Writer(s): Brian Buccellato, Francis Manapaul
Penciller: Fernando Blanco
Detective Comics #43 sees the GCPD dealing with corruption in its ranks, which is not a new plot point in the scope of Batman’s history, but it’s treated realistically enough here to make the plot point count. This is also the most I’ve ever seen the new Batsuit in action and it doesn’t do much to change my thoughts. I don’t like the mechanized suit, but I like what Batman’s wearing underneath it. To me, the most interesting thing about the issue is the way Batman interacts with allies Montoya and Bullock.
I’ve gotten used to the idea of James Gordon being the Batman and this is one of the biggest reasons I was interested in seeing where it goes. He interacts with people in a completely different way than Bruce ever did. His relationships with Montoya and Bullock have been the complete opposite of Bruce’s because these are people he knows inside and out. They also know that he is Batman which adds depth to those relationships in one respect and cheapens it in others. It makes the expositional scenes easier, but it would have been a very interesting dynamic to take the time and explore Gordon trying to hide his identity from his closest allies and how well it would really work out in the long run.
What I like about this issue is that Bullock gets more of the spotlight than anyone else. I have always thought that Bullock is a more interesting character than he’s been given credit for in the past. His issues with corruption in the GCPD make for an interesting plot point. It doesn’t quite go as far as it needs to, but hopefully that continues to develop as the series does.
The tough thing here is that, despite their interactions, the Batman scenes and the scenes with Bullock and Montoya feel like separate comics. There’s a tonal imbalance to this issue of Detective Comics where it almost feels like it can’t figure out if it wants to be a Batman comic or a Gotham Central comic. There are procedural, noir-esque elements to the comic that are great, but also feel contradicted by the Batman and his place within the book. This might be the biggest issue with the new Batman is that he almost feels like he doesn’t belong in the world of Gotham.
The ending didn’t gel with me much either. I would like to hope that the new Batman’s interactions with villains won’t simply feature a man in a robotic suit fighting a bigger robotic suit.
Nonetheless, there’s strong character work in Detective Comics #43 and the developing plot points make the series worth reading as it continues.