Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Detective Comics by John Layman issue #24

This has been a splendid conclusion installment for the Wrath storyline which got delayed in its release due to the Villains Month issues that were published in between for Detective Comics (I'll be posting my reviews for the Scarecrow and Man-Bat issues right after this). I wouldn't consider this as absolute favorite but it was definitely a solid action and adventure arc. It also showcased what the best of Layman's abilities has to offer. As a storyteller, he sure knows how to put enough layers in his plot and resolve them as neatly as he could manage. I can't say that his issue wrapped up everything conclusively (there are small nitpicks along the way for me) but it still stuck its landing which is more than I can say from the earlier Detective Comics issues from the title's previous writer. As a matter a fact, I only acknowledge that the official New 52 Detective Comics run started from issue #13 and up until this point. Sorry, Tony S. Daniel but I'm not sorry.

Wrath (whose real identity is the billionaire Caldwell of Caldwell Technologies) is basically Batman in every way except that he's a nasty piece of work with no regard for human life. He was a orphaned boy whose father was wrongfully arrested and murdered by the corrupt task force of the GCPD back in the old days. Just like Bruce Wayne, this early injustice has set him in a dangerous path, but instead of criminals, he's targeting cops. Batman dispels order and punishment but never takes the lives of the criminals while Wrath purely operates out of vendetta and brutally murders the cops whom he unfairly blames them for something that happened decades ago. Conception-wise, it wasn't exactly an original idea for a villain, but the delivery of such a character, especially the story he was written in, was rich and exciting.

The cover image delivers on the promise that this is going to be action-packed and it was heftily so. One thing I have enjoyed about Detective Comics these days is the assortment of gadgetry for Batman. Wrath, having his own corporation of weapons, can also keep up with Batsy in that aspect, so you gotta believe there are many explosions and fights in the pages herein.

I'm hardly the type of gal to go nuts over action-heavy stories like this one but I certainly appreciate superbly drawn panels that depict such events. I thought the brisk pacing was just right and the confrontation between Batman and Wrath with the GCPD to struck the finishing blow was pretty cool. I was happy with how all of this ended...or not ended. There is a surprise twist by the ending pages. It made me go, "Oooohh" as I nod my head in agreement and expectation. Anyway, I had a few favorite moments for this issue which included that metal Batsuit (because militarized Batsy is always sexy and appealing for me; it brings out my latent robot fetish...which happens to be not so latent when Batman is concerned):

And this touching dialogue between Batsy and a police officer:

This story also perfectly sets up the next one that is more or less a crossover for Scott Snyder's ZERO YEAR featuring the corruption inside the police department back when Gordon has yet to clean up the messy motherfucker that is the GCPD and become the commissioner. That sounds promising and I can't wait to start reading!


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