DETECTIVE COMICS #1
Written by TONY S. DANIEL; Art by TONY S. DANIEL and RYAN WINN; Cover by TONY S. DANIEL
Tony Daniel's art has changed an awful lot over the last few years, to the point where I can't even tell that it is the same artist that drew Batman R.I.P, let alone Teen Titans. It isn't really a criticism of the book, but one that I feel underpins Daniel's work (both art and writing). His determination to better himself as a creator is commendable, but has often meant that he doesn't allow himself to become comfortable with one style before moving on to try something new. Unless he allows himself time to explore his own style more deeply, I feel that Daniel's best work may not be ahead of him, but behind him. That said and out of the way, I really enjoyed Detective Comics #1.
We are given a seemingly derivative plot that gives us hints at something deeper. Daniel's Bruce Wayne isn't the ultra-bat that we saw in the early 2000's. Instead this Batman shows enough self-doubt and vunerability that we are able to empathise with him, whilst showing that he is capable enough to pull off near-impossible feats.
Through the course of the book we are made aware of all the key players (Batman/Bruce, Alfred, Gordon & Joker), as well as setting up the new status quo. It appears that Gordon may now be one of Batman's only remaining allies at the GCPD, as we see a SWAT team and helicopter fire upon Batman against orders. This certainly seems to be a move toward a more dangerous Gotham for the Dark Knight - one that I approve of.
Rather than Justice League's clear cut 'first issue' feeling, Detective Comics feels like the first chapter of a Batman story. We aren't being introduced to Batman, we've known him all our lives. New readers will be able to pick this up and enjoy it with no prior knowledge, as will DC Comics veterans. Whilst the story is a little more action heavy than I'd like a Detective Comics story to be, there are still references to Batman's thought processes and deduction.
To Daniel's great credit however, the final page will make you turn back to reread the book all over again for things that you may have missed the first read through.
Hard boiled Batman versus Joker action that we know and love with a killer ending.