Detective Comics #1047 kicks of the ‘Shadow of the Bat’ storyline centered around the rise (and perhaps fall) of Arkham Tower. Thanks to DC Comics for giving us this story on a weekly basis, with a shift in art teams and writer for the backup tale as it dives right on in. Mariko Tamaki writes the main story, with the second one, ‘House of Gotham’ penned by Matthew Rosenberg. Ivan Reis pencils, Danny Miki is the inker, Brad Anderson does colors, and Ariana Maher places letters for our main feature. Art chores for ‘House are done by Fernando Blanco (pencils), Jordie Bellaire (colors), and Rob Leight (letters).
Welcome to Arkham Tower, one week after it has opened its doors. The soothing Dr. Wear hosts a press conference showing Gothamites the hopes of the Tower and even introduces them to a patient already cured. Yes. Healed from deep-seated psychological damage in one week. Right up front, one can see where the worry is in Arkham Tower. Fret not, for Wear assures all that things are under control. Control, yes. But the details about the treatment to calm Mayor Nakano, psychologist Chase Meridian, the heroes of Gotham are not forthcoming. Even Wear himself is an enigma. All the city gets is this shining new facility and one seemingly recovered individual.
It all goes downhill from here, and Tamaki hands readers a promising start, foreshadows a terrible near ending, and, in a sinister fashion, leaves out the middle to make us wait for it. Good on her. At first, it might seem like we never got enough on the new Arkham to justify going into the story this way. But no. The last issue alone offered enough setup for this tale, let alone the backup story previously written by Stephanie Phillips that lasted for a while. Plus, we had a lengthy discourse on it in the 2021 annual. That’s perfect. Tamaki can jump in and fire on all cylinders, and we are given a tense story that continues to offer us the Tower enigma from various directions. From Mayor Nakano and his wife to Meridian, to Batwoman and her meetings with a reporter, even Deb Donovan posing questions. Tamaki is pacing the heck out of this story and keeping the ensemble cast, and I am here for all of it.
I won’t spoil how the Bat-Family gets involved. I will only say that I love the big cast and the focus on Batwoman, who is simply awe-inspiring along with everything else thanks to Reis’ artwork. The only things making it better are those rich inks from Maki, some outright sizzling colors from Anderson to the computer fonts, and strong lettering by Maher; everything is profound. Richness is the descriptor that kept coming back to my mind. Every face, billow of smoke, a dash of red, body pose, etc….all amazing. The inks on the old buildings contrasted against the gleam of Arkham just plain jumped out. From the tarot card used to start things off all the way through, this new art team brought Gotham to brilliant, human, and inhuman life. Bravo.
And do not sleep on the second story because it’s every bit a winner as ‘Shadow of the Bat.’ Rosenberg offers up a boy on the altar of Gotham’s madness and its failing governmental system. The poor child is first wronged by Gotham’s worst, and things only get grimmer for him from there. It’s a dark tale spun in faded colors on the first page ( a great bit of work by Bellaire) that soon is devoured by the dark blots of Blanco’s inky artistry contrasted against Leigh’s ease of lettering. It’s a tragic tale that fits right in with the Gotham scene. I can’t wait to see how his life unfolds.
Detective Comics #1047 won me over. I already was a fan of this series when I began reviewing it two months ago, but this issue struck all the right notes and improved on already sound quality. I would give this six stars—a beautifully rendered and written double dose to entice new readers or bring back old ones.
Detective Comics #1047 is available now wherever comic books are sold.
Detective Comics #1047
Detective Comics #1047 won me over. I already was a fan of this series when I began reviewing it two months ago, but this issue struck all the right notes and improved on already sound quality.
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.