“Mythology: The Price You Pay”
Never have I found it so challenging not to reveal spoilers in a comics review. For the last 5 issues writer Peter J. Tomasi has taken us on a whirlwind tour of the mythology behind Batman. A mystery assailant has been attacking his teachers, his loved ones and his mentors; friend and enemy alike. Tomasi has pitted the Dark Knight against an enemy that knows our hero every bit as well as he knows himself. At the end of Detective Comics #998 the villain stepped out of the shadows, leaving readers with more questions than answers.
Who was this child, dressed in a Bat-Suit? Bruce’s son, Damian? Master Bruce; the psychotic killer from Tom King’s Batman #38 and #61? Someone new? The answer is chilling, both in its deeper meaning, and in how obvious it should have been to all of us from the start.
Your Own Worst Enemy
The images attached divulge the identity of Batman’s nemesis, but don’t reveal the how or why he can possibly be there. My first thoughts were that someone had restarted the cloning process that Bruce initiated to make sure there was always a Batman, even after his passing. The truth is far more terrifying. I really want people to pick up this issue, nay this entire run, so I’m not going to spoil it… no matter how much I want to. Let’s just say that Peter J. Tomasi clearly loves and understands Batman and knows how to test the World’s Greatest Detective in ways that even his most deadly foes couldn’t possibly hope to compete with.
Also, please remind me never to accept a birthday present from either Batman or Peter J. Tomasi.
999 Problems, I Can’t Find One
Speaking of presents, the art in this issue is a gift in itself. Doug Mahnke deserves a medal for his prolificity. This incredible artist has managed to pencil 6 full issues of Detective Comics in three months, and every single one of them is stunning. To put this into perspective, please note that this issue has three inkers, issues #997 and #998 needed two and Jaime Mendoza has returned to help out on this finale, after inking issues #994 and #995 solo. I don’t have to tell you how great the art is on this book. Look up; see for yourself. The shift in emotion on “The Doomed Child’s” face between the last panel on page one, and the double spread powerhouse of pages two and three speak volumes.
Once again color artist David Baron and letterer Rob Leigh polish this diamond of a comic beautifully. These gents have been on this book and produced consistently excellent results twice a month every month as well, and they both work on other DC titles too! Thanks, gents. I appreciate you.
Speaking to other writers on the team, some feel that the revelations in this issue were a little anti-climactic. I disagree. This story arc has proven Batman’s determination, his work ethic and just how far he is prepared to push himself. To me this proves that no-one can test the Dark Knight, physically or mentally, more than he does himself. This is a man on a mission, and his training regimen makes him a soldier, a legend and a hero. It raises his story beyond courage, sacrifice and bravery; this is mythology, plain and simple.
Images Courtesy Of DC Entertainment