The Caped Crusader, scourge of all criminals, finds himself face to face with the corpses of his parents, decades after their murder.  Who has gone to such lengths to remind Bruce Wayne of the tragedy that changed his life?  And what are their macabre plans?  Find out in Detective Comics #994!

Detective Comics #994 ReviewDETECTIVE COMICS #994

Script:  Peter J. Tomasi
Penciller: Doug Mahnke
Inker: Jaime Mendoza
Colors: David Baron
Lettering: Rob Leigh
Publisher: DC
Release Date: December  12th, 2018
Price:  $3.99

Previously in DETECTIVE COMICS: Bruce Wayne, in the guise of the Batman, pledged himself in the aftermath of his parent’s murders to fight crime in all its guises.  And Gotham has provided an endless, often macabre line up of criminals.  Now, in the shadow of the 1000th issue of Detective Comics, Batman encounters a case from his darkest nightmares – corpses that exactly match his long dead parents…

THE DEAD SPEAK

Increasingly it feels today that the Shining City on a hill that Superman represents is a child’s fairytale.  Instead, Batman’s dark and futile quest to avenge his parents by constantly fighting crime represents that vision of America today – an America under siege, an America giving in to its worst impulses, and an America obsessed with bleak visions of the past and the future.

Detective Comics ‘#994 opens with a recap of the essential Batman creation myth – parents shot in cold blood, and child’s life warped beyond recognition, a grim vow to devote a life to the endless pursuit of criminals.  The next shocking image, a testament to Mahnke’s art, is of the corpses of a man and a woman, who, on further investigation, match down to the clothes and facial structure, Bruce Wayne’s parents.

It makes sense that writer Peter J. Tomasi begins the story arc leading to the 1000th issue by going back to the beginning for Bruce Wayne, and Batman.  In essentially a dialogue between Batman and Commissioner Gordon, they go over the details of that night, what the Wayne’s were wearing and the strange lengths someone has gone to make the corpses exact replicas of them.  Such is the shock of this that Batman almost gives himself away to Gordon in his reaction to what they have uncovered, and in a strange way, bringing Batman and Bruce Wayne closer together than one might expect.

The second half of the story is devoted to an attack on a doctor named Leslie who works at the Park Row Community Clinic.  On her way home from work, she is attacked by a monster who pursues her onto the roof of the building.  Using a comm-link given to her previously by Batman, she calls desperately for assistance.  A confrontation between Batman and the creature soon reveals, in a shocking last page, who the instigator of both events is…

DUELING DUALITIES

Batman represents a darker side of the superhero coin, with Superman representing the other side.  While Superman appeals to our more expansive sides, open to new ideas and the hope of a better tomorrow, Batman represents, to an extent, our acknowledgement that there are no better solutions to the oncoming tide than to resist, as best we can, for as long as we can, against the darkness on all sides.  There are no winners here, particularly not a little boy, standing in a dark alley, facing a criminal who just shot dead his parents…

A final note as we move toward the celebration of the 1000th issue of Detective Comics – back in my heyday during the 1990s, when I worked for a couple of years at a comic shop here in Melbourne, Norm Breyfogle was the Batman artist who most captured my imagination and helped fuel my Batman mania.  His death is a great loss not only to his family, but also to the comics industry and the Batman family.  Vale.

BOTTOM LINE –  COMPELLING.

Detective Comics #994 is not only a very good issue of an iconic character, but a good jumping on point for new readers, and for those who may have drifted away (cough).  It has everything you expect from Batman – detective skills, a remorseless will to win, and plenty of mayhem and action.  The artwork is phenomenal, as is the coloring.  There is a real cinematic feel to the art, which helps drive the story forward to its stunning last page.  And while you would expect this particular villain to feature at this celebratory point in the comic’s history, it still makes for a compelling reveal.

Detective Comics #994

70%
70%
Compelling

Detective Comics #994 is not only a very good issue of an iconic character, but a good jumping on point for new readers, and for those who may have drifted away (cough).  It has everything you expect from Batman – detective skills, a remorseless will to win, and plenty of mayhem and action.  The artwork is phenomenal, as is the coloring.  There is a real cinematic feel to the art, which helps drive the story forward to its stunning last page.  And while you would expect this particular villain to feature at this celebratory point in the comic’s history, it still makes for a compelling reveal.

  • Writing
    6
  • Art
    8
  • Coloring
    7
  • User Ratings (2 Votes)
    9.4
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About Author

Romantic. Raconteur. Kangaroo rustler. Sadly, Rob is none of these. Rob has been a follower of genre since at least the mid-1970s. Book collector, Doctor Who fan, semi-retired podcaster, comic book shop counter jockey, writer (once!) in Doctor Who Magazine and with pretensions to writing fantasy and horror, Rob is the sort of fellow you can happily embrace while wondering why you're doing it. More of his maudlin thoughts can be found at his ill-tended blog https://robertmammone.wordpress.com/

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