Warning: All reviews on When It Was Cool are likely to contain spoilers both major and minor. This review contains spoilers both literal and figurative. One the Spoilers even cries so watch out for that.
I will be reviewing both classic comic books and new releases here at When It Was Cool and the first review for the website is actually going to be a new comic released September 14, 2016 in honor of #BatmanDay on Twitter (follow us @wiwcool). In this review I take a look at Detective Comics 940 from DC Comics.
Since the New 52 (thankfully) ended and DC was reborn with rebirth, I have really been drawn back into the DC Universe for the first time in a few years. Batman (not Bruce Wayne) in a giant robot battle suit was just not doing it for me so a return of the more classic Batman has been one of the biggest positives to me personally in the rebirth era. Detective Comics has also returned to the classic numbering which I also love, call me a nostalgist (I run a nostalgia website and podcast for Pete’s sake).
I have both positives and negatives for the cover. A giant sad Clayface in background is fabulous, however I’m not sure what is going on with Batman’s Spider-Man-esque cape. Also the cover is way too DC Cinematic Universe toned in it’s infinite sadness. I guess I’m still too close in time to seeing the horrendously awful Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Darkness. Clayface looks great, Batman looks sad, Bat Woman looks unimpressed, and everyone else looks devastated. One must assume by this that something big happens inside. Let’s see.
The issue starts out with a very angsty battle between Kate-Batwoman and her father who has essentially just sent a military strike to kill Red Robin after Red Robin goes off plan. Lot’s of mean faces and daddy issues. Colonel Jacob Kane is still trying to convince Kate that he is the good guy but she isn’t buying it.
Argus arrives with orders for the President of the United States to take down Col. Kane if he doesn’t surrender. He has been branded a terrorist and we get the title logo “Rise of the Batmen: Part Seven: The Red Badge of Courage”.
Col. Kane attempts to escape but is attacked by Kate and prevented from getting away leading to a fight between the father and daughter. We cut scenes to a badly injured Red Robin (Tim Drake) who is about to be cut down by a drone attack and has a heart-wrenching final conversation with Batman and says his goodbyes then we see him cut down in a gripping splash page. A tremendous one page spread with amazing art work. The following page shows the reactions of Batman (anger), Clayface (sadness), Alfred, Nightwing, and others.
Batman then orders Batwoman to take Col. Kane to a holding cell in the belfry instead of turning him over to Argus in order to answer for Red Robin’s death. I don’t know what the deal is with Batman’s cape but it’s distracting. It has an odd webbed texture to it. Maybe I missed an explanation in a previous issue but I’m not a fan of the webbed cape.
Batman checks in on a distraught Spoiler and explains to her that Tim Drake chose this life and gave up his protecting others but Spoiler hands Batman an acceptance letter from Ivy University that Drake had just received and this has a visible effect on Batman. The best page in the entire book is an emotional Batman hugging Spoiler. The emotion is captured perfectly and it is artwork like this which has really won me back over to the DC Universe.
Then we get the swerve and it’s major spoilers from this point forward so be warned. Tim Drake, AKA: Red Robin apparently is not dead but has been teleported away. A surprised Red Robin opens his eyes and speculates on where he might be, noting that he isn’t in The Colony. A mysterious man in a cloak appears and converses with Red Robin who appears to be confined to some sort of cell. Red Robin doesn’t know who his captor is. The issue ends and notes that it picks up next week in Batman issue 7 and Nightwing issue 5.
Over all a quick and action packed issue, though the major drama of Tim Drake being killed is written away by the end of the issue. We don’t yet get resolution for Col. Kane. The drama and emotion which were captured so perfectly in the issue ends up being irrelevant since Red Robin isn’t dead. The issue focuses almost entirely on Batman, Batwoman, Red Robin, Col. Kane, and to a lesser degree- Spoiler. Clayface only shows up to look sad in a panel and on the cover. The entire events in the issue take place in a span of only a few minutes. The issue never drags and is a quick read but the artwork is excellent and compels you to buy the next issues. I’d give the issue an A-.
Script by James Tynion IV. Pencils by Eddy Barrows. Eber Ferreira on inks. Colors by Adriano Lucas. Letters by Marilyn Patrizio. Cover by Barrows, Ferreira, and Lucas. Assistant editor Dave Wielgosz. Editor Chris Conroy. Group Editor Mark Doyle. And of course, Batman created by Bob Kane with Bill Finger.