“The Neighborhood” – Part One, and “Robin” – Part Two
Writers: Mariko Tamaki and Joshua Williamson
Artists: Dan Mora and Gleb Melnikov
Color Artists: Jordi Bellaire and Gleb Melnikov
Letterers: Aditya Bidikar and ALW’s Troy Peteri
Review by Steve J. Ray
I’ve been anxiously awaiting the return of Detective Comics, since it went on temporary hiatus in December. I love this series, and for the most part it’s been one of the most consistently excellent DC books on the shelves for decades. I will miss Peter J. Tomasi, but Mariko Tamaki has already blown my mind with her work on Future State: Dark Detective. Her continuation of both Mr Tomasi’s work, and the possible future that she, oh so beautifully (and terrifyingly) depicted in her FS stories, makes Detective Comics #1034 a real treat.
It’s got to be tough taking over a book that’s recently been handled by a veteran, fan favorite writer. Add to that the pressure of creating a set of future events the current stories could be leading to, and establishing your own voice at the same time, and I do not envy Mariko Tamaki. However, I have to applaud her, and tip my hat. This issue hasn’t just been worth the wait, it’s exceeded all expectations.
If you’re the kind of reader who just follows the story, and not necessarily one who’s deeply into who makes these wonderful comics, you could be forgiven for not even noticing that the writer has changed.
Bruce Wayne’s financial upheaval, and the rise of Mayor Takano are all still factors; but now we also have the spectre of the Magistrate, and all that that entails, crouching in the shadows. It’s fantastic.
Something else that’s fantastic is Dan Mora’s art. When I heard that this incredible talent wouldn’t just be handling Dark Detective, but the ongoing adventures of Bruce Wayne too, I jumped for joy. Mora is one of those classic comics artists who can add realism, acting, storytelling, mood, atmosphere, action and drama to every image he produces. This really is a dream team.
Readers who may have been confused as to why we have part two of a Robin story we didn’t get part one of in Detective Comics, should check out Batman #106 (and Max Byrne’s great review, on this very website).
After the events in pre-Death Metal issues of Teen Titans, my faith in Damian Wayne has been shaken. Seeing him in his own stories again, and knowing that he’s getting his own title next month, is making me a little more hopeful. Joshua Williamson is one of DC’s best writers, and the fact that he wrote the two great prologues to his forthcoming ongoing Robin book, has me excited. When you see which character (and fellow superhero offspring) he’ll be facing, I’m sure you’ll be as eager as I am.
Gleb Melnikov’s art is just lovely. I adore his wide eyed, cartoony style, and his eye for design (yes, Damian’s Demon-esque/Al Ghul costume’s a bit of an eye-sore, but I feel that this was done on purpose). Robin’s new look is killer, and I’m anxious to see more of it. Talia and Damian are drawn brilliantly in this story, as is our hero’s future sparring partner.
Writers Mariko Tamaki, and Josh Williamson; artists Dan Mora, Gleb Melnikov, and Jordi Bellaire; and letterers Aditya Bidikar, and Troy Peteri, have kicked off this new era in style.
Detective Comics #1034 is a great read, and looks fantastic. I’ve loved, and collected, this series for well over thirty years, and issues like this one make it very easy for me to want to continue.
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment