Less than a year since Detective Comics celebrated its 900th issue with New 52: Detective Comics #19, an anthology issue which brought together several different creators, we have New 52: Detective Comics #27, which celebrates the landmark issue of the original series that first introduced Batman to the world as Bat-Man, the caped crusader and dark knight of Gotham who solved the city’s crime with acts of vigilantism. And again, we have an anthology issue bringing together different creators, and telling some really different stories while also giving some bonus art to fans.
I was really excited for this issue. I kind of missed the whole lead-up to Detective Comics #19 since I wasn’t reading the series at the time, but I am now. And one thing that happened this afternoon was that I was massively disappointed. This issue, in its first half, basically retells classic tales and does a hack-job. The second half, with original stories that will be carried over in future issues, is actually good. But the first half definitely bothered me, and it was the writing far more than the art that bothered me.
DC’s Forever Evil is hitting its stride as the main-event and the four tie-ins across some seven titles get off to a rollicking start and move into their meatier moments. There is absolute chaos in the world right now and in Tomasi’s Arkham War mini-series, we see how that chaos is mirrored in the no-holds barred chaos in Gotham, where two criminal factions are going full-out at each other. Bane, powered by the Venom super-serum is leading one side, while the Society-backed Scarecrow is leading the other side, defined by the majority of the freak villains that call the city their playground.
The first issue of the series was quite promising. It was slightly better than I expected and the way that Tomasi wrote all the character interactions and sprinkled the hints of his longer plan for the series was really engaging. Of course, I didn’t get the big all-out fight I expected but the issue gave me enough to come back for this issue, which does involve some big splash scenes between the villains (and supervillains) of both sides. But, there are a few missteps made that I find really, really odd.
After all the heavy build-up in the Villain’s Month issues, we finally get around to the first Forever Evil tie-in. It is slightly disappointing that Trinity War didn’t turn into a full-blown event but turned into a “road to…” kind of prequel, but the “main” event is still pretty fun. Villain’s Month gave us week after week of villainous one-shots and the Gotham-centric issues all were prequels to this, the crazy inmates of Arkham against the regular soldiers under the command of Bane himself.
I wasn’t too taken with the Scarecrow #1 and Bane #1 issues, and they were primarily a case of the writing being a letdown instead of the art, but still, Arkham War is something I was looking forward to. It has a really cool concept and it features some of Batman’s most iconic villains, so what’s not to love?
The Justice League family of books have had some really disappointing one-shots for Villain’s Month, whether we talk about Justice League, Justice League Dark or Justice League of America. I haven’t read all the issues for these titles for this month of course, but I’ve read most of them by now, and only two have managed to stand out, Matt Kindt’s Justice League of America #7.1: Deadshot and Justice League #23.2 by Lobo, and for them, only the former has actually been a memorable one.
With this issue, supposed to feature the New 52 version of the Secret Society of Supervillains, I had some high expectations from it. The Secret Society was built up through all two years of the New 52 DCU so far, and the mystery has been a big part of their draw for me. But with the revelations of Trinity War last month, I finally wanted to see the Secret Society explored in full. This issue would have been the perfect place to explore that, but sadly it falls far from the mark.