Comics / Comic Reviews / DC Comics

Detective Comics #855


By Andy Frisk
August 10, 2009 - 19:51

Batwoman shares some quality time with Alice, the new leader of the Religion of Crime, but gets no answers from her pertaining to why the cult is so interested in her. In fact, Alice’s responses, if they can be taken with anything but a grain of salt, seem to indicate the Religion of Crime cult doesn’t even care one whit for Batwoman. That doesn’t mean that they, and especially their leader, aren’t quite deadly…Meanwhile, The Question makes short work of the thugs threatening her, and does get some answers pertaining to the whereabouts of the kidnapped girl she’s searching for, and her kidnappers.

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Not much in way of plot development occurs this issue. In fact, if it wasn’t for some fantastic artwork, this issue of Detective Comics, only the second to star Batwoman and The Question as headliners, would almost be a huge disappointment of a read. Each characters’ story has some potential, as this new version of the Religion of Crime cult and their “madness with a method” leader Alice, has some pretty good potential to develop into an interesting and worthy arch-enemy for Batwoman. Alice in particular has the potential to be the type of nemesis to Batwoman that The Joker is to Batman. The Question and Batwoman are suffering from sharing a single book though. If each one, especially Batwoman, could dominate the page count, then the story could develop a little quicker, and a little thicker.

 

Williams and Hamner’s art is downright fantastic, as mentioned. Neither resembles each other at all, but each suits their characters and their storylines perfectly. Williams’ art is full of dark shadows, gothic overtones, and highly detailed costumes and outfits. The autumnal setting, with dead leaves strewn about, twisting and jagged panel gutters, along with nightmarish and pseudo-occult imagery make Batwoman’s tale a feast of a horror for the eyes. It’s the subtle, gothic (in the classic sense) horror, not the dumb “slasher movie,” gory type of horror. It works and suits Batwoman well. Detective Comics is the best drawn Bat-title right now.

 

Hamner’s art is the complete opposite in look and theme, and that’s perfect for The Question’s tale. Hamner’s pencils display none of the ornate, gothic inspired flourishes, and the panels are sharply cut with solid black gutters. Outfits and uniforms are simple and crisp, like The Question’s hand to hand fighting techniques. She’s a woman on a mission, and has a clear objective, unlike Batwoman, who is searching through a nighttime fog of questions for slippery, dew chilled answers.

 

Overall, Detective Comics’ current direction and replacement lead protagonists still have a way to go to catch up to the quality of storytelling experience that the change of leads in Action Comics and Superman has produced. Superman is still missed as the lead in both his titles, but the fill in characters’ stories are progressing well, and getting interesting (with only a few minor bumps). Batwoman’s tale here in Detective Comics shows great promise, but it needs to pick up the pace. Once it does The Question’s feature will come along with it, and fulfill its role as Second Feature, instead of Split Feature, which it is not designed to do.

Rating: 6.5 /10


Last Updated: July 2, 2020 - 16:53

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