“Gotham Nocturne: Motif”
Writer: Ram V
Artists: Christopher Mitten, Rafael Albuquerque, and Hayden Sherman
Color Artist: Lee Loughridge
Letterer: Deron Bennett
Review by James Attias
The Detective Comics Annual 2022 is a journey into the past, a glimpse at what was Gathome City (Settlement) in 1776. Was this a new take, or old news? Read on to find out!
You can use my Homework, But Change the Names
Here we are Gathome Settlement 1776. I went into this issue with an open mind as the current story in Detective Comics hasn’t had me gripping the edge of my seat, but I go into every single Batman comic with the same mindset: I hope this is the best thing I will ever read.
This issue felt like a TV show special, a Star Trek Holodeck episode, or, dare I say, the episode of Family Guy when they look into the past and everyone’s played by someone who’s usually on the show. The names are changed but they keep a little element of the original. In this issue, my name would go from James Attias to Aimes Jattyeye. It also really helps that the characters who represent our favorite Gotham villains and rogues look exactly like they usually do, but with old-time goatee beards and hats. As well as a cameo appearance by Ichabod Crane (an homage to the character from Sleepy Hollow – Scarecrow edition) and a man named Proctor (homage to The Crucible, which shared a lot of themes with this story – Witches and honorable men).
Something Familiar This Way Comes
The story is framed in the present day and goes on to show that the more things change in Gotham, the more they stay the same. We see the evil reverend Crane threatening to burn a Healing woman as a witch (Poison Ivy) with a bandit riding into town (Two-Face). There was a lot to unpack, and all of it was interesting and fun. This has felt like the first issue in Ram V’s Detective, where the writer’s shown a fresh take whilst still honoring the past.
The art seems to improve as the issue goes on. It starts out a little rough around the edges but towards the end, it pays homage to other stories and even shows cameos from a few.
With this story set in Gotham around 350 years ago, I’ll be very interested to see how this all plays into the bigger picture. Is this story telling us that the Oghams have been waging a war against the Bat Protector of Gotham for that long? Does it tie into Bruce Wayne: The Road Home? Was that Gotham by Gaslight? For the first time in a little while I’ve been left excited about the next issue of this run, so I’m looking forward to what comes next.
The Detective Comics 2022 Annual was an entertaining read. I really enjoyed the book and felt the playful nature of the writing style. More of this going forward, please.
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment
Review Written in Loving Memory of Kevin Conroy – Always Our Batman.