Title: Batman: Detective Comics.
Writer(s): Peter J. Tomasi.
Penciller(s): Doug Mahnke.
Inker: Jaime Mendoza, Mark Irwin, Christian Alamy & Keith Champagne.
Colourist(s): David Baron.
Letterer(s): Rob Leigh.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Format: Single Issues.
Release Date: September 10th 2019.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.
Trauma has an odd way to transform each and every one of us. For Batman, it allowed him to vow on the names of his parents to rid the streets of Gotham of all evil, even if it means harming himself or his loved ones. Through countless episodes with a myriad of villains, he has accomplished more than anyone could ask of a man but nothing will satisfy the billionaire playboy but a city striving from a zero-tolerance policy on crime. But every year he goes through the same hell wondering if anything will change. And sometimes, it’s important to remember what really keeps him going deep within him. Picking up where the disastrous story arc by James Robinson left off, the newly assigned writer Peter J. Tomasi (Batman and Robin, Superman, Super Sons) writes a stand-alone story arc as the foundational comic book series approaches its 1000th celebratory issue.
What is Batman: Detective Comics: Mythology about? Upon Commissioner Gordon’s call to a murder scene, Batman is dumbfounded, unable to make sense of what he sees: a man and a woman who look exactly like his parents, Martha and Thomas Wayne, on the night of their murder, dead within an aquarium. As if the night couldn’t get any more bizarre, his dear mother figure, Dr. Leslie Thompkins, is attacked by an abominable creature looking to wage war against Batman while utilizing the strange Joker Gas as his ultimate weapon. Collecting Detective Comics issues #994-999, this story arc places the Dark Knight in a precarious situation as he tries to save his loved ones from a mysterious threat.
Although the intention behind this story arc to serve as a stand-alone tale that reminds us of why Batman’s stories are so appealing to fans around the world by mixing mystery, adventure, magic, action, and drama together, it ultimately doesn’t have the desired effect and turns out to be dull in the grand scheme of things. Each chapter sets out to explore a different core figure in Batman’s life as they find themselves threatened in one way or another. The Dark Knight thus tries to figure out who is doing this and why they’re hunting down these individuals that no one but himself should be able to identify. Linear in its nature, the story also quickly becomes implausible when taken out of its context as some of the story-telling decisions could never be permanent (e.g. the death of certain characters) unless done within the canonical Batman comic book series. The grand reveal that leads to the denouement is also underwhelming and poor leaving you unimpressed by the overall ordeal that Batman goes through.
Despite having artist Doug Mahnke for the entire story arc, it somehow managed to be less stellar in quality than it could’ve been. With the story exploring various parts of Batman’s repertoire, there was an inevitable task of being able to draw emotional and intimate sequences but also horror and magic elements without making them seem distinct. While this was somehow accomplished, the roughness in the penciling was difficult to appreciate. There were also some original panel structures utilized throughout the story to spice things up but the final tone was still average at best. It is worth noting that colourist David Baron does excellent work that enlightens or darkens the tone at appropriate moments throughout the story, while the inking by his fellow comrades helped smoothen out the tone.
Batman: Detective Comics: Mythology is an ordinary stand-alone tale highlighting the many facets that establish the foundation of Batman’s stories, from mystery to magic, as the series counts down to its 1000th issue.