First, the bad news. Rumor has it that John Layman is leaving this title to work on Catwoman for DC. I’ve been greatly enjoying his stories as well as his focus on the “job” aspect of being Batman, so we got a lot of tales about the Dark Knight versus his foes, which I always love.
The conclusion to a multi-part story. How rare is that?
We learn more about Batman as he takes on his mirror image.
You should have previous issues of this title before reading this one!
This one is NOT for the kiddies!
DETECTIVE COMICS #24
Writer: John Layman
Artist: Jason Fabok
Cover: Jason Fabok
Publisher: DC Comics
Group Editor: Mike Marts
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Detective Comics: It’s all been leading up to a final confrontation between Batman and The Wrath! Can Batman stop his evil counterpart from claiming any more victims as an epic battle bursts onto the city streets?
BATMAN VERSUS THE ANTI-BATMAN
Now, the good news: It’s a great issue!
While I’ve always thought of the Joker as Batman’s opposite number, I used to wish we could what would happen to someone with Bruce Wayne’s abilities and money who, instead of being a hero, turned into a villain instead.
Fortunately, Mike W. Barr conceived The Wrath some time back, and he’s quite the mirror image to the Dark Knight. Instead of wanting to help the police, he wants to destroy as many of them as possible. Instead of wanting to protect Gotham City, he wants to demolish it.
AN ACTION-PACKED PLOT THAT HAD ME CHEERING!
Layman and Fabok have been a very powerful team on Detective, knowing just when to insert dialogue and when to let the art do the talking. Nothing goes to waste!
In the opening sequence, we see that The Wrath, in his identity of E.D. Caldwell, has donated armor to the Gotham P.D. They discover their mistake when The Wrath activates devices in the suits that shock with police with strong electrical charges. Gordon has no idea what to do.
The next things we see are an aerial fight between the two (loved seeing the Batplane from the Michael Keaton Batman movie). After that, The Wrath wants to take out every policeman and policewoman possible, so he launches an attack against the GCPD HQ. What he finds when he gets there had me cheering, so I won’t spoil it.
Like every good Dark Knight story, the baddie refuses to stay down, so he’s planning a return. I’d like to see The Wrath again, even if someone else is writing it.
FABOK’S ART WAS SPECTACULAR
Is it just me, or is Mr. Fabok getting better and better over time?
I love the attention to detail, and how he makes action sequences “pop” off the page. It’s almost as good as a video game, in my opinion. I felt like I was IN the story, not just reading it.
I hope he’ll stay with the title even though Mr. Layman may be moving on.
BOTTOM LINE: THE WRATH STORYLINE HAS BEEN AN EXCELLENT ONE
As I mentioned previously, Batman versus The Wrath has been fun for me in that we see what Bruce Wayne COULD have turned into. The tale also pointed out the importance of experience since Batman was able to outdo the Anti-Batman.
If the rumors are true, I’m going to miss Mr. Layman on Detective Comics. He’s done good! I’ll be sure to follow him wherever he goes including reading Chew from Image. I’m hoping Detective will continue to shine with new scripters, if we get them. Batman and his clan are flying high these days, and I hope that will stay true for a long time to come!
UPDATE: According to Mr. Layman, the rumors may not be true! Everything will be made clear at NYCC, so stay tuned!