Detective Comics #1049 keeps January, and Gotham City, on psychological pins and needles. This issue of double dark tales comes courtesy of DC and writers Mariko Tamaki and Matthew Rosenberg. Art is performed by Ivan Reis and Fernando Blanco, with Danny Miki laying inks on ‘Shadows of the Bat’. Colors are provided by Brad Anderson and Jordie Bellaire, with letters by Ariana Maher and Rob Leigh. we now come to the third act for ‘Shadows’ and ‘House of Gotham’, and my, do they lay down some gruesome backstories.
‘Shadows of the Bat’, Act Three, opens with a recollection during therapy. Right off the bat, fans get what they’ve come to expect from Gotham: death, decay, and trauma. This issue hits the ground running down through blood-streaked ruins, the memories of one Ana Vulsion, the chaotic violent femme who caused the city most recent slaughter. It seems Ana, though usually as mellow as all of Dr. Wear’s new patients, is troubled once more while under the care of Dr. Chase Meridian. Adding to this, Ana has caught the attention of a rather pushy member of the maintenance staff which causes some alarm later on. With this, we reach Arkham tower: Day Fourteen. Knowing on Day Twenty-Four all the you-know-what hits the fan, with our undercover Bat-Family locked inside with a crazed Ana, and Helena Bertillini (the wonderful Huntress) as a patient within bleeding out in an elevator shaft. Yes, we’ll get there. Certainly, all the incisions will be made and wounds stitched by the end of this twelve-part storyline. Tamaki has room to push the envelope and attack this thing from multiple angles. And oh, how she does so.
First off, ‘Shadows of the Bat’ keeps its edge despite flipping back and forth between a slew of characters. Just this issue we get Ana, Meridian, Batwoman (in costume, in flashback costume, and undercover as Dr. Lisa Frow), the Bat-Family, Dr. Wear, the Party Crashers (suspected by the heroes of bringing street drugs into Arkham Tower), another villain (Manuel) and so on. Every snippet covers a new area of the crime. The lack of access to most of the Tower the workers find curious. The Party Crashers and their involvement. Meridian and Frow’s coffee dialogue. Dr. Wear’s secret meet. The awesome sense with Batwoman in terms of her coming off as the dominant Bat in Gotham right now and in the way Reis illustrates her. Everything is knitting together a fractured puzzle that doesn’t feel too lengthy or weighty. The story is walking us to the end of a bloodstained hallway, with a door which, behind it, unlocks a new era of villainy for Gotham, I think. This is so good.
Huntress left back in #1046 citing mental health issues. She’s now…well, you’ll see.
Oh, and it’s matched by art that makes conversation over coffee and Batwoman’s shadowy cape folds both pleasurable to the eye. In order for this to work, common people have to play a big role, and that means we need to read a lot of dialogue and withhold the action. It doesn’t feel here as if anything is amiss. The art rolls with the words, even midnight waves of horrific blood, modern mystery, and rising tensions. The colors remain as bold as the inks are powerful, with a prodigious amount of lettering skillfully slithering around the visuals.
Detective Comics #1049 also holds part three in the ‘House of Gotham’ story, where our poor lost Boy (curious his name is left out each time. Love the mysterious touch) is now the victim of bullying at a home for orphans moneyed up by city fave Bruce Wayne. Thankfully, he is rescued by a responsible adult who works there. Oh, wait. That’s Dr. Johnathan Crane, the Scarecrow. Despite the fact the home needs a much better Human Resources department, Crane becomes the Boy’s guardian. Scarecrow has goals, and they’re not good. So far, the Boy has been wronged by Joker, blames him and Batman for it, had playtime with Clayface, and now Scarecrow is his drunk uncle. It is creepy good storytelling accented by Blanco’s strong art, Bellaire’s moody colors, and Leigh’s expert lettering. And I think Detective Comics has gone into permanent Halloween.
I know I gushed about Nightwing, but the best DC story on the stands is in this book. This issue was a phenomenal setup and you should get yours.
Detective Comics #1049 is available wherever comic books are sold.
Detective Comics #1049
It is creepy good storytelling accented by Blanco’s strong art, Bellaire’s moody colors, and Leigh’s expert lettering. And I think Detective Comics has gone into permanent Halloween.
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.