RATING: ENJOYABLE ISSUE, read for suspense and to get that Batman: Animated Series feel again!
Have you missed the good ole days of Batman: The Animated Series, where the storylines were made for both teens and adults? Imagine that for a monthly comic book. Detective Comics is that comic book now. New Detective Comics artist, Jason Fabok claimed that Detective Comics would be like Batman: The Animated Series, he was right! Issue #13, started off edgy and dark with cool action scenes. It is all thanks to John Layman who is now Detective Comics new writer who is now developing the full potential of what Detective Comics should be nowadays. A comic book filled with mystery for each issue with coherent and exciting storytelling. Layman does not disappoint.
Issue #13 starts off with Batman fighting thugs on top of a roof, with voice-overs describing his inner thoughts. Usually, voice-overs are annoying but Layman found a way to make them meaningful. The thing about Batman is that he is an introverted individual who always thinks things through. We get to see this in the issue. The Penguin is the main villain for this issue and even though Layman’s new Detective Comics story arc is “The Emperor Penguin.” This story arc goes well beyond The Penguin’s storyline and into the more dark twisted lives of other villains as well. However, for this issue it is all about The Penguin versus Batman. Even though, The Penguin is not a huge physical fighter; he is a very versed strategist who keeps Batman on his toes. I was very pleased to see Nightwing in this issue and his sole purpose is to help Batman while giving a few one liners to Batman that actually sounded like Dick Grayson from Nightwing.
Jason Fabok did not disappoint with his artwork in this issue. I wouldn’t assume anything less from him since he worked under David Finch (current artist of Batman:The Dark Knight). If you haven’t seen David Finch’s work, I would suggest you pick up Batman: The Dark Knight #12 and see the grittiness that is Finch. Fabok does not show much grit like Finch, but instead, shows polished dark Batman. Fabok uses a lot of shadows in his work to bring out the mystery in the comic book. The way Fabok drew Batman, we see him as a more brolic Batman with a well defined stature. Batman definitely looks bigger and more menacing as he ambushes people in this issue. Even though, Fabok kept his panels convectional it was best because I found myself more interested in the storyline than the artwork. Fabok’s art helped bring illustration to Layman’s work by heightening the suspense in the story. It was much appreciated.
As for the back-up story by Layman, it was great cap off to the issue. The back-up story is related to one of The Penguin’s henchman called Ogilvy. You see Ogilvy trying to recruit thugs into The Penguin’s gang. I found it interesting to see a story about Ogilvy because it seems that The Penguin has a lot of trust in the man, which is odd because The Penguin never trusts anyone. Anyway, it was great to see the story and the ending to the back-up story was just awesome. It truly felt like a Detective Comics story!
The artwork was done by Andy Clarke who has been doing tons of variant covers for Batman and Batman INC. He has even drawn some back-up stories for Batman such as the back-up for Batman #0 featuring all the Robins and Barbara Gordon. Clarke has been known to do sketchy grit artwork showing off strong features in faces, and in the shadowing of characters’ faces and sceneries. You automatically recognize his work immediately. Within the eight pages of the back-up story, you get so much from his panels. He even has great flashback panels that work superbly! I believe very soon, Clarke will be getting his own comic book to draw. It might be a Batman/Batman-related comic book down the line. Funny thing is, Clarke might replace David Finch for Batman: The Dark Knight since Finch is moving onto Justice League of America. I wouldn’t be surprised nor disappointed to know that Batman: The Dark Knight will continue to have a dark grittiness to it. I hope DC Comics follows through with bringing Clarke onto Batman: The Dark Knight. Overall, I predict that Detective Comics will be one of the top comic books this Fall alongside Batman and Batman: The Dark Knight.
Check out some of the panels that I thought were cool.