Detective Comics #963
Anarky is back in Gotham and he’s working on a hard recruitment pitch to get Spoiler to join him. Utopia marks the start of a new Detective arc and early signs suggest this is going to be a pretty good one.
The Spoiler’s arc has been fascinating since Tim’s death/disappearance. She hasn’t become dark and brooding, but wants to make a deeper, more meaningful change than Batman.
Regular writer James Tynion IV helped plot this issue, but Christopher Sebela crafted the script. Not that the shift in writers is obvious. Sebela grabs the baton smoothly and keeps the Detective Comics train rolling on time. Sebela kicks off with a flashback with Stephanie and Tim that makes for a great reminder of what she lost. And how she’s likely to respond knowing he’s not dead.
There’s some nice teasing here that Stephanie is starting to find Anarky as intriguing as Tim. Sebela manages to avoid an outright soap opera style moment, but there’s a possibility now that Steph is starting to move on.
Beyond Spoiler and Anarky’s main story, there’s a welcome subplot with Batman spending time with Clayface. This has been the least developed pairing since the start of this new run so it was good to see Batman further explaining his goal for Clayface.
Carmen Carnero’s art is very strong and looks right at home in Detective. Carnero has a distraction free style allowing for easy viewing without too much clutter. Character expressions look good and the action sequences are solid. Detective has had some shaky fill-in artists at time so hopefully Carnero stays in the rotation when the regular art teams get swamped.
I’m on board for where Sebela and Carnero are going with Utopia. It’s always refreshing to see fill-in creative teams maintain the momentum of the series and advance existing storylines to make it worth reading. This new arc has promise and I’m looking forward to the next installment.
Rating: 9 out of 10