REVIEW: ‘Detective Comics,’ Issue #1051

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Detective Comics #1051

Detective Comics #1051 is a schizophrenic roller coaster of an issue from DC Comics. Mariko Tamaki pens this great weekly first story, ‘Shadows of the Bat,’ this time with Max Raynor on art duty. Luis Guerrero steps in on colors, and Adriana Maher remains on letters. For ‘House of Gotham,’ we have regular writer Matthew Rosenberg, artist Fernando Blanco, colorist Jordie Bellaire, and letterer Rob Leigh. After the last issue’s big reveal that the elusive Dr. Ocean is really old Batman foe the Psycho-Pirate, we get tuned in to just how insane Arkham Tower truly is.

Yes, a criminal with emotion control powers is the feel-good medicine for Arkham. In this issue, we get some backstory on the Pirate, who is lost and afraid, and on the run after playing with the big boys over in Infinite Frontier. He takes refuge with a childhood friend, Tobias Wear, con man and future architect of Arkham Tower. Yes, Arkham Tower is, in case it wasn’t clear in the past few issues, perhaps the biggest con pulled in Gotham. With Ocean/Psycho Pirate secluded on his private floor, the patients below are induced with waves of happiness, with drugs on call for backup. Drugs were pushed in secretly by the Party Crashers gang. All is well.

Tamaki lays out the story with expert care, revealing a paranoid, seemingly broken Psycho-Pirate, the desperation of Wear, and the Bat-Family constantly two steps behind. Needless to say, as this issue enters Arkham Tower, Day Eighteen, madness ensues, and panel by panel, the fragile egg that is Arkham cracks even more. I have to say I was shocked at where the story went and how crazy it got. It was definitely enjoyable, and I await with anxious breath how all of this will play out in the long run.

Raynor steps in to do the art, and he walks the line between Reis’ high level of line detail and the wide-eyed look seen in animation. He makes the most of it with the antics and physicality of the Psycho-Pirate, but each character appears distinct, and his visual style is a treat. Luis Guerrero hopping over for colors brings the same four-color pizzazz to this issue he displays in Robin. Maher places words flawlessly and makes cool use of old computer font and SFX. All around, this portion of ‘Shadows of the Bat’ was a wild ride.

Detective Comics #1051 compliments that first tale with more insanity with the fifth chapter of ‘House of Gotham.’ If you think the Boy who is tossed about Gotham’s legal morass and its underworld will catch a loving, heartfelt break…guess again. After getting caught in high crimes with the Scarecrow, the Boy recovers but is right back in good old Arkham Asylum, where hope goes to die. But perhaps he can find solace after all. He’s getting adopted! Well, considering who it is, maybe his troubles are only beginning. Having said that, Rosenberg painted a beautifully disturbing story this issue in how the darkness of the city keeps finding this Boy, and for lack of a better word, cares for him. This is truly a disturbing tale, maybe even creepier than ‘Shadows of the Bat,’ as there’s no way out for this kid, but down it seems.

Great shadowed, dark ink ladened artwork by Blanco once again, with Bellaire’s moody colors and Leigh jumping in on letters with eerie SFX to make the entire thing a study in dark children’s horror. I love it. 

I hope I’m wrong, but it’ll be a shame when this title goes back to monthly and has Batman in it again. Without him and the weekly double stories, Detective Comics is a whizbang title that makes modern Gotham CIty more ghoulish than it’s ever been.

Detective Comics #1051 is available now wherever comic books are sold.


Detective Comics #1051
5

TL;DR

I hope I’m wrong, but it’ll be a shame when this title goes back to monthly and has Batman in it again. Without him and the weekly double stories, Detective Comics is a whizbang title that makes modern Gotham CIty more ghoulish than it’s ever been.