Friday, September 4, 2015

Detective Comics by Buccelatto issue #43

Even as I type this review, I'm presently balls-deep into the X-Men comics cavern (and yes, I used that expression correctly, if you can even believe it), which also meant spending less time with Batman. Still, there are three ongoing DC titles I keep track of and still find time to post reviews for, so my Bat-blog will have some surge of activity in a monthly basis at least. Let's start with Manapul and Buccelatto's Detective Comics run whose visual work for this story arc is illustrated by Fernando Blanco.

Manapul doesn't write this issue with Buccelatto at all which was puzzling to me and though I could give the latter some kudos for taking on the writing job solo for this issue, I can't wholeheartedly say that this installment was particularly engaging. There are small moments of greatness but overall, the narrative of this issue just didn't mesh well as one cohesive picture of events. It started out very excellently though; picking up right after the cliffhanger from issue 2 where Gordon stepped out of his robobatbunny suit to fight off three goons which I don't think was possible for him to survive through. Yet he did, frustratingly enough. The three goons in question were formidable fighters themselves and only someone of Bruce Wayne's training could have logically defeated them but not someone like Gordon who is not used to such brutal combats. That entire thing felt like a plot hole to me and, judging by how Bullock and Yip reacted when they found Gordon--beaten up yet still conscious with the two goons on the ground and one escapee--I think they share my utter amazement as well.

So the issue explained that these La Muerte mercenaries were hired by a Falcone (Stefano) and their goal is to steal the robobatbunny suit's nuclear power source. Oh yeah, apparently, Gordon has been running around with a FUCKING nuclear power source inside his combat gear, and that freaked him out upon learning about it but at this point, it's all a matter of hindsight and perspective. What should be done now is to look for said annoying could-kill-masses thing and stop whoever plans to use it to...kill the masses with bombs, I assume (only to be proven wrong later at the last page of this issue...well, sort of). To make matters worse, we also get another unwelcome appearance from FUCKING JOKER'S DAUGHTER (Goddammit all to hell and beyond, DC, stop making JD happen. IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN).

God, I know how scattered my review is beginning to read by now and I would like to apologize for that. Let's remedy that, shall we? Now I want to talk about the production of this series as a whole since ManaBuc took over and in the aftermath of Divergence/Convergence big-event that came to pass earlier this year. I still think Detective Comics is a title from the roster worth picking up and I certainly enjoyed immensely what Francis Manapul and Brian Buccelatto have done since they started collaborating as writer and artist together. So I guess I do miss ManaBuc's collaborative artistic styles because it's the reason I viscerally fell in love with their duo in the first place. There is this shockingly energizing fluidity in each panel of their scenes every time they draw action scenes, most especially the quiet moments with Batman performing detective work. I can't say the same about current artist Blanco's work, and yet after three issues in, I think his style has taken a more personal signature which makes it distinct from that of ManaBuc's own, and I'm pleased to see some evolution in his artwork then. Some of them are downright atmospheric, most likely because of the colors that really brought out that eerie quality in the scenes Blanco depicted. I like these panels below:

Much like before, I enjoy the back-and-forth police drama that the story arc so far has heavily emphasized and consistently followed through. I like crime procedurals especially when they're done right and so far the writing for this story has been balancing the right tone and mood with just enough believability to keep me engage in the conflict and revelations unfolding. One notable one was about Nancy Yip, Bullock's partner (whom he was also sleeping with) and she turned out to be a dirty cop (which we were already privy of since issue #41, honestly). The developments are happening for this arc in general, but they are coming slow and often underwhelming and I don't mind, really. I'm reading this series because I like how integral Bullock feels in this story, and his relationship with the new Batman is refreshing, considering he has a real, personal connection with Gordon and therefore has to support him in his law-sanctioned vigilantism. That's a big step for someone like Harvey who is adamant about bringing down masked superheroes from the get-go. His, er, deal with Gordon about killing Yip was unsettling though. I'm just going to assume he wants to save her because he has feelings for her and he's asking for Gordon to help him make her disappear and start over somewhere. I could be wrong and I don't mind if I am because the last page of this issue was really...bonkers.

When one steals a nuclear power source, we would assume it's for mayhem and explosives, and though some side-bombing in the middle of a highway did take place near the end (I assume this is Stefano Falcone's work?), the real clincher is what that stupid Joker's Daughter used her share of the power source (am I getting this all mixed up? I got the distinct impression that the La Muerte are serving two masters who may or may not be aware of each other). What did JD use the nuclear power source for, you ask? Don't be glad you did because this is the only answer we will ever going to get for now:

WHAT. THE. FUCK. IS. THAT? Look I know they are calling it a "Jokerbot" but, seriously....WHY???

At this point, I don't know what's going to happen to Detective Comics but I will keep reading and reviewing anyway.


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