Detective Comics #27 Review
Published by DC Comics
I have to start this review by telling you guys how absolutely ecstatic I was when this issue was announced. Detective Comics #27 is not only the 75th Anniversary Special, but it’s a collection of some of the best writers and artists to ever grace the pages of comics. My excitement double when I leaned that not only was Scott Snyder (my favorite writer currently in comics) involved, but Frank Miller (quite possibly my favorite writer of all-time) had his name attached to this project as well!
What we have here is a collection of short stories not only detailing Batman’s past and present, but his future as well!
The Case of the Chemical Syndicate
Written by Brad Meltzer
Art by Bryan Hitch
This is a new take on an absolutely classic tale. Batman is at ACE Chemical stopping a crime in progress when an….accident happens. Sound familiar? The Case of the Chemical Syndicate takes the possible origin of the Joker on in a totally new, but still recognizable way. The story is told as the very first journal entry for Batman. Gordon and the GCPD are seeing him for the very first time and still treat him like the very criminals he’s sworn to stop!
I really like Brad Meltzer’s idea that the Joker wasn’t involved in a robbery of ACE Chemicals in a very literal sense. Alby and Paulie are chair members for the company when other members are starting to mysteriously die. Paulie goes to warn Alby that maybe they should leave town, only to learn Alby is behind it all! Bats and Paulie find themselves locked in some sort of gas chamber; Bruce has his first realization that maybe he should listen to Alfred’s advice more often and eventually gets himself out of the predicament. After a tussle with the Batman, Alby is knocked a vat of chemicals, and all we’re left with is a hand reaching out of it at the end of the story. I’d really love to see this fleshed out into a 4-6 issue mini, even if it’s not in continuity. I’d just like to see more backstory as to why Alby is doing the things he’s doing! It could make for an interesting read.
The art in this short was solid, but it’s probably my least favorite out of every story in the book. It has a very 90’s feel to it and does a good job telling the story, but Brad Hitch had some really stuff competition in this issue! That’s not to say it’s not good art though; it just doesn’t measure up to the rest of the issue in comparison!
3 out of 5 nerds
Written by Gregg Hurwitz
Art by Neal Adams
As far as story depth goes, Old School is probably the most shallow of the bunch. That’s definitely not a bad thing! Batman and Robin are at the circus thwarting a robbery only for Bruce to find out that nothing is really as it seems!
This short had everything that a fan of all things Batman could want. Much in the vein of the Adam West television series; it was campy, action-packed, and just a hell of a lot of fun! It was great to see some of my favorite villains in a much more classic setting instead of in the dark tales told in most of today’s comics.
While I had a lot of fun with the story, the art reigns supreme in this short. Neal Adams is a name most, if not all fans in comics know. He’s an Eisner Award winner and it shows in every single panel in Old School. I’ve grown accustomed to the DC ‘house’ style, but these pages are absolutely beautiful. Out of every story in this book, I had the most fun with this one!
4 out of 5 nerds
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Ian Bertram
The Dark Knight Returns, in my mind, is the absolute greatest comic book ever written. Along with Alan Moore’s Watchmen, it helped from the landscape of comics into what we see before us today. Better Days takes the tale of TDKR a step further. Set in the distant future of Gotham, it’s Bruce Wayne’s 75th birthday! He’s surprised by the people closest to him, Dick, Babs, Damian, Tim, and Alfred, with a birthday celebration. Not long into the party, our group of heroes are called out to do what they do best, save Gotham. This gives us the opportunity to see who Bruce really is deep down; he’s Batman and he always will be!
I absolutely loved this story. Peter J. Tomasi has shown us with the Batman & Robin series that not only does he take his Batman seriously, he’s shown us that he writes the character extremely well. I can’t imagine how nerve racking it must’ve been taking on the adaptation of such a classic story, but I can’t say enough great things about this story; it was hands down my favorite in the bunch!
It was blatantly obvious that Ian Bertram’s art for this story was a nod to the classic Frank Miller story. It does the job it was meant to, but I don’t love it nearly as much as I do the art in TDKR. It’s still great and any hang ups I have with it are minor at best!
5 out of 5 nerds
Story & Art by Francesco Francavilla
Hero is the shortest story in this issue. It’s a tale of Batman saving a young James Jr. from danger once again. (A la Batman: Year One!)
