Detective Comics #1023
After it’s revealed that Harvey Dent’s deteriorating condition was a result of a master plan that Joker’s had in his back pocket for some time now, Batman must race against the clock to save his former friend before Two-Face is able to take complete control. But he has to outclass both Hugo Strange and The Mad Hatter to do it!
I have some mixed feelings.
“Joker War” is on its way and while I’m excited, I’m starting to get that feeling of fatigue over how often he’s used in comparison to Batman’s other villains. When this Detective Comics arc started, I was excited at the prospect that Two-Face was getting the same treatment that Mr. Freeze had gotten only a few issues prior, but then we got the sudden twist that he was just a pawn in the larger plot that the Joker had going on – even the reveal of what he was looking for under the tunnels was interesting, but I’m ready for this series to focus on the more underused villains instead of Joker’s increasingly convoluted plots.
However, the rest of the issue was absolutely fantastic. After it was revealed that the reason Harvey was losing control of the Two-Face personality was because of a plan Joker started way back when he wore his own face with Mad Hatter and Hugo Strange, Batman goes on the prowl to search for his old enemies and stop Harvey from permanently being replaced by Two-Face.
The team of Brad Walker on pencils, Andrew Hennessy on inks, Brad Anderson on colors and Rob Leigh on letters had definitely been one of my favorite rotating teams on this series. Walker’s style is definitely one of the more dynamic that DC has right now as he utilizes a lot of low angle shots and splash pages to show off how cool Batman is when he’s brooding or fighting. Speaking of the fighting, every hit that Batman or Harvey makes when he arrives are swift, impactful and really got me on the edge of my seat thanks to Leigh’s excellent sound effects and word bubble placement.
Hennessy’s inks really help to emphasize the action as every single line is made smooth and sharp, perfectly accentuating Walker’s angular style while also giving Batman’s shadows the perfect amount of menace, almost resembling that of the Animated Series. Anderson’s colors really help to pull it all together, making excellent use of blues and blacks for Batman, dark yellow lighting for the night skies of Gotham that also happen to match the toxic yellow-green of Two-Face’s word balloons.
Speaking of Two-Face again (and also my love for the DCYou era), one of the aspects that I highly praise from this issue was Peter J. Tomasi’s decision to bring back Rookie, Gotham PDs Prototype Batsuit from when Jim Gordon was Batman for a time. Though its main purpose at the moment seems to be showing up and being destroyed when a non-fighter needs to stand up to Batman, it was still appreciated, especially as Two-Face pummeled Batman for a few pages before the hero took advantage of the destruction.
While I’m less than enthused about another Joker story, the one that we got here was absolutely fantastic nonetheless. Some of the best Batman stories are just about him stomping out bad guys so that he can save someone he cares about, in this case being Harvey. The art was absolutely amazing and the end of the book had a little bit of a teaser that makes the next issue more than worth looking forward to. Detective Comics still stands as one of the best Batman books being released right now, especially when there are SO MANY to choose from.
Detective Comics #1023: Of Jokes and Owls
Writing - 8/10
Storyline - 7.5/10
Art - 9/10
Color - 9/10
Cover Art - 10/10
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