Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Detective Comics by Peter J. Tomasi issues #48-49

Once again, I skipped issue #47 because it's an installment for the Robin Wars crossover arc that I am not reading. I did read this title's feature of it, though since it was the third in its chronological order of issues, but nothing made sense to me at all. So fuck that, and let's talk about Peter J. Tomasi's second arc for his run in Detective Comics entitled The Bronze Age. I decided to do a combined review for its first two issues because they were quite amazing to read back-to-back, mostly because it's a serial-killer story, and everyone loves a good serial-killer story. Before I get to that intriguing plot, I just want to say that Tomasi's characterization of Jim Gordon as Batman Regent (that's how I've nicknamed him, by the way) is my most favorite which shouldn't come as a surprise. Tomasi knows how to humanize his heroes very well. Much like with Bruce Wayne, Tomasi never fails to drive home that Jimbo is a parent (his last arc even had him singing a lullaby to an ancient baby creature AND IT MADE ME TEAR UP). 

The opening pages for issue #48 featured Jimbo hanging around the apartment complexes, looking at normal people having normal lives just to remind himself what he is fighting for. He does this again by #49 as he observes his daughter Barbara making dinner for herself. This was after news of a serial killer was put out there. It doesn't matter that Barbara is a crime-fighting vigilante herself because she is still Jim's little girl, and so his first instinct is to always see to it that she's safe no matter what. These small moments in the issues so far has solidified Tomasi's human characterization, and I for one am glad that he doesn't hesitate to portray that to readers. If any DC writer knows how to expose the tender insides of superheroes, it's Tomasi!

For The Bronze Age arc, Tomasi worked with artist Fernando Pasarin with Matt Ryan and Chris Sotomayor as inker and colorist respectively. The ambiance and visual intrigue of their illustrations are as sinister and captivating as Tomasi's narrative for the serial killer whose profile from what I gather is that of a pathological (mask-adorning) history buff recreating popular heroes (via posing people he murdered in costumes) not just from American history but from other countries as well. While on patrol, Batman Regent stumbles upon a corpse posed as George Washington. Later, he would fetch a corpse dressed as Neil Armstrong hanging from a tall skyscraper, and save a woman from being burned alive on a stake resembling the death of canonized saint and martyr Jeanne D'Arc.

As Gordon tries to piece together the clues and catch an attention-seeking whore of a killer, issue #49 ends with this:

Most of the pages of both issues feature investigative work with Jimbo and Harvey Bullock as they track down possible victims and try to find a reliable pattern of the murders being committed by this relentless psychopath. Some pages, on the other hand, allow readers to see for themselves how twisted said killer was by having him recite weird-ass lines since he was basically performing monologues whether or not someone is listening to him. When there are people listening to him, their collective expressions definitely reflect my own because I don't know what the fuck this guy was babbling about and what motivates him to pose his victims like heroes from the past. All I know is that he targets victims who seemed to be upstanding citizens who have no criminal record (one of the two known victims was even a firefighter). His methods of killing are precise too; a history buff at heart, this unnamed serial killer even use guns with bullets that belong to colonial times. You know, so he can capture the essence of warfare back then or something. But the real kicker is those plethora of facial masks he owns and puts on:

I only have one issue to read and review tomorrow. I have to wait for next month's release alongside Fawkes' issues #11-12 for Robin: Son of Batman. I don't know if this serial-killer story wraps up by #50 and if it does, I certainly hope its resolution doesn't feel rushed. The premise of the story has been fascinating so far, and I could only trust in Tomasi to deliver a splendid pay-off and a riveting revelation of who the killer is and why he does what he does. 


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