Comic review: New Detective Comics creative team brings the crime to Batman
“Detective Comics” is one of the longest running comic book series in history and serves as the namesake for DC Comics.
Since the company-wide renumbering a year ago, “Detective Comics” has been written and drawn by Tony S. Daniel. “Detective Comics” #13 sees Daniel step down and make way for a new creative team.
Daniel’s run featured gorgeous artwork, but suffered from lackluster storytelling. DC Comics hopes to turn this around with the new creative team of writer John Layman (“CHEW”) and artist Jason Fabok. Anyone wanting to get into Batman’s debut series will find this a perfect jumping on point for “Detective Comics.”
John Layman grabs the reader’s attention right away with a humorous and violent opening. Of course Batman isn’t a character typically known for his sense of humor, and there is a fine line creators must walk when they mix the Dark Knight and comedy. Sometimes it’s successful, like this book, and sometimes it results in fan uproar (see Kevin Smith and Walt Flanagan’s “Batman: The Widening Gyre”).
However, Layman is able to parlay this into a great, serious crime story. He establishes his plot and sets up all the chess pieces in such a way the reader can’t wait to see how it plays out in subsequent issues.
Fabok takes a few cues from Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” films in his rendering of Batman. The attention to detail and realism is a welcome refuge from Daniel’s more stylized approach to the character. The texture Fabok brings to the characters and streets of Gotham is remarkable, but imperfect: there is a frame or two where The Penguin’s nose appears to change size.
In all, “Detective Comics” #13 is a promising debut issue for this creative team. Fabok’s art will likely become more refined as the issues go on and Layman plants the seeds for an intriguing storyline. Not only does this have the making of a great Batman story, but it shows potential as a great crime fiction.
This is an aspect some creators forget when they write Batman. They’re too focused on doing a great Batman story when, at its core, “Detective Comics” is a crime book. Nolan knew this when he did “The Dark Knight.” John Layman and Jason Fabok appear to understand the crime aspect of Batman and nail it in “Detective Comics” #13, but there is still room for improvement. They’re off to a great start, though, the series can only go up from here.
Tony Beaulieu is a film and media studies junior.