Detective Comics #960
James Tynion IV is still managing to juggle the two big subplots of Intelligence without letting anything hit the floor yet.
Batman has reconnected with Zatanna to get her assistance into tapping into The God Machine. Tynion teases the summer’s big event, Metal, in a sensible manner as Batman’s actions here and in The Casting seem to be about an insatiable desire for more knowledge. I’m not sure if I like Batman essentially resorting to a cheat code with magic and Deus ex Machina to fix his latest problem.
Where Intelligence has suffered somewhat is that Tynion hasn’t clearly laid out Batman’s goal. Later on in the issue Batwoman mentions how she hates people telling her there’s a secret without telling her the secret. It’s ironic how easily that applies to Batman’s arc.
Tynion has a good handle on Zatanna. From her thoughtful take on her abilities to her need to connect with people, Tynion gives her a better portrayal in two issues than she’s been written since Flashpoint.
The other big subplot sees Azrael trying to make sense of a new set of visions. Meanwhile, Ascalon reports to his leader — a mysterious figure clad in gold and white — sends him off to bring Azrael back to the fold. And Batwing and Batwoman just so happened to be caught in the middle. Tynion wisely doesn’t overexert himself and doesn’t bring in his entire cast every issue just to show they’re around. Still, it seemed weird not to even see Orphan and Clayface at all.
Alvaro Martinez’s artwork continues to impress. Martinez showed some welcome versatility with his panel layouts, which helps to provide more of a cinematic look to a talk heavy issue. Rafa Fernandez’s inking is sharp, giving the art a tighter, focused feel. Brad Anderson’s colors polish the visuals off nicely showing the benefit of adding brighter colors even into a Batman story.
I kinda wanted the arc to have a better sense of progression by the end of this issue. Tynion has had a bad habit lately of letting good stories linger too long. Hopefully, Intelligence starts showing signs of nearing the finish line next issue to allow it the proper impact without overstaying its welcome.
Rating: 8 out of 10