Detective Comics #950

by mahargen on February 10, 2017

Writer:  James Tynion IV
Art:  Marcio Takara, Alvaro Martinez, Eddy Barrows, Dean White, Raul Fernandez, Brad Anderson,  Eber Ferreira, and Adriano Lucas (whew)
Publisher:  DC Comics
I’m going to put my old man cap on for a moment (Editor’s Note:  I’ll be turning all of 35 this year.  Send whiskey), and give a lecture about milestones.  There was a day and age where they meant something.  The issues ending in 00 or 50 (and to a lesser extent 25 and 75) were generally important events in the story.  Some of that has been lost in recent years with the non-stop rebooting.  But Rebirth is taking back the milestone issue.  After restoring Detective Comics to its previous numbering system, we get a super –sized 950th issue with three stories, a host of artists, and a great deal of heart.
The first story is a welcome one – a character piece focusing on Orphan, Cassandra Cain.  Since the ending of Batman and Robin Eternal she’s been a constant force in Detective Comics, if not just outside of the spotlight.  Here she finds herself center stage and the reader is taken on a heartfelt journey through her day-to-day existence.  Tynion’s story is beautiful.  We’re taken on a tour through Cassandra’s emotions that so often she is unsure of how to express.  Her life up until this point has been one of single-minded violence.  I love that she has become a “Phantom”-type figure at the Gotham Metropolitan Ballet (a nice tie-in to her time in Prague), where she has discovered beauty.  From there we get a whirlwind of exposition as she crosses paths with the various characters in her life.  Each instance does more to develop Cassandra and her emerging personality.  She is constantly at war with herself, with her programming.  I’m happy Tynion has been able to tell Cassandra’s story in these pages.  I’m looking forward to what “League of Shadows” has to give us.  That being said, the story does seem to stumble when the focus shifts away from Cassandra.  I feel it would have worked better had the focus been kept on her movements.  The interludes felt unnecessary.   
Marcio Takara’s art was stunning in parts, but underwhelming in others.  He has a great eye for panel layouts and placement, but some of his figures were a little rigid and the talking head panels got rough.  The rigid aspect is confusing, because some of his work with Cassandra had a beautiful fluidity to it.  His art paired well with the heavy exposition of this story.  There was a lot of reading, and Takara kept things moving and visually interesting.  His dark, angular style is a great fit for Batman books and I’m hoping to see more of him in the future.
The second story, focusing on Azrael and Batwing, is a nice set-up for future stories and gives more substance than I was expecting.  I’m still not quite sure about how they’re going to be playing Jean Paul Valley in this book.  Will his sanity go south as it did in the pre-Flashpoint universe?  You don’t get that kind of programming and walk away from it as a functional person.  I’m sure the other shoe will drop eventually.  Can’t say I’m thrilled about an evil A.I. story, but robots have never been my thing.  Hopefully there is an interesting spin to it that will keep it fresh.  The art was solid, but aside from a few action beats the majority of the pages were talking heads so there wasn’t much for the team to work with. 
The final story is a quick vignette set before/during the events of the very first arc.  We get to see Tim Drake back as Red Robin (including a surprise appearance by the Redbird) once again.  I’ve always loved Tim Drake, because intellectually he is the closest to Batman.  He sees the small moves that are made and how they all fit together.  He’s putting together what appears to be a line-wide story featuring Batman preparing the various members of the Batfamily for an impending war.  It’s smarts like this that made Mr. Oz remove him from the playing field.  2017 is going to be an interesting year.
There we have it.  A great, powerful issue with perfect writing and great art across the board.  Everything a milestone issue should be.  I, for one, can’t wait to see what #1000 brings.  

Our Score:


A Look Inside