Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Thinking about reading this issue? Batman says...

The only DC comic I'm reading right now...is Astro City, which is cruising along just fine without reboots and gimmicks and whatnot. DC's current regular titles feel like...well, a bit of a joyless slog, to be honest. Do they have a single book that's even a bit funny, now? Admittedly, I don't usually expect Batman to be a laugh riot, but still recent issues seem to surgically excised anything resembling fun, or even adventure. Like today's book! Detective Comics #22, "Targeting the Shield" Written by John Layman, art by Jason Fabok.

Batman is still having trouble with the distrust of Gotham's patrol officers, especially since they're being hunted by a new cop-killer. Some cops suspect Batman, even though Gordon knows that's a load of crap. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne has a different sort of problem, in E.D. Caldwell of Caldwell Tech, who wants to buy Wayne Enterprises. Bruce refuses outright, partly since Caldwell made much of his fortune in weapons, but he also instinctively dislikes him, even though Alfred points out Caldwell has done a pretty fair amount of charity himself. Alfred doesn't much care for him either, though, and neither should you, since he's pretty obviously the issue's villain...who's sub-contacting out this issue: the Wrath equips another villain, his Robin-type, Scorn.

We checked out the 1984 special that introduced the Wrath earlier this year, but I think the 2004 the Batman cartoon was the first to use the Wrath/Scorn combo. They aren't brothers in this one, however; Scorn is more like a tryout, and Batman can tell he lacks the precision of the earlier shooter. Forced to come in shooting in a high-tech flier to rescue Scorn, Wrath lets his erstwhile partner know his services will no longer be needed, since he feels Scorn has exposed him. How he thought a cop-shooting spree, with a gun with the Caldwell name on it, in Gotham City, would go unnoticed; I have no idea.

Wrath's redesign not only sucks all the panache out of the character--as does making him a corporate millionaire--but it also takes away all the visual cues that the character is Batman's opposite. From that armor, he could just as well be Prometheus or some no-name. OK, he would probably make a halfway decent action figure, or lower level end boss for an Arkham game; but I'd at least give him the ears back. This issue's competent enough, and is probably one of the few DC comics that month drawn by a single artist, but still lacks something for me. If it works for you, well, enjoy, then.

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

Yeah I hear ya on the current state of comics Goo. The only I collect on regular basis when it comes out, is Batman 66'. It's fun, funny, and very much entertaining. Other than an occasional issue that catches my eye, like the recent Joker issue of Batman with the cute and disturbing origin(sort of) of Jacknapes, a back issue hunting we will go.