Spencer: Back in the summer of 2010 I was obsessed with Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim comics, and eagerly awaited the release of their movie adaptation. I spent the weeks leading up to it reading and rereading the comics and preparing myself for the awesomeness I knew the movie would surely be. After I actually saw the movie, though, I was oddly disappointed by the many changes made between it and the comics. It took me quite a while to reconcile the two versions, but once I did, I ended up seeing it twice more in theaters and it quickly became my favorite movie. I had a similar experience reading Detective Comics 28 this week. After last month’s introduction to the “Gothtopia” storyline I was expecting a lot out of this issue—specifically, more exploration of this new Gotham utopia—but the story ended up veering in another direction entirely. I was disappointed at first, but fortunately, the story I got instead ended up being pretty enjoyable in its own right. Continue reading →
John Layman’s run on Detective Comics is coming to a close in March, but he’s got one last spectacular trick up his sleeve – the what-if-Gotham-was-a-happy-place? story of Gothtopia. This is the first time in the New 52 that a Bat Family crossover wasn’t lead by Scott Snyder’s Batman. We traded emails with Layman to dig into what makes both Detective Comics and Gothtopia different from what readers might expect. For more information on Gothtopia, head on over to our Gothtopia event page or check out our conversations about Detective Comics 27 and Batgirl 27.
Retcon Punch: First, congrats on Detective Comics 27 – it’s a huge issue and people really seem to be responding positively to it. Did you know that your first Gothtopia story was going to appear beside so many other “imaginary” stories? Did that change your approach to it at all?
John Layman: It didn’t really change my story, but I communicated with all the other creative teams, so they knew what I was doing, and I knew what they were doing. To make sure everything meshed, and every book complimented the other while being unique. Continue reading →
Today, Mikyzptlk and Drew are discussing Detective Comics 27, originally released January 8th, 2014.
Mikyzptlk: Detective Comics 27 is an anniversary issue not only because it’s the second “Detective Comics 27” in DC’s publishing history, but also because it’s Batman’s 75th anniversary (or close to it, anyway). With that, DC has brought on an impressive array of writers and artists (Brad Meltzer! Neal Adams!) in order to celebrate the Bat’s 75th birthday. The result is as intriguing as it is entertaining and heartwarming. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and guest writer Greg Smith are discussing Detective Comics 23.3: Scarecrow, originally released September 18th, 2013. This issue is part of the Villain’s Month event. Click here for our Villains Month coverage.
Drew: Peter Tomasi is an ideal utility player — he’s able to synthesize and adapt the ideas other writers introduce in flagship titles into something that can stand up on its own. He regularly turns what could be an unwieldy Frankenstein monster into something beautiful, so long as he’s given the space to do so. It turns out that last caveat is rather important — without appropriate time to develop the ideas, he’s forced to strip them down to the connective tissue they are, yielding stories that feel rushed and obligatory. Unfortunately, Detective Comics 23.3: Scarecrow falls firmly into this latter category, squandering some etherial, appropriately Scarecrow-y Szymon Kudranski art on a strange housekeeping issue. Continue reading →
In September, DC’s entire line is going to be highjacked by the villains of the universe. The creative teams frankenstiened together from DC’s regular stable of writers and artists, but — with a few exceptions — none of titles look like logical continuations of any of the current series. How’s a body supposed to know what they’re supposed to read? That’s where our four-part guide comes in.
Batman’s basically the most bankable superhero of all-time, due in no small part to his impressive rogues gallery. It’s no surprise, then, that over a quarter of the issues coming out next month hail from Gotham City. In part one of our guide, we’ll be going over the issues from Batman, Batman and Robin, Batman: The Dark Knight, and Detective Comics. Be sure to check out Part 2 – Superman and Earth-2 and Part 3 – Justice Leagues and Teen Titans.Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Scott are discussing Detective Comics 21, originally released June 5th, 2013.
Patrick: Ah, yes: Detective Comics. I believe we’ve dropped this title twice, a dubious honor it shares with Batwing. We keep coming back to the old girl because we’re tempted by a new creative team or a character that we like. I mean, it’s already Batman, so it’s got a better than average chance at entertaining me from the get-go. However, after checking in with it this month, I’m reminded of the list of reasons we put this title down in the first place. It’s not a disaster by any stretch of the imagination, but it lacks so much of the DNA of a Batman story that it starts to feel like something else entirely. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Scott are discussing Detective Comics 16, originally released January 9th, 2013. This issue is part of the Death of the Family crossover event. Click here for complete DotF coverage.
Drew: Batman, as an idea, is essentially a very elaborate scared-straight program. The whole reason Bruce Wayne dresses up like a bat is because he believes criminals — a superstitious and cowardly lot — will be too afraid to commit crime in Gotham. Sure, some criminals are too cocksure to fear him, or simply don’t believe that he exists, but pretty much everybody runs once he actually shows up. Joker is different. For whatever reason — that he doesn’t feel fear, doesn’t mind fear, or just that he just sees Batman as a guy in a costume who keeps insisting that everybody take him seriously — the idea of Batman doesn’t deter Joker from crime. In fact, modern interpretations of the character suggest that he commits crimes in order to gain Batman’s attention. That notion is what’s made their struggle such a fundamental one, and also explains why the Joker has so many fictional fans — if he can not blink in the face of terror, so can others. The idea that the Joker could be an empowering figure is a fascinating one, but unfortunately, Detective Comics 16 doesn’t take the time to do it justice. Continue reading →
Today, Scott and Patrick are discussing Detective Comics 15, originally released December 5th, 2012. This issue is part of the Death of the Family crossover event. Click here for complete DotF coverage.Scott: It can be surprisingly easy to convince yourself of something that is obviously not true. I had a crush on a girl in elementary school and then some years later, I retroactively convinced myself that she had been my girlfriend. I don’t know how exactly it happened, but over time I came to believe this to be true, and only when I really stopped to think about it did I have the sad realization that I never had a girlfriend in elementary school at all. I also more recently convinced myself that this story sounded cute, and not at all desperate and creepy, which again may not be totally true. Regardless, I can sympathize with the Clayface arc that dominates Detective Comics 15: discovering that a love you believed in never existed sucks.
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Detective Comics 14, originally released November 7th, 2012.
Shelby: Scott Snyder has spoiled us with his work on Batman. His take on the Dark Knight is complex and expansive, allowing for a lot of personal growth for the character as well as massive cross-over events. It’s gotten so that is what I expect from Batman; epic, sweeping narratives on a grand scale. It’s easy to forget the fun to be had in a simple Batman vs. bad guys story. That’s exactly what John Layman gives us in Detective Comics; Batman chasing the baddies, being a detective. While the storytelling is a little bit clunky, it’s still a fun little jaunt into an old-school Batman adventure.
Today, Scott and Patrick are discussing Detective Comics 13, originally released October 3rd, 2012.
Scott: My former boss created a “Law and Order” cheat-sheet, a minute by minute breakdown of every plot point, twist and reveal that occurs over the course of an episode. Each episode follows this same format, almost down to the second. Even more impressive though, is that the show still manages to captivate, and even surprise the audience. Even though the format is totally predictable, they withhold just enough information that we still feel like we’re solving the crime along with the detectives, and revelations that we might have known were coming are completely satisfying. Withholding that information is key, and it’s also where Detective Comics 13 falters; what could have been an interesting mystery ultimately lacks intrigue because it gives away too much at the start. Continue reading →