One of the most well received titles on comic stands right now is DC’s “Detective Comics.” After Rebirth, Detective followed through with Geoff John’s promise of a return to legacy by adopting the titles original numbering, starting with #934, and it’s worth noting that although technically this is the third volume under that heading, the series dates back to 1937, making it one of the longest running titles of all time. Critics and bloggers have written countless of articles on the literary merits of this twice monthly book since its Rebirth launch this past summer. Bat-fans and virgin readers alike should call upon the powers of google to seek these out if they are still on the fence as to wether or not to pick this up. However, the purpose of this article isn’t meant to sway consumer opinion as much as it is to introduce readers to the cast and crew of this on going Bat-centric team book.
Outside the book:
At present, this pillar of DC comics is being captained by James Tynion IV. James is a protege of fan favorite Scott Synder, and his direction for Detective rolls out of last years Batman & Robin Eternal (B&RE). He’s also headed up titles such as Batman Eternal and Talon. Now, if you haven’t read B&RE, it’s highly suggested you do so before diving into the waters of Detective Comics. Not only is it an entertaining read, a lot of current continuity and character development comes out of those paneled pages. Most local comic shops will have B&RE collected in its trade paperback form, or collectors can dive in to back issue bins to find all 26 issues of the original floppies. Tynion’s scripts have been visually realized by a revolving team of Eddy Barrows and Alvaro Martinez. Long time fans have probably seen Barrows lay down lines on books like The New 52’s Nightwing and Earth 2 World’s End, while Martinez is a lesser known artist who has contributed to books such as B&RE, Marvel’s Ultimate Comics X-Men, and Convergence Blue Beetle, but doesn’t seem to have headlined any ongoing titles. These gentlemen are working hard to pump out a new chapter every two weeks, and if current sales are any indication of quality, they aren’t disappointing.
Inside the book:
As usual, the DC comics universe has no shortage of titles revolving around Bruce Wayne and his stable of vigilantes. Tom King and Scott Snyder are scribing their own Dark Knight stories as well. What Tynion IV has done to give Detective its own unique appeal is create a story dynamic which doesn’t actually focus on the cowled crusader, but brings together a team of Bruce’s former apprentices, disciples, and their friends. As mentioned, Detective Comics is currently a byproduct of a story that took place in the New 52’s continuity. It’s the comic world’s worst kept secret that a lot of readers strongly disliked the New 52, and simply walked away after that particular reboot. If thats the case, you may recognize some of the characters names from pre-crisis stories, but won’t be familiar with their post Flashpoint identities. Lets solve that. Not a lot has changed with Bruce and Dick, and they are mainstream enough that chances are readers know all that they need to, and despite what Warner Brothers seem to think, we don’t need a dead parent recap every 5 minutes. So, this will focus on some of the lesser known or most changed players.
- Kate Kane/Batwoman– This red and black clad night stalker is actually Bruce’s cousin on his mother’s side. Following in her father’s footsteps, Kate enlisted and excelled in the Army. Unfortunately for Kate, these were the days of archaic laws such as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and she was court marshaled for being lesbian. This lead to bit of a downward spiral, but a chance encounter with her estranged cousin prompted an attitude change and Kate took the mantle as the crime fighting Batwoman in her own self titled series. Collectors looking for Kate’s first appearance will find it in 52 #7 and as Batwoman in #11.
- Tim Drake/Robin– The 3rd iteration of the boy wonder, Tim is a computer genius who essentially black mailed his way to the side of the Dark Knight. Very little has changed in the New 52 for Tim, except for a few details regarding the Penguin and a large sum of money. You’ll have to go way back to find the original Tim Drake’s first appearance in Batman 436. If you were wondering, yes, Jason Todd is still deadish.
- Basil Karlo/Clayface– Yes, that Clayface. The actor turned villain seeks redemption in hopes to keep his name clear and relaunch his career as a working professional. He’s a heavy who’s shape shifting abilities are used deftly in this story. There have been several Clayface’s since the character was created by the Bat-fathers themselves, Bob Kane and Bill Finger, in Detective Comics #40.
- Stephanie Brown/Spoiler– Stephanie has had a long history in the Bat time line, but one thing that hasn’t changed is that she’s the Cluemasters daughter and she hates her dad. Bruce and Kate recruited her to them team after she was so integral to bringing down Mother in B&RE. She also gives Tim Drake kisses. Historically, Stephanie has not only held the mantle of Spoiler, she suited up as Batgirl as well, but seeing as how popular Barbra Gordon is, you should expect to see Spoiler stick around for a while. Go hit up back issue
bins to find her first appearance in Detective Comics #647.
- Orphan/Cassandra Cain– This character is the main reason to go back and read the Eternal stories. This version of Cassandra is a highly flawed, highly damaged killing machine with poor social skills and a very limited vocabulary. She is distant from most of the team, however she has a special Bond with Spoiler. On one hand, Orphan is a sentient weapon, on the other she is a liability that has to be kept in check. The original Cassie made her debut in Batman 567, and her heritage still plays a major roll in her character trope.
Hopefully this introduction to Detective comics has been informative and may have alleviated any confusion about the current state of our heroes. Go check your LCS to look for any of the titles listed, and as always, you can follow my comic adventures on instagram and twitter by following @councilofcaleb.