Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Detective Comics #857 Review

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

+ JH William's art. I can't repeat it enough, Williams is doing some unbelievable work here.  Everything from the layouts and composition to the colours and  linework, it's a level of polish, style and detail rarely seen in comic books.
+ Alice in Wonderland.  Alice is the new kid on the block and a perfect addition to the Bat-family merry-go-round of pyschos.  She does appear to go skydiving without a parachute at the end of this issue, but that's never stopped anyone in comics before, so I'm going to keep waiting for the inevitable Mad Hatter team-up somewhere down the line.
+ Batwoman's sister?  Alice reveals to Batwoman that she is actually her sister before plunging to her hopefully-not-so-permenant doom.  As the next arc is supposed to be about Batwoman's origin, I'm looking forward to seeing this family tie explained and/or explored in greater detail.
- The Elegy storyline came to a rather abrupt conclusion.  It feels like we had more story left to this, but it just rushed to a quick finish that never really explained anything.  Why was Alice in Gotham?  What did she have to do with the Crime Bible?  Where did she come from?  How did they get so many contacts in the military?  Was the end game really just to drop some chemical weapons on Gotham?  To what end?  Just crazy doesn't really fly, as just about every crazy has their little games and quirks that compel them to do their insane acts of cruelty.  The story so far amounted to 'Alice shows up, fights Batwoman, crazy werewolf and other mutant people save Batwoman, Alice kidnaps Batwoman's father, tries to drop chemicals on Gotahm and fails'.  I'm having difficulty connected these random series of events.  Could have used another issue or two to flesh out these characters and build up to the conclusion a little better.
- The Question back-ups do nothing for me.  There's so little progression and characterization amounts to a few quips once a month that I can't even muster enough energy to care what happens.  I don't even feel like reading it and I view it as "free" content after the main course that was the Batwoman part of the book.

Verdict - Buy It.  Despite some concerns about the storyline on the whole, this was probably the strongest issue of Detective Comics since Rucka and Williams debuted on the book.  However, Willaims is clearly the main draw at this point, though Rucka isn't exactly dragging his feet either. 

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