Sunday, November 2, 2014

Detective Comics by John Layman issue #22

Here we are then with a brand new story arc to look forward to, and it looked so terrific, judging by the first action sequence alone. I think that opener (reminiscent of something from a movie, actually) is probably my favorite of this issue entitled Targeting the Shield. I also think that this was truly the first time artist Jason Fabok made me swoon all over his Gotham landscapes and the atmospheric chills that they can inspire. Every illustration was astounding and I especially liked the color choices and how they blended so well together that the images just pop and crackle in every scene, even the ones that don't have much action. It looked not only good but sounded better too, dialogue-wise and that's most probably because of the way the supporting characters were characterized by Layman.

I'm referring of course to the police officers whom I believe also had some adequate page time in issue #19 (with the story The 900 and the Man-Bat epidemic). Having them making another appearance helps a lot for readers to connect and sympathize with the city's ordinary men and women and their small struggles, to treat Gotham as a brewing place shared by real people who have different opinions and concerns, and that not everyone in the law enforcement approves of Batman still, but also begrudgingly work with the flow anyway if it meant saving lives and hunting down the real bad guys. Gordon may cooperate with Batman most of the time but it doesn't always guarantee that the GCPD as a unit could ever see Batman as more than a vigilante in a freak-costume. We have read this lots of times before (Blind Justice is the most memorable for me) but Layman was able to ensure that the police are still doing their jobs and not blinded by their own personal negative bias towards Batman. And that is very fortunate for everyone involved, seeing as there is a new villain in town he's out for blood, killing cops.

Said cop-killer turns out to be a small-fry accomplice named Scorn who serves a man named Wrath. I have no idea what are his goals and motivations and I very much want to know that soon enough. Also, can I just say that Batman officially driving the tumbler around is awesome? I didn't know why I keep forgetting to mention this (I believe the tumbler made its first appearance during the Emperor Penguin storyline before). The only reason I brought this up at last is because Fabok has certainly used the Christopher Nolan design for that badass vehicle and it makes me squee a little every time I lay my eyes on it! It looks soooo gooood.

For yet another wonderful backup story with an artwork courtesy by Andy Clarke, we get another installment for the Man-Bat story. Clarke makes those Man-Bat illustrations very edgy indeed. I'm also getting a hang on this subplot because the build-up and pacing are well-even. Bullock was also quite impressive in this, questioning Langstrom's involvement and intentions for extra measure even if the suspicion was resolved later on by Langstorm's wife Francine...who turns out to be the one behind the spree killings around Gotham as perpetuated by someone who transformed him/herself into a bat--a vampiric one at that. This was a shocking twist for me because I remembered what a loyal and caring wife Francine was. I also remember that the only reason why she took the serum is to find her husband and bring him home. And now she has lost control along the way, and started using the serum to feed her cannibalistic desires for human blood. That's pretty ironic, and I believed Kirk thought so too, much to his chagrin.

I'm already invested on both the Wrath story arc and this one. I'll also be reviewing the four issues in this title for Villains Month which focus on Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Scarecrow and Man-Bat. I hope they're good. Peter J.Tomasi wrote one for Two Face in Batman and Robin and that was honestly a favorite. I'm on a roll with Detective Comics right now!


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