Monday, November 23, 2015

Detective Comics by Peter J. Tomasi issues #45-46

I've been so tragically out-of-touch with my Batman because of other pressing reading materials that I have scheduled before this year ends, but that also means I can look forward to reading new issues together regarding one story arc, rather than just wait until the next monthly release. This is exactly what happened for the new roster for Detective Comics. I do miss the tandem of Buccaletto and Manapul, but there are promising horizons to be explored now that we have a new writer handling this series. And it's someone I dearly love and admire as a comics writer. In my last review for Detective Comics, I expressed elation upon receiving news that Peter J. Tomasi, writer for my all-time favorite Bat-title from New 52 line-up, Batman and Robin, will take over the writing duties for this title, and now he has with this simple but elegant two part story entitled Of Giants and Men and Blood on Blood, issues 45-46 respectively. Accompanied by artist Marcio Takara and colorist Chris Sotomayor, Tomasi's debut story is visually spectacular. It features the Justice League too and I definitely love how they look together as a unit especially Wonder Woman and Aquaman. Narrative-wise, the two issues had Tomasi's signature all over it which was great because like I said, I totes love the guy.

I believe this was a good start for his run for Detective Comics. At first glance, you thought he was going for something flashy with the Himalayan murder mystery and all, but since I'm familiar with Tomasi's work long enough to understand that he is in fact a writer who employs emotional resonance in his stories, this means I was more than content when the story eventually wrapped up because it was the kind of delivery and ending that I expected as a fan of his style. In Of Giants and Men, we see Alfred and Bruce who was, as we know, no longer the same man we all knew and loved. Bruce is essentially a new person without memories of his past and traumatic childhood to cling onto and therefore it was difficult for him to get back on the superhero-ing game because he just doesn't have the same drive and motivation anymore. That doesn't stop the Justice League from seeking his assistance though. Unfortunately, thanks for Wonder Woman's lasso of truth which she had bound him with as she and Bruce talked it out, JL found out in the deeply saddest way that their compatriot is simply not coming back to them. All of them looked so disheartened, especially Superman, who shook Bruce's hand as he had to pretend that this wasn't Batman, seeing as Bruce at this time has yet to figure out that he's not just helping JL by having Wayne Enterprises fund resources for their capecrusading activities and whatnot. 

Still, hardly discouraged, the League goes to Jim Gordon, the currently appointed man masquerading in his robo-bunny Batsuit, to assist them in their puzzling case since what they required right now was a detective to solve it. Gordon was understandably apprehensive yet honored that the League wanted his help so he joined them in the Himalayas where a chilling display awaited him; a months old corpse of a giant creature reduced into its skeletal remains as it lay in the snow for no one to see until now. In the follow-up issue Blood on Blood, we see more of artist Takara's talent as he quite brilliantly infused both a haunting atmosphere surrounding the investigation, and a very warm one as we reach the tale's end. I really enjoyed the panels where we see the League working together as they try to figure out what caused the giant corpse's demise, only to find out that it was blunt force trauma...which meant there's another giant involved and it's their perpetrator. Jimbo is also quite impressive with his deductive reasoning here, arriving to the right conclusion just in time as him and the League were attacked by an assailant whom they never would have suspected is only a mere child, and a very malnourished one at that. 

It turns out that the two giant corpses where that of his parents. The mother had killed the father for sustenance and then she gave birth to the baby inside the cave. To feed the baby and keep it alive, she also gave up her life, and said baby had to live via cannibalizing its mother. This wasn't enough at all especially when the umbilical cord was still attached to it, and so the baby had to fend for itself and feast on unsuspecting mountain hikers who get lost in the snowy wilderness. Once Jim figured this out, he knew how they can save the rest of the League who were captured by the baby out of self-defense. They simply had to restore the mother's corpse into something the baby would recognize. In doing so, the baby was so thankful to see its mother again that it let them go easily, more focused on laying on its mother's arms than doing them harm. Feeling rather sorry for it, the League was determined to see it to safety and out of that dank place, and Gordon stayed behind to sing it a lullaby. 

I honestly believe that if this was Bruce Wayne, he never would have done such a thing, mainly because Bruce--as much as he had grown as a father thanks to his relationship with Damian--is simply not that affectionate and emotionally expressive in general. But who knows? Maybe he could have had. But I'd like to think this was something Jim Gordon could do for a creature deprived of warmth and companionship for such a long time as it slowly starved to death but tried to stay alive anyway. This act of kindness of compassion was so moving, of course, and elevated Gordon yet again as human being. He was the one who solved this mystery. If it wasn't for him, this might have been a tragedy, with the League accidentally killing the baby without understanding what had happened firsthand. So it was a happy ending of a sort that tied these two issues together, and it's the kind of work that I can always expect from Peter J. Tomasi. I'm very excited for the rest of his run!