I wasn’t going to buy the new issues of Detective Comics by Paul Dini and J.H. Williams III but, like Jon Cormier, when I discovered their debut was a single-issue story I no longer had a good reason not to get it. As both Cormier and warlock note, Detective Comics used to be about mysteries requiring Batman to do some actual detecting, and with #821 Dini puts the Detective back in DC. Furthermore, Batman exploits his connections as Bruce Wayne, as well the persona of Bruce Wayne “himself”, to draw out and discover the villain du jour.
The story begins with a strong narration on the first page that turns out to be Batman himself, and is continued throughout in a tone that sounds very natural to the character. Chalk it up to Dini’s years of experience on Batman: The Animated Series and its subsequent spinoffs. And I haven’t even mentioned the visuals.
But what is there to say except relish the JHWIII art, reminiscent of Jae Lee’s style but made great due to Williams’ sophisticated sense of design. As Tom Bondurant advises:
Savor its done-in-oneness, and remember the years of line-wide crossovers. Notice the painted scene transitions, the deco-font captions, the fact that Robin (!) gets a dramatic reveal. Ponder whether the opening two-page spread, with its judicious use of white impact marks and sound effect, is an homage to the Adam West show. Everything about this comic feels right.