Thursday, September 22, 2011

DC NEW 52: DETECTIVE COMICS #1

DETECTIVE COMICS #1  (DC)  Written and drawn by Tony Salvador Daniel.  Inks: Ryan Winn.  Colors: Tomeu Morey. Lettering: Jared K. Fletcher.  Cover: Tony Salvador Daniel.

detective-comics-1

My problem is that I’ve read enough Batman stories for a lifetime. I’ve been reading Batman stories for so long that it takes a lot more than a good story and good art to interest me - - it takes a hook or a different spin on things.  So, I’ve been  attracted to BATMAN AND SON; BATMAN R.I.P; BATMAN AND ROBIN; THE RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE, and BATMAN INC. because of those hooks and spins.  I appreciate the fine work that Tony Daniel has done on the pre-New 52 BATMAN but didn’t pay much attention to it.  It was good story-telling and good art – but no hook  (at least for me). 

What I’m trying to convey is that if you haven’t gotten enough Batman in your system yet, you will most likely appreciate DETECTIVE COMICS #1 and I encourage you to check it out.  If you ( like me), have read so many Batman tales that you can no longer imagine what that number is - - then you will probably finish reading DETECTIVE COMICS #1  and let out a large yawn.   The story is good.  The art is better.  But I feel like I’ve been here before, and not sure I’m coming back even though this issue ends with a shocking surprise. 

As noted in my other reviews, if you read beyond this point before you read DETECTIVE COMICS #1  you may encounter spoilers. 

So, what happens in Issue #1?

The Joker’s annual trail of dead bodies takes a different and grisly turn when corpses of various suspected “friends” of the Joker turn up mutilated, with “organs removed. So were parts of their faces.” (Fortunately, this is summarized in captions rather than depicted - - lest you think this has become a dark horror book.)  The Joker is the #1 suspect, of course, and through his detective skills Batman uncovers his location and captures him after a nice and brutal fight.  While incarcerated at Arkham Asylum, the Joker is visited by “Dollmaker”, who he willingly allows to cut away his face.  (Pardon me for seeming a little jaded, but I don’t feel the “makeover” that is hinted at on the last page will be permanent.  And others, including Jeff at BC Refugees, also suspect the same thing.)

What did I like about Issue #1?

1) I’m already a fan of Tony Daniel's art style, and I see some changes here worthy of attention.  Perhaps that is why he is listed in the credits as Tony Salvador Daniel - - to help establish the moment when he made these changes.  I also suspect the rest of the art team (inks, colors, letters) are helping to make that differentiation. There are larger panels and even full pages where Daniel apparently wants to be a little more expressive or elaborate more on the background details or scenery.  Also, there are more small panels than I am used to seeing in his work - - sometimes as many as 9-12 per page.  The contrast keeps things interesting.

2) More on the artistic touches:  I like the way that, beginning with the impressionistic cover, Daniel introduces small elements of the Dollmaker as the story moves along.   There’s also a neat page featuring Batman and Commissioner Gordon in a facial profile of Gordon’s left side and Batman’s right side in panels so small and close together that it looks like a composite. 

What didn’t I like?

There is actually nothing in particular that disturbs me about this book - -  it’s just the “same old, same old” feeling I get when I read it that makes me feel weary.  I prefer to feel excited and stimulated when I finish a book.

Do I love, like, dislike, or hate this book?

How about neutral, or indifferent?  I’ll have to add that category for future reviews of The DC New 52.  The story isn’t bad - - it just doesn’t grab my attention.  The art is much better, but isn’t enough to make me even want to pick up Issue #2.  I remain locked into “Mike’s DC10.”

Here’s a quick update on what I’ve reviewed so far, in order of how much I liked them:

1. ANIMAL MAN

2. WONDER WOMAN

3. JUSTICE LEAGUE

4.  DETECTIVE COMICS

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