Monday, November 3, 2014

Detective Comics by John Layman issue #23

THIS WAS EXCITING! It wasn't flawless entirely, but this was definitely a story so evenly paced that I can overlook and even forgive some of its technical problems. I should have read this before the Villains Month issues for Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn but I'm glad I didn't, considering how much I nerdraged over the Harley issue last night. This effectively cleansed my Bat-palette then, and provided me with an entertaining roster of great dialogue, an interestingly layered narrative and some enjoyable action sequences thrown in the mix for good measure.

Bat and Mouse is the second installment to the Wrath-cop-killer storyline, Fabok retained the same artistic atmosphere in his illustrations though the pages here have more brightness to them than the previous one. As for the characterization: I'm pleased we get more page time for Bruce Wayne and Alfred. I think this is my favorite kind of Bruce Wayne, this New 52 version where it's universally acknowledged that he's the financial benefactor for Batman Incorporated which meant that he's a man who is making a difference not only in Gotham City but also in the rest of the world. I was never a fan of the billionaire playboy persona; I much liked Bruce Wayne as a world-class philanthropist who funds crime-fighters for different nations.

Speaking of which, his growing rivalry with Caldwell Industries is becoming very fascinating, considering said corporation and its founder seems to find itself getting involved in shady operations.

The revelation that Caldwell himself is Wrath does not surprise. He's a distorted mirror version of Bruce Wayne as Batman. A wealthy and successful businessman who creates military weapons for mass destruction and is interested in acquiring Wayne technology to improve his stock, considering Wayne Tech also provides Batman with his gear and other equipment. So far I think Caldwell is a formidable villain and quite a malicious one. He provides bulletproof vests for the GCPD as a businessman by day but then roams the streets to execute them through fatal headshots by night.

What a sick, opportunistic fucker. I can't wait until Batman puts him down in the next issue but not before we get more interesting scenes with them together first! This issue actually follows the a storyline from the second annual for Detective Comics. I was told that I won't have to read that first before this story which was good because I read this one next and will only start on the second annual right after posting this review. John Layman continues to impress me a lot lately, most especially his collaborative work with Andy Clarke in the backup story about Kirk Langstorm and the Man-Bat. I never expected it to grow on me so quickly. I think it's one of my favorite standalones now from New 52. It was engaging and earnest in ways that defied my expectations. I look forward to reviewing the Villains Month issue for Man-Bat after the second annual. Let's do this!


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