Detective Comics #994
Batman’s strangest case begins as the new creative team of writer Peter J. Tomasi and artist Doug Mahnke take over DETECTIVE COMICS.
With a new creative team, Detective Comics #994 doesn’t waste any time in kicking off a brutal mystery that brings Batman’s past back to haunt him in a truly horrifying way. We start with what first appears to be a simple retelling of Bruce Wayne’s tragic history as we see the death of his parents once again. Then, in a dark twist, we find out that the two dead are identical replicas of Bruce’s parents who are victims in yet another recent murder in Gotham.
Writer Peter J. Tomasi brings a unique sense of direction to the series, managing to capture a classic vision of the World’s Greatest Detective in the first few pages alone. Batman’s tragic past is one of the most explored aspects of the character, but this is a gruesome modern realization of the moment that started it all. The result forces Bruce to relive the worst moment in his life. It’s an introduction that sets the stage for an emotional mystery which strikes a remarkable balance between familiarity and surprise.
As we continue down the metaphorical rabbit hole with this new mystery, Tomasi interrupts Bats and Gordon’s deliberations with an intense fight sequence. At first, the monster rampaging through Gotham after Leslie feels like something we’ve seen before. It’s a distraction from the mystery that forces Batman to turn his attention elsewhere and it offers a chance to bring more action into the overall story. However, once again Tomasi offers a twist that truly pays off.
Plus, we get to see Batman use a jetpack to punch a bad guy!
We end with a horrifying smile on Leslie’s face, an all too familiar calling card of the Joker and his infamous poison. It makes sense for someone so important to be involved in a mystery that includes such particular details about Batman’s past, and luckily, the story is able to keep the reveal as a true surprise. This is where the inclusion of the monster begins to make sense as well. Though it felt a bit predictable, when we understand his purpose as a simple distraction in a much larger plot, it’s this very aspect that contributes to the success of the story.
All of these moving pieces in a fast-paced story allow some great opportunities for the artists in the creative team to show off as well. From the dark noir atmosphere in the beginning, to classic superhero fanfare towards the end, we see a distinct visual tone that brings everything together perfectly. This makes for visuals that feel cohesive while also offering something new with almost every turn of the page.
Overall, the reunion of Tomasi and Mahnke exceeds already high expectations. Detective Comics #994 is a thrilling kickoff to the countdown to the highly anticipated issue #1000 releasing next year. It is a great combination of both mystery and action, but more importantly, it has emotional meaning. This is a story that hits close to home for the Dark Knight, but it will surely be exciting to see what happens next!
Detective Comics #994 is a remarkable issue from a new creative team featuring the reunion of Peter J. Tomasi and Doug Mahnke. The story draws on Batman’s core emotional struggles to strike a near-perfect balance between mystery and action, delivering one of the best Detective Comics experiences this year.
Detective Comics #994: Heed the Call
- Writing - 9.5/109.5/10
- Storyline - 10/1010/10
- Art - 10/1010/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 9/109/10
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