Detective Comics #1 by Ammar Al SubahiPublisher: DC Comics
Writer: Tony Salvador Daniel
Artist: Tony Salvador Daniel
Inker: Ryan Winn
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
Overall Rating: 4/5
Premise: After months of investigation, Batman has finally tracked down the Joker.
So, last week we talked about Batman the super hero in Justice League of America #1. This week we'll take a look at Batman the detective in the landmark first issue of Detective Comics.
The story here is really straightforward: Batman has finally tracked down his archnemesis the Joker, who's been eluding him for months. And now that Batman's found him, he's determined to take him down for good. While Justice League is supposed to take place early in Batman's career, Detective Comics is set in the current day. However, there doesn't seem to be any significant difference between the two time periods. Detective Comics Batman seems to be the same character in the exact same situation as he's portrayed in JLA; feared by the public and hunted by the police (coincidentally, by helicopter again. You'd think after six years of chasing Batman, the GPD would at least try something new for a change).
As for the writing, I feel Daniel has definitely improved with this issue. His earlier Batman work, after Grant Morrison's run, felt like he was trying to bite off more than he could chew: arcs that were meant to have more emotional impact fell flat, excessive use of the Batman continuity/lore. With this issue, it's all back to the basics; more in line with the classics. And you don't get more classic than Batman fighting the Joker. Here Daniel delivers a very simple and true-to-the-core execution of the best Batman story there is.
As a side note, I really have to applaud Daniel for his characterization of the Joker as a credible threat to Batman. His Joker is incredibly smart and cunning, and always remains a step ahead of Batman. It's a perfect balance between the extravagant and flamboyant Tim Burton/Jack Nicholson movie portrayal and the more calculating and sinister Christopher Nolan/Heath Ledger movie portrayal.
What's interesting about the art is how it seems to strongly evoke Klaus Janson's art from Frank Miller's classic The Dark Knight Returns. The colouring is smudgier, and bleaker than what we've previously seen from Daniel's artwork, which has become simpler than before, a little bit "dirtier", so to speak. The inking feels the same way. But this is a welcome change in direction for the art. And it's one that really nails the overall mood and tone of the book.
Detective Comics, in conclusion, is simply a solid book; solid story and solid storytelling. And the last page will definitely intrigue readers to pick up the remaining issues of this arc. If you like your Batman darker and more crime-centric, then this book comes highly recommended.