Detective Comics #1014
One of the smarter things Peter J. Tomasi has done in his Detective Comics run is not make things easy for Batman. A lot of writers have fallen into this bad habit of making Batman super at everything despite his lack of powers.
In Detective, Batman has to work for things even as simple as a formula to stop Mr. Freeze. That gives some insight into the grind Batman/Bruce Wayne endures in protecting Gotham.
That’s definitely important in this issue as Tomasi pits Batman against his most sympathetic villain in Mr. Freeze. Now armed with the tools to bring his wife, Nora, out of her cryogenic chamber, Mr. Freeze won’t be deterred. Mr. Freeze isn’t trying to rule the world or conquer Gotham. He’s simply doing what he has to in order to bring his wife back. That’s a deep cut in terms of making a villain relatable, but Tomasi balances that with Freeze’s cruel nature so he still needs to get taken down by Batman. Nora was also handled well highlighted by her interaction with a prominent Gotham citizen.
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Killing off Alfred seems like a worse decision by the issue. Tomasi knew how to use Alfred as more than Batman’s sarcastic sandwich and tea provider and that dynamic is just flushed away. Given enough of a build-up Tomasi probably has someone new in mind for Batman to bounce ideas off at the Batcave, but these are some enjoyable moments until this story catches up to the events in Batman #77.
Doug Mahnke’s art continues to stay at a high level. There seemed to be a point where Mahnke was starting to lose a step, but he’s been reinvigorated drawing Batman. His pages look spectacular and he rendered the big moment of Nora’s return wonderfully. David Baron’s color work never wavers from incredible and he works the blue hue of the Fries with ease while making his take on Gotham a brilliantly vibrant one.
Detective Comics is a top tier Batman book for a reason and with this creative team making it look easy it will remain the preeminent Batman title.
Rating: 10 out of 10