Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Detective Comics #856 Review

Written by Greg Rucka
Art by JH Williams III
Co-feature art by Cully Hamner

My initial thoughts on the Rucka/Williams III Batwoman run was that it was a visually stunning near-perfect reading experience. Three issues in and I'm beginning to wonder if I spoke too highly of the book or possibly if the bar was just set far too high after that spectacular first issue.

Now, don't get me wrong, the art is still jaw droppingly gorgeous, but I've been finding the story not nearly as engrossing as the artwork attached to it. Take this issue's introduction of the werewolf and other mutate characters (technically, they showed up on the last page of last issue, but I was hoping they were merely fever dreams from Batwoman being drugged). These were the more farcical parts of the previous Crime Bible stories and I was honestly hoping they would never appear again as they don't really fit with the whole street level detective themed Bat-mythos.

Simply put, I see things like that and I wonder how we went from the entertaining, yet dark and moody introduction of Alice, a perfect new member of the Bat-family rogues gallery, to werewolves and squid people. I just can't see what they added to the story other than to pull me right out of it with the absurdity of it all.

Another problem I had with the issue was the inclusion of Kate's tuxedo scene. It screamed, 'look, look, Batwoman is a lesbian, look at her, look at her!', like some desperate cry for attention. Not only did Kate wear the tuxedo to a formal, but another, completely unrelated, lesbian character did as well. One instance of this is unique and not worth making a fuss over, but two lesbian characters dressing like men? I could be wrong here, but I assumed lesbians dressed like women and didn't just go around dressing like men for formal parties. This was another scene that took me out of the book with how it just hit me over the head with the fact Batwoman is a lesbian. Maybe I'm wrong on this and this is how most lesbians act, but it just felt forced to me.

As for the Question back-up, it, again, feels like fluff. It's eight pages of Montoya getting thrown in a car and left to drown in a river before escaping. I really can't get into the Question back-up at all. It's just too brief, feels like little happens each month and I honestly can't find a reason to care about it.

Verdict - Check It. Beautiful art that is worth buying the issue for on its own. Story is going in a direction I don't like, but I seem to be in the minority based on other online reviews, so your mileage may vary.

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Investigator Sidney said...

These detective comics are a good way for amusement. It's very complex and entertaining ever for a private investigator.

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