|Cover by Tony Salvador Daniel|
Detective Comics #1 (September 7, 2011)
Writer: Tony Salvador Daniel
Penciller: Tony Salvador Daniel
Inker: Ryan Winn
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
That’s really all I’ve got to say about this comic. It probably didn’t help that I read this at 5:00 in the morning after waking up from a nightmare. I had thought, Oh, let me read my new Batman comic, it’ll calm me down; good old trusty, reliable Batman.
I was wrong.
These comics flipped me out and now, after waking up after a few more hours of DAMN-BATMAN sleep, I have to say that Detective Comics #1 was pretty incredible.
I don’t want to give anything away because this comic had such a swift and unexpected punch to the gut that blew me away. What I will say is that for once, the combination between story line and art perfectly melded together to give a gripping, disturbing and genuinely scary comic book. Daniel did an enviable job with giving the reader a beautifully crafted Batman comic.
I could probably talk about the art alone for a long time but I’ll try to rein it in. Suffice it to say, Daniel kept all of the traditional aspects of the Batman mythos in the panels: the Dark Knight sprinting across roof tops in a foggy Gotham City with a full moon and bats for company, for example. His rendition of the Joker was also familiar but definitely modernized in minute ways and also, genuinely terrifying.
Neither Batman nor the Joker were gimmicky or presented as anything other than damaged and sick men who take their jobs very, very seriously. In fact, Daniel did not play up the comedic aspect of the Joker at all but instead focused on how dangerous and unpredictably deadly he can be. I was actually afraid of this Joker, which does not often happen.
I particularly loved a page in which Batman meets with Commissioner Gordon on the Gotham City Police Department’s rooftop. Again, this was a familiar scene, one that I have seen countless times before, but Daniel managed to imbue it with fresh sensibilities and a great montage of panels that illustrate the connection and respect between Gordon and Batman.
This was also a very violent comic, which normally does not bother me. The sheer level to which the violence escalated, however, was a distinct and disturbing surprise and I actually felt a little sick by the conclusion of the comic. It’s obvious to me that Daniel wanted to up the ante with Detective Comics #1 and give the reader something totally unexpected at the risk of either intriguing or alienating his readers.
I have to be honest, when I initially finished this comic, I was so distressed that I had to read something else to try to get my mind off of it. After revisiting it, however, I realize that Daniel has got me right where he wants me: impatiently eager for the next issue. I simply HAVE to know what happens next. It’s pretty much killing me.