Detective Comics #958 Review
By John Saavedra @johnsjr9
“Detective Comics” begins a new arc with issue #958, and it’s all about Azrael, the assassin turned hero whom writer James Tynion IV has lovingly reintroduced into the Batman family in the past few issues. Something’s coming for members of the Order of St. Dumas and Jean-Paul Valley might be the only member left to stop it. Meanwhile, Bruce is still looking for answers to many of the questions left over from April’s “The Button” crossover. His journey leads him to the most unlikely of places: a nightclub!
The first part of “Intelligence” is a lot of setup, unfortunately. Tynion IV’s snappy writing isn’t enough to save this exposition-heavy issue, which dishes out a lot of backstory and even a connection to 2015’s “Batman & Robin Eternal” that you might completely miss unless you’ve followed Cassandra Cain’s return to the DCU for the past few years.
There’s a section in the beginning that’s meant to set up something like a Chekhov’s gun that doesn’t quite gel with the rest of the issue, although we do get the issue’s only real hints of action in those opening pages. The scene also reintroduces an old character into the DC continuity, and he’s in pretty bad shape. To say that his entrance is a bit bizarre is an understatement.
Alvaro Martinez pencils are really impressive, though. The very first page of the book is especially nice to look at, as a trail of blood trickles into the Gotham City sewers. It’s a nice little homage to film noir too, as a dark (very hairy) figure in a trench coat and fedora makes his way menacingly toward a large crowd. Tynion IV and Martinez do a great job of pulling the rug from under us when they reveal who this figure is and what he’s up to.
Martinez tells much of the story in two-page spreads, and there’s a particularly spectacular one midway through the book. This one again has to do with the story’s connection to “Batman & Robin Eternal.” I really like how Martinez plays with the panels here.
I’ve always loved the story behind the Order of St. Dumas, which was first introduced back in the 90s by Denny O’Neil. It’s not that DC isn’t FULL of shadow organizations and secret brotherhoods – Batman canon is particularly conspiracy heavy – but the fact that the Order acts based on religious beliefs. I feel that it leaves Azrael’s psyche open for some really interesting exploration. There are hints of that in #958, and I hope Tynion IV goes even deeper with it.
There’s a moment I really love toward the end of the issue, while Bruce is at the nightclub. It’s a tiny little detail that might not end up being too relevant, but I think it could also be an interesting little subplot if Tynion IV chooses to chase it. It would certainly touch upon the religious aspects of the story I mentioned.
Also, Cassandra and Clayface continue to be the most adorable characters in this book. They only get a scene in passing, but it’s a good one. Give these two a spin-off!
I’m intrigued by “Intelligence,” which means that the first issue of the arc did its job. I just hope #959 gives the characters a bit more to do.
The Geeked Gods Score 3/5 Stars
Detective Comics #958
Writer/Letterer: James T. Tynion IV
Artist: Alvaro Martinez
Inks: Paul Fernandez
Colors: Brad Anderson
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Cover Art-Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira,& Adriano Lucas
Variant Cover Rafael Albuquerque
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: June 14, 201