Title: Batman: The Detective #1 (of 6)
Publisher: DC Comics
Written by: Tom Taylor
Art: Andy Kubert
Colors: Brad Anderson
In the past few months, Batman has been through more than most of us. He lost his sense of purpose. He lost his money. He lost Alfred… his second father.
But now, a more sinister threat has reared its head, and is trying to take something far more precious than Bruce could have ever imagined.
That’s the catalyst that spurs Bruce to leave the familiarity of the cave in Gotham, and visit Jolly Old London.
Seeing Batman on a cover of a comic book with Big Ben in the background instead of the classic Gothic architecture that we’ve come to associate with Batman and Gotham is a bit of a jolt, but considering that most of us have been unable to enjoy international travel in the last year and a half, it is not an unwelcome sight.
The issue starts with a gut wrenching flight from Gotham to London. Within only a fistful of panels it becomes clear that this is a doomed flight and the perpetrators of the ill fated conclusion of the flight casually inform the doomed 147 passengers that this isn’t their fault. It’s “his”.
Fear not though. These potential sky jackers who wear the visage of the bat, are challenged by an exciting passenger 57, none other than “The Knight”. It’s great to see Tom Taylor integrating some of the great characters from Grant Morrison’s run and Batman, Inc. Knight displays the brave determination that one would expect from Bruce. However in the end, it ends up looking bleak for her.
The culprits of the 147 doomed souls leave an explicit message for Batman at the crash scene. “Batman. 147” adorns a structure next to the crater where the commercial flight crashed.
Batman is not ignorant to the events that transpired, and given that his name is left on the crime scene, he is quick to travel to Great Britain to personally investigate the crime scene. Even if it’s more of a TSA level investigation than a crime alley shooting.
When Batman makes the decision to leave behind the cave and Gotham, he clearly states that he’s only ever been able to help those that he has been able to directly touch. Given the recent events in his world, it’s impossible to not sympathize with him and his reasoning for leaving Gotham to chase down the leads on this tragedy.
Taylor shines here as he makes Batman a relatable character. He portrays him not as the Bat God that Morrison fans are used to. Instead, Taylor presents readers with a scarred, both physically and mentally, Bruce who is acutely aware of his limitations. Yet, somehow Taylor deftly uses that vulnerability to make Batman stronger. It’s a clear sign of his strength as a writer to take the weakness and limitations of Batman and use those to highlight his nearly superhuman superiority.
Batman trades his cape for a trench coat in this series and Bruce trades his apparent weakness for sheer determination to be superhuman. Crossing the pond may have made Bruce leave the cape behind, but the uncanny proximity to superhuman attributes is on full display in this series, so far.
As a dad, I have to say Taylor’s Batman has the pure determination of my toddler, consequences be damned. It’s a trait that is both infuriating and admirable at the same time.
Either way, this book is incredible on all counts. If you’re inclined to give into Bat Fatigue, and not realize why you needed another Batman book, well this six-issue series is for you. I personally wondered what could possibly transpire in this 32 page adventure that couldn’t have been handled in the pages of Batman or Detective Comics, and then this story landed in my hands and I knew it was a story that not only had to be told, but as fans who love Batman, we deserved to read.
By the end of the issue, I realized that this series promised a lot, and so far has delivered. Tom Taylor should be writing Batman at every possible chance. His dialogue between Bruce and Knight regarding his meeting of the most recent Squire is inspired.
Tom Taylor certainly has a full command of where this story is headed, as well as being acutely aware of his characters. He nails all of them and manages to make Batman in Great Britain fascinating.
Couple that with a villainous cabal that is out to undo all the direct good that Batman has ever accomplished and this book has the depth that every Bat fan is looking for when they want a more detective based Batman. After all, the name is in the title.
So if you want a Batman who feels relatable, and isn’t afraid of international travel amid a pandemic, this the series you never knew you absolutely needed.
Andy Kubert brings every panel of every page out of the story and into the real world. There are a few panels that include a few lines that feel almost unfinished, but anything that pulls you out of the story visually, Brad Anderson conceals with vivid and entrancing colors. Brad’s work is impossible to ignore and the series is lucky to have him on board.
Overall, this issue is a Batman title to the core. You get a determined and calculating Bruce beat a ghost to submission and solve a mystery. Taylor delivers the most Batman kind of Batman that any fan could ask for. Kubert and Anderson reinforce the visuals enough to bring this story to upper level Batman mythos.
Overall the issue is phenomenal.
Rating: Awesome 9.5/10