I don’t really have much to say about the story in this short; it’s only a couple of pages long! I do love that we get a foreshadowing glimpse of the evil inside of James Jr. though! The art on the other hand, is ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL! Francesco Francavilla needs to take over the art duties on a Batman series ASAP! I can’t gush over how gorgeous his art was and how beautifully it blends with the darkness in the world of the Batman. For the art alone I have to give this short…
5 out of 5 nerds
Written by Mike Barr
Art by Guillem March
Not often in a Batman story do we actually deal with the supernatural. Sure, we have characters like the Mad Hatter and Scarecrow that have taken Batman on some pretty trippy adventures, but those are just illusions. Enter the Phantom Stranger. He’s been tasked with showing Bruce what his life would have been like had that night in Crime Alley gone differently and had his parents survived. It’s a great ‘what if’ story and I love seeing Bruce get to enjoy true happiness, if only for a short time. Outside of Wayne Manor, Gotham has turned into a personal Hell for it’s citizens. The streets are entirely overrun with gangs because there’s no Batman around to turn the tides against crime.
This story had easily the most emotional connection out of any short in the book. Bruce gets to see what becomes of himself along with members of his family only to realize that his happily ever after would have come at the cost of the greater good. You can’t help but feel his agony when it’s all ripped away from him in the end and a sense of peace when he realizes that by being Batman he’s not only taken his own fate into his hands, but the fate of Gotham and the world as a whole. It’s really powerful stuff a la It’s a Wonderful Life or the story of Scrooge!
After going back and reading this by itself the second time, I realized I like the art a lot more than I initially realized. (It’s a lot different than when you look at it following up Francavilla’s work in the previous story!) It’s got a really ominous feel to it and fits in with the appearance of the Stranger.
4.5 out of 5 nerds
Written by John Layman
Art by Jason Fabok
I was the most apprehensive of this short as it kicks off Gothtopia. The setting is a futuristic Gotham with almost no crime. Batman and his new Bat-family walk around in broad daylight policing the streets and all seems well. We learn, however, that not all is as it seems!
I haven’t been remotely excited for Gothtopia. The amount of tie-ins and crossover books in comics has gotten beyond ridiculous. I have to hand it to this story though. I still probably won’t read the tie-ins outside of my pull, but this story has me at least a little intrigued about what’s really going on in Gotham!
Wait a minute, is that a white Batsuit?! I get that it’s to signify Batman’s place in this strange, new world. He doesn’t have to hide in the shadows anymore therefor doesn’t HAVE to wear black, but this might be something I can’t get used to. If you look beyond the color though, this is probably the most badass looking suit in the bunch. It reminds me a lot of the Christian Bale suit from the Dark Knight Trilogy!
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Sean Murphy
Ahhhh! Finally! The Scott Snyder story of the issue! Before I picked this up I didn’t realize the creative team behind The Wake (which I love) would be doing this story together. Snyder builds on an idea introduced to us during the Batman Beyond/Justice League Unlimited animated shows. Simply put, the world always needs a Batman. Instead if Amanda Waller organically creating a son for Bruce though, Bruce takes it into his own hands to clone himself. Each Batman has 27 years of optimum effectiveness and after his time is up, he simply clones a new one to train and take his place!
I’m absolutely floored that even after two years of writing Batman, Scott Snyder still has fresh, original stories to tell about him. I love the fact he gave is a glimpse into the distant future of Bruce Wayne and I love the idea of him ALWAYS being Batman. I had no idea what to expect from this short and came away loving the fact that this tale came totally out of left field!
It’s so strange to see a Scott Snyder Batman story without Greg Capullo’s art! Sean Murphy’s art is gorgeous though. He, like Capullo, has a very distinct style that just seems to fit in well with the story Snyder is conveying. Like he does in The Wake, Murphy has a great grasp on the scale of the worlds surrounding each Bruce we’re shown.
5 out of 5 nerds
Wow what a book! The price tag is hefty at $7.99 and it would’ve been easy for this issue to fall flat on it’s face with so many creative teams on it, but it works perfectly at being exactly what it’s supposed to; an ode to the Batman. A character as iconic as the Bat deserves nothing but the utmost respect when you approach a project like this one. When a character has changed as much as he has over the last 75 years it would be incredibly easy to overlook some of the older aspects of the character, but this project embraces Batman in almost every adaptation we’ve had the privilege of seeing him in. My expectations for it were beyond lofty and I couldn’t have come away more satisfied with it. Simply put, it’s impossible for a book to be perfect, but Detective Comics #27 is damn close. For the reason I give the issue as a whole…
5 out of 5 nerds