By: Matthew Rapier
Even though my disinterest for reading Batman related books has passed, I still feel like there are way too many Bat-titles on the stands, when some other characters could have those spots to shine. There are eleven books with Batman or some Batman originating character as the lead. Many of these could easily be condensed and featured in a sort of revolving story format. One book that I initially felt unsure about has now made its way into “keeper” territory for me. Detective Comics is filling out nicely and has grabbed my attention for now.
The last issue ended with Batman discovering a stitched up face of Commissioner Gordon that was created at the hands of his latest foe, The Dollmaker. I will admit that I get a Hush vibe from this new character, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing as I really like the idea of a villain that removes faces and stitches different pieces together. Dollmaker is at least keeping his own originality so that it isn’t a carbon copy of Hush.
I don’t think anyone really believed that the body was actually Jim Gordon’s and Batman senses it almost immediately. As it is with any good Batman story, an obstacle is presented when he is stabbed in the side with a needle and begins go numb. The Dollmaker is planning to carefully remove Batman’s face so that it doesn’t bruise because the value would be diminished in doing so. Batman finds his way out of the situation while dragging one of the Dollmaker’s helpers along with him.
Gordon wakes up in the Abandoned Gotham Mercy Hospital with a sharp pain in his side and finds his skin stitched up in that area. The kidnapped little girl, Olivia, explains to Gordon that Dollmaker wants to adopt her into the family and that he was also a victim of circumstance. There are people he has to answer to that keeps him in fear. Gordon helps her formulate a plan to reach Batman.
Underneath Wayne Manor, Bruce digs up information in the Batcave on a man named Barton Mathis who he believes is the identity of the Dollmaker. When Barton was young his father forced him to watch the murder of innocent victims, then they would be eaten by the two. Olivia reaches Batman through use of the Bat Signal and informs him on where to find Gordon. Batman is ambushed by another one of the Dollmaker’s followers. He wakes up in a caged octagon to the announcement that this is being streamed live and a collection of several Jokers appear to attack him.
I am very surprised with how this book has picked in this particular issue. The first issue was in a middle ground of good and bad, while the second issue made me almost want to leave the book off my weekly list. Tony Daniel has toned down the gore here and given a solid progression forward. It feels like he took a little more time to flesh out the characters and not just rush through the story to get to the end. His art continues to be the most impressive part of the book though. I may have mentioned before that I wasn’t really a fan of his other work, but he is showing much cleaner art.
Even though Scott Snyder’s Batman is still at the top of the list for Bat-books, I think Tony Daniel can sit back and be proud of what he is accomplishing here. It seems like a hefty task to have to do both duties, but he’s getting it done. The biggest turning point for me is the way he took down the shock value stuff and really gave a classic representation of what a Batman comic should be.
Overall Grade: 8/10