Detective Comics #1018
Winter is coming to Gotham City. After dealing with Mr. Freeze and his resurrected wife, as well as trying to help the youth of Gotham in his own orphanage, Batman is back to regular crime fighting and detective work as the Winter of Gotham rolls on.
This was far more terrifying than I expected it to be. After the amazing last issue which saw Bruce trying to save a runaway orphan, this issue switches gears from heartwarming to absolutely horrific in only a few pages as we see a giant of a man swinging his axe down into the head of another man tied to tree stump in a flashback to “The Township of Gothame” in 1639. Already we are introduced to the villain of this short arc.
The story then continues with Batman solving a few street crimes before trying to make it home to relax. Peter J. Tomasi and Scott Godlewski give readers an excellent scene of Bruce doing his best to play fetch with Ace and Titus before getting angry and collapsing. In light of recent events in Tom King’s Batman, Tomasi does his best to show how it’s all affecting Batman and Godlewski gives the scene such weight with Bruce knelt down and having the two dogs try to comfort him.
Soon after, Batman receives notice from Harvey Bullock about a crime at Gotham’s Botanical Garden and the scene is absolutely gruesome. Godlewski and David Baron pull no punches as Batman comes upon the grisly scene of several people impaled on the various branches of Gotham’s largest Christmas tree. Baron does an excellent job contrasting the horror of the scene with a vast array of bright and cheery colors with a vibrant shining star at the top.
What I liked best about this issue is that Batman actually put in some detective work to see what had transpired, eliminating suspects like Deacon Blackfire as this crime was even worse than any of his. Tomasi remembers that one of the best facets of Batman is his mind. I love that he analyzed every angle and body in the tree before coming to the conclusion after seeing the bigger picture. It’s an excellent return to form after a number of years of just punching bad guys and otherworldly problems.
Batman then manages to piece together that it’s reminiscent of an old Pagan ritual and informs Bullock of such. Bruce is then called away to a tree lighting event where he is then attacked, mid-speech, by another ax wielding giant.
This issue of Detective Comics has a lot going for it - an interesting storyline, fantastic art and colors, as well as a new and VIOLENT enemy. Peter J. Tomasi has been having fun with this series and the freedom of stories he’s been able to tell and this is a stunning example of that. After months of Doug Mahnke on art, Scott Godlewski is an excellent choice for the darkly cheery story. I’m absolutely anticipating the next issue of this one.
Detective Comics #1018: Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 8/108/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 7/107/10
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