Detective Comics Annual #2
After years on the shelf, Batman returns to the Black Casebook! Throughout his career, Batman has compiled his most disturbing cases into one volume, its every page filled with bizarre horror and crimes he never quite managed to solve. Now a case from the past has re-opened itself in the here and now…and Batman will find himself face-to-face again with one of the deadliest villains he fought in his early years: the Reaper!
We revisit Gotham’s first vigilante, The Reaper, in Detective Comics Annual #2, a throwback to the classic 1987 “Year Two” story.
For fans of 80’s Detective Comics, this will feel like a return to form and will almost certainly provide an entertaining experience. It isn’t particularly impactful on a larger scale, but that also might be one of its strong points. The continuation of a story now decades old shows not only the creative team’s, but also DC’s willingness to explore its own rich backlog of stories. Whether you loved “Year Two” or not, it’s hard not to respect the attention to detail and love of the character’s history.
The resurgence of The Reaper comes at an interesting time as well, considering the main Detective Comics arc right now is introducing the Arkham Knight into comic lore. It’s a fun dynamic to see Tomasi exploring Batman’s struggles as he takes on enemies both new and old. This is the type of fan service that should be expected from an industry veteran like Tomasi, so it’s good to see him delivering it in spades
Taken on its own, however, Detective Comics Annual #2 is merely acceptable at best. It’s neither particularly amazing nor absolutely terrible. It sort of just exists. That is unfortunately becoming a trend as of late with annuals such as these. All too often, they simply lack that the precedence to warrant any sort of emotional reaction or investment. For those who haven’t read the “Year Two” story, this will be particularly true, as this issue warrants a certain degree of knowledge going into it. Julian Caspan has a rather typical story – meant really only to show The Reaper’s mission has expanded – but even so, the issue seems much more interested in extended fights with characters like Reaper Prime to really engage on a deeper level.
The art doesn’t shy away from the 80’s influence either, especially in regards to colors and backgrounds. It’s an aesthetic that I can definitely appreciate, but it did start to become a bit stale towards the end. This may have been because of the extended length of the issue. Overall, it’s a fun enough book to look at though.
The continuation of the “Year Two” story was a great nod from the talented creative team and a unique way of using the Annual format. It’s unfortunate that the issue isn’t all that great, but there is still a lot to enjoy for fans of Detective Comics.
Plus, who doesn’t want more Eraser!?
Detective Comics Annual #2 is full of 1980's fan service featuring characters from the "Year Two" story, but unfortunately, it just doesn't really go anywhere meaningful. It's still a fun read though, and hopefully there is more to come from Batman's Black Casebook in the near future!
Detective Comics Annual #2: Adam Raised a Cain
- Writing - 7/107/10
- Storyline - 7/107/10
- Art - 8/108/10
- Color - 8.5/108.5/10
- Cover Art - 8.5/108.5/10