Earlier this year, JC Carter and I were engaged in a brief conversation about comic books while we were both backstage at a community theater production of Twelve Angry Men we were both working on; waiting for show-time. The conversation, quickly joined by other cast members, began to focus on DC’s New 52 and particularly the Bat-titles. JC and I both agreed that of all the various Batman related titles, only Batman (written by Scott Snyder, drawn by Greg Capullo) was of high quality. The Court of the Owls story-line was well done and very engaging. When I expressed my disappointment with the fiasco that was Tony S. Daniel’s handling of Detective Comics, JC made me laugh with his astute remark that the onetime flagship title (DC stands for Detective Comics, in case you didn’t know) should now be dubbed Defective Comics.
Well, Bat-fans, I’m pleased to tell you that the new creative team of John Layman and Jason Fabok have saved Detective Comics and made it defective no more. John Layman is not quit the poet that Scott Snyder is, but he does have a great handle on the Batman mythology and tells the action packed, engaging crime investigation tales that Batman fans have loved for generations. It’s nice to see the established rouge’s gallery again with the Penguin center stage and Poison Ivy returning to her operating-outside-the-law roots. It’s just a lot of fun to read. The dialogue is also strong. So much so that in issue #14 (the new team’s second installment) I even found myself not hating a scene between Bruce and the irritating little punk Damian discussing crime and ethics in the Batcave. Jason Fabok’s art is so beautiful that I find myself looking over the pages and panels long after I’ve finished reading the content. Fabok’s Batman is strong and dynamic. All the characters are expressive and attractive; especially Poison Ivy who is every bit the gorgeous fem fatale she should be.
The problems with Detective Comics were glaring. First of all, the whole renumbering scheme of the New 52 would rob all Bat-fans of the pleasure of purchasing Detective Comics #900, a feat almost no titles ever reach and which Detective was all too close to hitting before the launch of the New 52. Also, the initial writer chosen for Detective’s New 52 launch, Tony S. Daniel, was just oblivious as to how to handle the Batman mythology in a smart or respectable way. His first big idea was to create a villain who would be more dangerous and unhinged than the Joker… unbelievable. We’re talking about the Joker here, people. You can’t just toss a newbie character into the world of the Dark Knight and have him (unearned) out-joker the Joker. Mr. Daniel even went so far as to have his new villain—the Doll Maker—cut the Joker’s face off; an event so far from working that DC’s resident best writer, Batman and Swamp Thing scribe Scott Snyder, is overseeing and orchestrating the vast Death of the Family storyline featuring the return of the vengeful Joker in what is no doubt an attempt to rectify Mr. Daniel’s blunder.
So, if you’ve got a few extra bucks to spend at your local comic book shop and are looking for another Bat-title to add to your hold, you can’t go wrong with Layman and Fabok’s enjoyable work on Detective Comics.
That’s all from me today. Until my next blog, be sure to listen to Hold 322, follow me on twitter @Robert_A_Easton, and read comics, read comics, read comics.