Friday, November 7, 2014

Detective Comics by John Layman issue #29

I can hardly believe that this is John Layman's LAST ISSUE for Detective Comics as well as his last story arc. I'm quite destroyed about this. I didn't want him to go just yet let alone let him end with a serviceable arc like Gothopia which just pales in comparison next to his other three arcs (Emperor Penguin, Wrath, Man-Bat). I've expressed the problems I had in the last issue where it was revealed that Scarecrow was able to put Gotham City under a mass delusion by inflicting them with an airborne substance otherwise known as the "Contentment Serum".

As much as I thought that the concept of Gothopia was interesting, the execution had its problems particularly when you apply common sense in the small details of this convoluted big picture. But I don't want to talk about that again. Truth for the matter, the issue, in spite such flaws, can still be forgivable. There was enough action and substance to it that kept me turning the page. There were also pretty cool fear sequences in some later panels. As for Scarecrow's motivation and goal, I thought they were justifiable. He believed that if a person is only subjected with optimism and serenity for a long time, and then suddenly expose them to a fear stimulus, it would produce the rawest form of such terrors so Scarecrow collects this to create more potent fear toxins. Like I said, it wasn't a bad plan or a motivation for a well-known Bat-villain who is prone to such grandeur experiments. It's the other details that if you notice long enough would have completely undone the story.

Like the underused 'co-conspirators' Merrymaker, Harley Quinn, Mr. Freeze and Professor Pyg who may as well be props in the background. They contributed nothing but only serve as henchmen which led me to believe they may be under Scarecrow's spell too; but there was no indication of that in the narrative whatsoever. The Bat-Family was also under Scarecrow's command and it was really only Batman who found a way to resist because he conveniently created an antidote to counter the effects. God, I feel exhausted talking about this so I won't. What you need to know is that this is a nice story with an okay enough resolution. If this was still Daniel, I'd just wrung my hands and let out a string of quite curses to myself. But this is freaking John Layman and THIS IS HIS LAST ISSUE FOR THE SERIES. Maybe I'm just expecting more and Layman has proved time and time again that he can offer more so Gothopia just didn't get me the way his previous arcs did. It's also a disappointment that Jason Fabok did not illustrate this! It would have been a perfect way to end their run: together. It's a real miss that they didn't collaborate here for old times' sake.

In any case, I am going to miss you, John Layman. Thank you for the stories. I will always keep you close to my heart and remember that you were the writer who saved Detective Comics when it was almost ruined for New 52. Now I simply don't want this to be the last issue of John Layman I will review for this title so I'll follow this up tomorrow with a more positive and praiseworthy review of his fourth volume: Wrath which I immensely enjoyed.


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