Title: Batman: Detective Comics.
Story-Arc: Fall of the Batmen.
Writer(s): James Tynion IV & Eddy Barrows (Annual #1).
Penciller(s): Joe Bennett, Miguel Mendonca, Jesus Merino, Philippe Briones, Eber Ferreira (Annual #1).
Inker(s): Sal Regla, Salvador Regle, Racardo Jaime, Marcio Loerzer, Diana Egea & Eber Ferreira (Annual #1).
Colourist(s): Jason Wright, Allen Passalaqua, Adriano Lucas (Annual #1).
Letterer(s): Tom Napolitano.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Format: Single Issues.
Release Date: June 26th 2018.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.
Previously on DC Universe Rebirth’s Batman: Detective Comics series:
Batman: Detective Comics (Vol. 1): Rise of the Batmen by James Tynion IV
Batman (Vol. 1.5): Night of the Monster Men by Steve Orlando
Batman: Detective Comics (Vol. 2): The Victim Syndicate by James Tynion IV
Batman: Detective Comics (Vol. 3): League of Shadows by James Tynion IV
Batman: Detective Comics (Vol. 4): Deus Ex Machina by James Tynion IV
Batman: Detective Comics (Vol. 5): A Lonely Place of Living by James Tynion IV
One of the most interesting aspects of comics revolving around Batman is the exploration of villains. From their psychology to how they answer to the law—or Batman—these stories allow fans to ponder certain questions of right and wrong as well as ideas such as second chances and rehabilitation. James Tynion IV continues to deliver some excellent stories throughout his Detective Comics series and, this time around, presents us a story that examines the possibility of rehabilitating a villain and getting the community to accept him. Although he has already introduced the idea of collateral damage caused by superheroes, he now pushes the reflection further along by delving into a conflict within the Bat Family where some decisions will have unforgivable consequences on everyone’s lives.
What is Batman: Detective Comics: Fall of the Batmen about? Picking up where things were left off in A Lonely Place of Living, this volume shines its light on a particular character that has never ever really been explored as thoroughly as James Tynion IV attempts to achieve here: Clayface. While the Victim Syndicate continue their efforts to rally the people in order to take down the vigilantes who cooperate with Batman, they also uncover new information that will inevitably feed the fear of Gothamites. Within Batman’s new squadron of heroes, conflict also surges to the surface as their goals don’t overlap with one another and their hopes for the future remain incompatible. Convinced that she’s right, it is a decision by Batwoman that will ultimately be the final straw that will determine how the Bat Family will move forward. Collecting Detective Comics #969-974 and Annual #1, this volume presents fans with the most destructive finale that will change the face of this family.
As rare as it is nowadays, this volume successfully collects a story arc that has a beginning, a middle and an end. Throughout each issue, fans get a glimpse at the different dilemmas that each hero is facing on an individual level, while the threat that will essentially bring them to unite their efforts to stop the impending chaos is slowly being built up. Completely new and unique, this story gives Batman’s well-known supervillain Clayface the chance to be in the spotlight from the beginning to the end. In this Rebirth Detective Comics series, Clayface was brought into the team by Batman to give him a second chance at life as a superhero. He has quickly shown how much of a fantastic comic relief he is and how he can be useful in saving lives in Gotham. As guilt gnaws on his conscious, this volume shows him struggling to remain sane as one of the members of the Victim Syndicate puts into action a masterplan to destroy Batman through Clayface.
While the plot was predictable, it was also a bit unnecessarily wordy, especially with some characters who had intense moments of just complaining and odd shifts in personality—yes, you, Spoiler. The development of the plot that led to the climax with a huge boss battle also seemed very convenient and coincidental. Every piece of the puzzle would simply fit until chaos reigned in Gotham and pushed some heroes to take some decisions that could never be taken back again. There are also multiple artists that worked on this story arc but the final result wasn’t as suffocating as it could’ve been. Playing with the panel structure and making sure to exploit Clayface’s ugliness when necessary, the art style did its job in conveying the story without any confusion.
The annual issue placed after the epilogue, called “The Curse of Clayface”, however, turned out fantastic and focuses on Clayface’s origin. In this story, we find ourselves with Basil Carlo (Clayface) as a child, when he learns an important lesson from his dad about faking it till you make it, explaining how it is important to hide the monster within everyone, from everyone, because no one will love a monster. As his origin story unfolds, Basil’s character, unfortunately, evolves into the monster that he was told to hide. This character development proved to be quite brilliantly executed, and even integrates an underlying sub-plot regarding one of the members of the infamous villain gang, The Victim Syndicate. This stand-alone story elevates the quality of this volume tenfolds and adds an emotional edge to this volume, especially when you know how it all ends.
Batman: Detective Comics: Fall of the Batmen is a study of character where the forces of good and evil struggles within a villain which leads to a schism within the Bat Family.