Title: Batman: Detective Comics.
Story-arc: The Joker War.
Writer(s): Peter J. Tomasi.
Penciller(s): Brad Walker, Kenneth Rocafort, Sumit Kumar & Eduardo Risso.
Inker(s): Andrew Hennessey & Norm Rapmund.
Colourist(s): Brad Anderson, Daniel Brown, Romulo Fajardo Jr. & Eduardo Risso.
Letterer(s): Rob Leigh & Tom Napolitano.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Format: Single Issues.
Release Date: March 23 2021.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating:
Previously in the Batman: Detective Comics (2016―) series:
Batman: Detective Comics (Vol. 1): Mythology by Peter J. Tomasi.
Batman: Detective Comics (Vol. 2): Arkham Knight by Peter J. Tomasi.
Batman: Detective Comics (Vol. 3): Greetings From Gotham by Peter J. Tomasi
Batman: Detective Comics (Vol. 4): Cold Vengeance by Peter J. Tomasi.
Writer Peter J. Tomasi has been continuously dishing out some of the most forgettable Batman stories yet ever since he’s been put on the Detective Comics series following writer James Tynion IV’s departure from this comic book run. With the past story arcs, he has shown very little promise for the future of this series and his material continues to be marked by a resolute absence of interest and passion for the Dark Knight’s adventures. This time around, forced once again by ongoing DC events, he presents fans with a story arc set prior to the canonical Batman run’s Joker War story arc. Drawing upon the excitement revolving around that event, he offers us an inconsequential tale that features elements from the New 52 run while placing an old-friend-turned-evil at the center of his story.
What is Batman: Detective Comics: The Joker War about? Set after the tragic events that took Alfred Pennyworth from Bruce Wayne’s life, the story explores the sudden return of Two-Face who now looks to gain leverage on his competitors and take back the reins on Gotham City following the wake of “City of Bane”. Bound by duality within his personality, Harvey Dent continues to show a lack of control that forces Batman to take extreme measures to try and steer him back on the right path. Unfortunately, there is more to Two-Face’s plans than the gruesome crimes he’s been committing as the Joker seems to have had a hand in Harvey Dent’s recent uprising. This volume collects Batman: Pennyworth R.I.P., Detective Comics #1020-1026, an 8-page story from Detective Comics #1027, and Detective Comics Annual #3.
“In the midst of chaos there is always opportunity.”— Peter J. Tomasi
When will this madness end? Luckily for this volume, it contained an 8-page story from Detective Comics #1027 that led me to read the entire epic-size issue that celebrated the 1000-issue anniversary of the Dark Knight, containing various stories by countless famous writers and artists that showcased the best of Batman’s character and adventures. If I hadn’t had that mouthwash, I would’ve had a tough time being positive about the main story at the heart of this volume. In fact, what writer Peter J. Tomasi offers fans turns out as unmemorable as stories could get, especially when the desperation to come up with something original rests upon the use of content from the New 52 Batman and Detective Comics run. It also doesn’t help when the story gets quite ridiculous with Two-Face’s cult and derivative split-personality issues. Even when the story shoehorns Joker’s involvement, building up the Joker War event, the story resorts to bombastic action sequences to try and save its own hide.
Although the whole volume does feel like a filler, showcasing the writer’s disinterest to try and go above and beyond what is expected of Batman’s adventures, some positive thoughts can be squeezed out of penciler Brad Walker’s artwork. Responsible for most of the story arc’s art, he presents fans with a very impactful and vivid take on the Caped Crusader’s adventure through imposing character designs and huge panels. Many pages utilize a zoomed-in approach to accentuate the tension and drama, sometimes overly, to capture the sense of danger and the shortness of time that comes with this forgettable narrative. The colouring is also without reproach, managing to remain loyal to fans’ conception of Batman’s universe. Unfortunately, most of the appreciation derives from the non-central story arcs collected in this volume that capture a grimmer and much more emotional take on the Dark Knight’s current state prior to the Joker War event. Writer Peter J. Tomasi really needs to find his groove soon.
Batman: Detective Comics: The Joker War is an uninspiring tale bringing to light Two Face’s conflicted nature and Joker’s involvement in the grand scheme of things, mostly saved by the adjacent issues collected in this volume.