“Gotham Nocturne: Act One – Grand Design” – Part Four, and “Absolute” – Part One
Writers: Ram V and Simon Spurrier
Artists: Dexter Soy, Stefano Raffaele, Miguel Mendonca and Caspar Wijngaard
Color Artists: Adriano Lucas
Letterers: Ariana Maher and Steve Wands
Review by James Attias
Detective Comics #1069 is yet another terrific issue and an improvement of the issues that came before. This story’s really starting to form, but we still don’t know what the Orgham’s grand design is. I’m sure it will be a terrifying thing!
A Soul is a terrible thing to lose…
This issue gives us a lot of gasp moments, that elements of the story have had a slow and tantalizing build-up to. We also have wonderful character-defining moments for Renee Montoya and Harvey Dent/Two-Face.
When I saw the Ten-Eyed Man pop up last issue, I was worried we were going to have another Arkham City: The Order of the World on our hands. That can only be described as a fever dream that someone drew on the wall of their padded cell. So, when I saw that Slender Man from Wish popping up again I was a bit worried. Alas, Two-Face did swing to the rescue with some of the best dialogue we’ve had from the character in years.
Bruce has been beaten, bloodied, and broken and this fight just seems relentless. He’s been stitched up and pulled from the grave by multiple friends and foes at this point, yet something about this fight is starting to feel different.
Every comic book clickbait site in the world mentioned, after the last issue, that “Batman has a contingency if he ever fights a Werewolf?!” I didn’t make much of this huge internet revelation after the fact because, well of course he does! Do you really think that after being a member of the Justice League, as well as in an on-again and off-again relationship with Zatanna since they were 17 that he wouldn’t think, “I should probably add supernatural elements to my prep list”? This issue deals with the ramifications of that fight and what the people, police, and the Batman of Gotham will need to do next to survive these demon attacks and what’s causing them.
Taking The Lead
Most Batman stories have one common problem, and every actor who’s ever played the character seems to have seen this in the past. The Dark Knight’s often overshadowed by the colorful loud witty villains he faces off against, so the dark brooding hero is left with grunts and shadows as his arsenal of choice. This story’s different. With these new, colorful, well-spoken villains, it feels like a balance has finally been formed. They too operate from the shadows and lead dual lives in the public eye and from the shadows at night. Is that why this story feels so different? If you’ve wanted a different kind of Batman story and think you’ve read them all, think again old chum, and jump on this train.
The art in this issue was great, taking my mind back to the Red Hood and the Outlaws title of the New 52. In other words, I have nothing bad to say about it. The writing’s improving with every chapter and I’m starting to feel like I was too harsh at the start of all this. Maybe I’m the one who needs to go back and look at the brush strokes of an artist I just passed off as too complicated. Only time will tell. All in all, this was another strong issue in the series.
Mr. Freeze has been a highlight of the main series so far, even if he did only appear in a cameo. This story leads us to believe that dear old Victor has a bigger part to play, as he’s taken Harvey Dent’s former therapist hostage, only not for ransom demands or the usual reasons. This time he needs a (her) really big brain. I can’t give too much away, but this is by far the most compelling backup story we’ve had since this run began. I hope that it stays that way for the next two parts, as these second stories have been playing with my mind and I just want one to be consistent. Let us know what you think!
Detective Comics #1069 is a strong issue. Great art, great writing. This finally feels like part of a bigger plan!
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment