Detective Comics #939

by H├ęctor A on August 24, 2016

Script: James Tynion IV
Pencils: Eddy Barrows
Inks: Eber Ferreira
Colors: Adriano Lucas
Letters: Marylin Patrizio
Publisher: DC

***This review contains SPOILERS***

Detective Comics #939 picks up immediately after last issue's conclusion, where Colonel Kane and The General decided to sic an army of drones on Gotham citizens who they suspected were members of the League of Shadows. The team scrambles to stop any casualties and Red Robin overrides their programming to make himself every drone's target.


That cliffhanger is fairly concerning but I want to talk about the issue's art team first. having Adriano Lucas on coloring is great. The color palette on the flashback that opens the issue made me think that Al Barrionuevo was drawing it just because of how it recalls last issue's intro. Lucas takes a lot of adventorous choices with his coloring and that's something I always appreciate. Some close-ups are too heavily rendered but those shots of Batman swinging across Gotham City look incredible. I'm also a big fan of Albuquerque's variants for this, they're not too elaborate but that streamlined look works, they all look fantastic.


Overall, I don't like Barrows' and Ferreira's art as much as Martínez's. Comparing them is probably not as fair as thinking of their art on its own would be but that's the sort of association that having them alternate makes me jump to. The character acting is odd, Ferreira's inks are very heavy, purporsely obscuring a large portion of the characters' faces, which works for Barman but it ends up making Red Robin look awkward as the shadows clash with his mask.


The layouts, which have been very bizarre on this series, are clearer here, even though they don't really get anymore conventional. On a few pages the layouts remind me a bit of Rocafort on The Ultimates with those tilted panels. Although Barrows incorporates more negative space in this particular issue, the pages sometimes come across as too loaded. For what it's worth, Barrows is really good at arranging those weird JH Williams layouts, even if I don't really like them.


Tynion and Barrows create a few really great visuals with their characters, as they usually do. The team throws in a DKR reference, which is apparently in vogue. There's also Batwoman and Batman looking over Gotham and Tim Drake facing up against an army drones. I'm sincerely worried about Tim Drake dying, Tynion goes out of his way to establish how he'll stop being a vigilante and go off to college soon. The larger focus on him this issue feels like foreshadowing. I'd hope to see all of this team together for a while longer but, truth be told I'm happy to read whatever story Tynion wants to tell with these characters.


The second half of the issue goes very fast, but it does a lot to set up what should be a thrilling final issue for this arc. Tynion's pacing has been mesmerizing since he took over this title, he can keep setting up all this fantastic character moments while the story keeps getting more and more intense. The amount of plot points that he's juggling is impressive, especially because no character feels relegated while he explores Batman and Batwoman's relationship, Tim Drake's future, Clayface's path to redemption, etc.


I would like to see more consistent art but overall the experience of reading Detective Comics may be better because of double-shipping, most of these issues that pick up immediately where the last one left off. I don't know if it's worth the pressure that it may put on the creative team (especially in the long run) but this is a story that may have took 7 months to be released and it came out in just over 3 months.


Anyways, this series just doesn't let up, Tynion and co. leave us with another exciting cliffhanger after a fun issue. The whole arc has been fantastic. I'm excited to see how “Rise of the Batmen” reads all together after the final issue comes out next month.

Our Score:


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