Detective Comics #988
It looks like the kind of murder case too ordinary to draw the attention of Batman...but once the World’s Greatest Detective gets involved, the identity of the victim completely unravels—and leads to a conspiracy among some of the Dark Knight’s strangest foes!
Following Bryan Hill’s epic Detective Comics run which turned out to be a precursor to his Batman and the Outsiders series, writer James Robinson comes in as a guest for his “Deface the Face” arc. The first issue turned out to be an incredibly entertaining Batman story that brings the character back to the basics, as emphasized by Batman when he tells Commissioner Gordon “Bottom line, this is a mystery, and I’m a detective”.
Although the issue focuses on the core traits of Batman by introducing a simple murder and creating a classic “whodunit” story, Robinson is able to create a level of emotional tension in the issue that really resonates. With only a few brief mentions of Selina’s name, we know that this is a Batman who is struggling. He is returning to what is comfortable for him, what he is best at, which is being a detective. As the Worlds Greatest Detective, Bruce can shift his thoughts away from the past and focus on getting the job done. What makes this truly interesting, however, is that the story feels like it is following a Batman who is running away from something, despite all that is happening in Gotham.
With Robinson’s story hitting all of the right buttons, artists Stephen Segovia, Ivan Plascencia, and Rob Leigh certainly had their work cut out for them. Together, they accomplished something truly great. The artistic direction is beyond beautiful. It actually punctuates the emotional undertones and brings out the best parts of the story uniquely well. The colors helped particularly well during Batman’s fight with the Fireflies, where the darkness can be contrasted more easily. It makes me wonder what they could do with some other villains in Gotham, so this is definitely a creative team that has me wanting more!
Although the final page that acts as a cliffhanger is a bit routine in its introduction of the rise of Kobra, the most important aspect of the story is simply its heart. The creative team managed to tell a heartfelt story that uses the character’s more recent mythology in an interesting, but more importantly, meaningful way.
Detective Comics #988 draws on Batman’s more recent troubled past while bringing the character back to the basics. It’s a truly heartfelt story about the World’s Greatest Detective that any fan can jump right into and immediately enjoy!
Detective Comics #988: Why Do I Feel So Alone?
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 9/109/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 10/1010/10