Detective Comics #959
This week’s issue of Detective Comics was the first to irritate me for ending so quickly. Chalk that up to another amazing read from writer James Tynion IV and artist Alvaro Martinez.
Like a general manager slowly assembling a contender, Tynion seems to have found the right mix of characters. Now that he’s established their personalities, Tynion now has the luxury of exploring various combinations of the roster. Batwing and Batwoman benefited the most this issue as Batwing takes her to his base of operations. With no need for forced sexual tension, their banter feels fresh and is just a matter of teammates interacting.
Clayface and Orphan don’t get a lot to do, but Tynion has mastered maximizing their limited ‘screen time.’ Most of the issue explores Batman’s past with special guest star Zatanna. She’s been one of the more prominent heroes not to have a significant Rebirth presence so it’s great to see Tynion bringing her into the fold. While magic and Batman don’t typically seem like a good combination, Zatanna would make for a welcome regular member of the team.
Zatanna’s skills might prove especially useful as the team battles Ascalon, the formidable living weapon of the Order of St. Dumas. Tynion has used Ascalon perfectly — in limited doses to maximize his intimidation factor.
Martinez’s art is also right on point. His layouts are creative with sensible uses of short and long panels. There’s a nice flow in viewing the pages and the action sequences have a consistent flow of movement.
Intelligence has not so surprisingly been an engrossing read. Tynion manages to tell the story in such a natural way that it ends without the usual tells the cliffhanger is coming. The arc is two issues in, but Tynion and Martinez have laid the arc out so smoothly it doesn’t seem like it’s going to overstay its welcome anytime soon.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10