Detective Comics #1045 offers the best relationship dynamic to come out of the entire Future State storyline. This issue is written by Mariko Tamaki with art by Dan Mora. Jordie Bellaire is the colorist for the main story, and Aditya Bidikar is its letterer. Stephanie Phillips writes the backup story alongside David Lapham as artist, Trish Mulvihill on colors, and Rob Leigh doing letters. This DC Comics series is published weekly, and we are still dealing with the Fear State storyline. But this time around, the plot focuses on two characters struggling to deal with another dire matter, and even harder, with each other.
Batman. Mayor Nakano. The sewers of Gotham. Two hard men in a bad location. As a parasitic swarm creeps up to the surface, Batman has just hit the mayor with electricity to free him from the deadly virus. A few blows to the chest, and Nakano is brought back into the world, confused, stunned, angry to still be near the vigilante he has outlawed. The Magistrate came into Gotham with his permission, and Batman’s continual activities are a thorn in his side. While the parasites are hyped up to be a threat to the city, the meat of this first story is the social conflict between Nakano and Batman. There is a considerable degree of distrust on Nakano’s end and a surprising amount of restraint from Batman. At first, it seemed this is because he has his mind on tracking down the swarm, but maybe it also has to do with him showing the mayor that he is a concerned citizen, one who cares enough about the city to risk his life night after night.
Detective Comics #1045 brings the differences and similarities between the two sons of Gotham to the fore. It helps to open up Nakano and Batman, humanizing both in a situation where matters are escalating out of control for each. There’s a touch of compassion from Batman that is admirable after decades of getting the antagonistic sociopath with the perfect planning. Here the Bat is trying to keep up, while Nakano plays well as an antagonist who becomes more complex with every page turn.
The backup story offers Batman entering the construction site of the new Arkham Tower, meant to carry on the legacy (for lack of a better word) of Arkham Asylum. Of course, this is Gotham, so nothing hoped for comes without a dark price, and Batman walks literally into it. Now the story here is as personal as it represents the city itself, of how Gotham mistreats it’s deranged. I thought the destruction of the asylum during A-Day would just be a gimmick to boost sales. I’m glad to see it has long-lasting effects in the Batman titles, and I look forward to seeing how this develops.
Tamaki and Phillips have the inside scoop on what makes Batman not just a hero but humane. They pull out his humanity and make it more tangible, a quality I haven’t seen in the character in some time. They also are great at broadening the political and social aspects of Gotham, which makes the city more real and thus offers a better, fully realized setting. On the art side, Mora and Lapham are two artists with drastically different styles, but both fit the mood for their respective stories. Mora gives detailed renderings full of nice added layers with sleek moves, an even dose of details with intense shading. The sewer sequences alone are brilliant displays of penciling, inking, and color usage, the last one credit to the skill of Bellaire. Lapham’s style is more direct, old school, relying on simple drawings that render well and add to the humanizing factor of Phillip’s tale. While both Bellaire and Mulvihill are on different wavelengths with the colors of this issue, both excel in their use. Bellaire kills it with bright splashes of neon hues in the absolute black inks, while Mulvihill dims the mood to fit the bill with weathered colors that give the story a moody vibe. And there are no complaints about the letterings by Bidikar and Leigh. Everything is where it needs to be, and words pop at the perfect time.
Detective Comics #1045 is two grim tales for the price of one. The first is dramatic, tense, and a superb character study of two driven individuals at odds. The second is a straightforward plot of a hero searching for answers and the foulness found along the way. Both are great and some of the best things I’ve read during this often anticlimactic standoff known as Fear State. While it’s had some high notes as in recent issues of Nightwing, it’s been mainly run of the mill. But this issue represents what this story is doing to Gotham, to the mayor’s office, and reminds readers that more is going on than just the Magistrate rule. I’m glad I got back onto Detective Comics. And with a weekly run, I don’t have to wait long to see what happens next.
Detective Comics #1045 is available now wherever comic books are sold.
Detective Comics #1045
Detective Comics #1045 is two grim tales for the price of one. The first is dramatic, tense, and a superb character study of two driven individuals at odds. The second is a straightforward plot of a hero searching for answers and the foulness found along the way. Both are great and some of the best things I’ve read during this often anticlimactic standoff known as Fear State.
William J. Jackson is a small town laddie who self publishes books of punk genres, Victorian Age superheroes, rocket ships, and human turmoil. He loves him some comic books, Nature, Star Trek, and the fine art of the introvert.