by John Layman about the Emperor Penguin storyline and quite enjoyed that. I wondered about Tony Daniel writing this series because this would be the very first comic book I will ever read of him. I was actually more appreciative of his artwork. That was instantly what got me hooked with his first two issues so far.
It's been two months since I took a break to read Vertigo's Hellblazer so I'm still trying to gain my momentum in my Batman readings this week. Upon reading the first issue for Detective Comics, I had to keep myself focused in the story because I keep trying to figure out about the timeline and continuity of this one (considering I've read all of Snyder's Batman and Tomasi's Batman and Robin in my first wave and I was more immersed in their material) and just decided to go "Fuck it, the Joker's still here and has yet to disappear as what was established later on in Snyder's Death Of the Family and Batman is basically still pursuing him. Get with the program, Eka." After conditioning myself with that, I was finally able to enjoy myself--to a certain extent.
The thing about this first issue was that the illustrations are outstanding. I "Ooh"-ed and "Ahh"-ed almost every time I turned a page. Every action sequence felt dynamic and it's not every day for me to encounter a comic book whose pictures are enough to tell the story. But that's probably because, in a way, Daniel's artwork fared better than the actual writing itself. I'm not entirely convinced that the tonality of his narrative suited a Batman story. There was something conceited and self-aware about it that made me pause every now and then, wondering why that particular dialogue box or narration was placed in that page at all. Maybe I'm being too hard because overall it was a great, daring adventure. Batman chases leads about the Joker. Bruce Wayne has a new girlfriend who is also a journalist. And we get the Dollmaker as the other main villain for the plot that Daniel is crafting for his line-up. It's pretty cool, I can give him that, but the characterizations of our hero and the supporting cast have yet to impress me or at least give me something to discuss in length for this review.

What made me giggle and uncomfortable at the same time was that brief monologue from Batman as he contemplated why the Joker was naked when he found him in the beginning pages. He then had followed it up with the most awkward question ever: DOES THE JOKER ALWAYS TAKE OFF HIS CLOTHES BEFORE HE COMMITS A CRIME? I had to do a double-over to make sure I fucking just read that. To be fair, that's not really the exact statement but it might as well have been the unintended interpretation. Here is the said panel:

This issue ended nicely with that memorably disgusting spread of the Joker's face being surgically removed by the Dollmaker. I almost forgot how gross it was. For that ending shot, I'm giving this issue a higher rating than I'm supposed to. I'll try to be fair because it's the first issue after all. I definitely want to see what Daniel intends to do next.


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