Comics / Comic Reviews / DC Comics

Review: Detective Comics #999


By Philip Schweier
February 27, 2019 - 08:21

Here there be spoilers.

In 1980, before the Crisis, DC Comics published the Untold Legend of the Batman, a three-issue miniseries which chronicled every detail of Batman’s origins, and those around him – Robin, Alfred, the Joker, etc. These details were shared using a story in which a nebulous “someone” was targeting Batman on an intimate level. In the end, that someone turned out to be Batman himself, the victim of a head injury that had fragmented his psyche.


And Doug Mahnke has chosen to revisit that very series, borrowing heavily from it to tell the tale that leads up to the landmark Detective Comics #1,000. Someone is targeting Batman again, leading him to revisit his origins again, only for it to be himself again.


And if you think I’m making much ado about nothing, allow me to offer this bit of trivia: The first issue of the Untold Legend of the Batman was penciled by John Byrne. And the variant cover of Detective Comic #999 is drawn by the same. Coincidence? You be the judge.


Does it the connection between the two stories some 39 years apart diminish either? No more than retelling Superman’s origin in the Adventures of Superman TV series (1951), and again in Superman: The Movie (1978). But as a build up to such a milestone in the series from which DC Comics derives its very name, it’s a disappointment for me. If Mahnke’s story had started in Detective Comic #1,001, I would regard it as a suitable launch pad for a fresh new beginning.


As a build up, it’s just not much of an appetizer. But kudos to the art team, which consists of no less than four individual inkers. One might think their individual styles would detract from the visuals, but they manage to maintain a consistency. Whether that’s due to their collective efforts, or the strength of Mahnke’s pencils, I am unable to say. Your mileage may vary.



Last Updated: January 24, 2022 - 11:00

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