Detective Comics #31 (Comics Review)

 Last month the writer-artist duo of Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul began their run on Detective Comics, following the exit of writer John Layman and artist Jason Fabok. They began their run with quite an intriguing criminal mystery that also dealt with some Gotham gang politics and it was a fairly solid read, though it felt lacking in a few areas. But I won’t deny that as much as I loved the Layman/Fabok team-up, the new team has been almost just as good, and that they’ve definitely maintained a certain consistency in the title. They are going in a new direction completely, but that’s fine.

Detective Comics #31 came out day before yesterday and it must be said that it is one of the best single issues of any of the Batman comics I’ve read to date. It has a couple problems, but in the main it tells a really great story, told by some really wonderful artwork. Its been a while since we’ve really seen Batman do a bit of detective work in any of his various series, and that’s the angle being played up by the new creators, which is something that I welcome and approve of.

Detective Comics 31Last month I mentioned that the cover to Detective Comics #30 was one of the trippiest I’ve seen ever for a Batman comic, and I thought that it couldn’t be topped. Then I saw the cover for this morning, and my jaw dropped, because top themselves the creators did. Francis Manapul has turned out a stunning over here, make no mistake and it quite nicely represents what happens in the comic later on, just as what happened with the previous issue. Nice bit of foreshadowing and hint-dropping. And I mean, just look at the colour gradient down the cover. Excellent, excellent stuff. Doesn’t get better than this, not at all.

The story itself picks up where the last issue left off. Elena Aguila burned from the inside out on Bruce Wayne’s porch and now that Gotham’s Finest are there on the scene, their number one suspect happens to be the rich billionaire himself. As the lead on the case, Harvey Bullock has Bruce in his sights, and this is a personal matter for him because six years ago his partner died on a case, a case where they were looking into who was selling Icarus on the streets of Gotham. Everything else that happens in this issue goes from there. Harvey is convinced of Bruce’s culpability, but we know that’s not the truth, and so Bruce sets out to get to the bottom of things as Batman, doing some good old-fashioned footwork in the streets of Gotham.

I loved both Bruce Wayne/Batman and Harvey Bullock in this issue, especially the latter. We haven’t seen much of Harvey lately in the New 52, so any brief glimpse that we do get is awesome. Plus the fact that he is one of the main characters on the upcoming television adaptation Gotham with Donal Logue as the actor and you’ve got a winner. Nice to see some kind of a feedback like this, even if it is unintentional. With Batman, him being a detective out on the streets for once proves to be incredibly refreshing. It isn’t something that the character has done much of and with the mystery of Elena’s death hanging on his hand, its time for him to break out his spy gear. However, as much as I loved Bruce/Batman here, I wanted to see Harvey Bullock far more. He’s one of the mainstays of the Bat-verse mythology, and whenever he gets the limelight, I always get excited.

In addition to being the writers on this issue, Brian and Francis are also the artists. The previous issue had lots of great moments and the shift in art direction proved to be as refreshing as the story did, and this is something that the creative duo continue on in this issue. They are still not going all-out with the panel layouts as they did in The Flash, but that’s fine, they are just warming up here. I have no criticisms of the artwork other than this one 14-panel page where the action is really indistinct due to the orange filter used for the panels. That could have been handled better.

Other than that though, this was pretty much a fun title for this week.

Rating: 9/10

More Detective Comics: #19-24, #23.4, #27, #28, #29, #30.

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Posted on May 9, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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