Detective Comics #997 Review

by Brian Renninger on January 30, 2019

Detective Comics #997 Review
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist: Doug Mahnke
Colors: David Baron
Inks: Jaime Mendoza

Onward toward #1000, Peter J. Tomasi brings us another entry in his lead up to a major milestone for Detective Comics and DC as a whole. In this week’s issue, we continue our murderous deconstruction of Batman’s past influences for reasons yet explained. At the end of the last issue, we are reintroduced to the original Mister Miracle, Thaddeus Brown, old mentor to Bruce and Scott Free. We were promised some trouble last issue and we got it here, but ultimately we are left with far too many questions to a plot line that seems to be filling time, issue by issue until the grand finale.

I want to start by saying that I really do enjoy the circumstance and classic nature of their conundrum in this issue. It feels like a drawn out Bronze Age trap that Batman must outwit and outperform if he’s going to save the day. This issue does a good job at recreating a classic scenario and reminding us that comics, specifically Batman comics, can still be campy and fun. That being said, what in the world was the point of this issue? I’m having quite a hard time tracing any sort of cohesive narrative worth following from the start of Tomasi’s run until now. If this is just a sort of tour through Bruce’s past for the sake of bringing up familiar faces, then fine, but that could have been done with much more finesse through a series of one shots involving these characters. But, as seen in the previous issues, we just have some sort of amorphous, analogous villain that somehow knows a lot about Batman’s identity and is trying to either kill him or prove some kind of point. This many issues in, I was really hoping to see that point by now.

Speaking of Bronze Age Batman, Tomasi’s version is just as chatty. Maybe we have all gotten used to a more brooding, collected Batman, but I’m not sure why Tomasi is feeling the need to put this much of Batman’s inner train of thought onto the page in such conversational detail. What would likely be better only shown by Mankhe in the visual storytelling is also being told in such specific detail. It feels like the whole of the script panel direction is splattered in words across the page. Tomasi is a very competent storyteller, as shown in his successful Superman and Batman and Robin runs respectively, but this feels like we’re both treading water and being dragged to the end at the same time.

A final comment on the dialogue: I’m not sure what they were thinking with that “hopes and dreams” monologue.

I’m still not able to grasp the direction they’re going for this lead up to #1000 and we’re running out of road here. Hopefully the next issue will clear up both some of the plot questions we have and maybe iron out some of pacing problems as well.

Our Score:


A Look Inside