Batman Detective Comics #19 (comic-book review).

I’ll confess from the start that other than the LSH, I’m not fully up to speed with all the changes that DC initiated with ‘The New 52!’ Reading this issue of ‘Batman Detective’ and the references within, the Dark Knight has lost another Robin already and his other Bat-associates aren’t exactly happy with him over the circumstances. Considering the increasingly violent Gotham City that he lives in, that is perhaps understandable and he really ought to consider having an older apprentice in future.


This giant-size comicbook is divided into five stories and assorted pin-ups. ‘The 900’ is the Batman tale written by John Layman and artist Jason Fabok and is dealing with him trying to sort out the release of the Man-Bat virus into a city block where those infected become…er…man-bats. Unlike its creator, Kirk Langstrom, they don’t retain their intelligence and he has a fight on his hands. Other sub-plots in development is the rise of the Emperor Penguin (not the original one I should hasten to add) so I guess the Dark Knight will be kept pretty busy in the issues to come.

Speaking of Langstrom, ‘Birth Of A Family’ written by John Layman and artist Andy Clarke, looks into his life and origin and how his wife, Francine, contemplates going after him. The similarities to the early 70s origin are very similar but then, throughout all the various DC realities, the overall origins are often only changed in detail.

The Bane story, ‘War Council’ written by Jame Tynion IV and artist Mikel Janin, is a taster for the continued story in Talon # 7 where he is getting his army together against an assassin league in Gotham City called the Court Of Owls. Seems there’s a lot of different assassins teams out there these days. I suppose in-fighting keeps them away from their normally intended victims although I do have to wonder how they finance themselves.

A villain I haven’t encountered before called Mr. Combustible who has an upside down flask of presumably explosive liquid for a head drifts through the periphery of the man-bat plague but whose real job is to get the real Penguin out of jail. This story is called ‘Birdwatching’ and written by John Layman with the pencils of Henrik Jonssin and inked by Sandu Florea.

‘Through A Blue Lens’, written by John Layman and artist Jason Masters, has some off-duty police officers looking in on a hospitalised colleague and their reminiscences over the current plague and that masked chap.

Just in case you haven’t been kept up-to-date, there’s also a two-page ‘Channel 52’ news alert, pitching in current events in Gotham City and elsewhere.

The strongest impression I have from this issue is the multiple viewpoint stories of things going in Gotham City and, in the case of Bane, beyond. In many respects, it gives a bigger picture of events and repercussions than seeing it solely through the eyes of its vigilante defender. Being a bigger issue than normal, I have no idea if this is the normal state of affairs in the normal sized-comicbook but it is easy to follow and pick up on if you want to become hooked. Gotham City is getting increasingly dangerous.

GF Willmetts

April 2013

(pub: DC Comics. 80 page special colour comic. ISSN: 2164-909X. Price: $ 7.99 (US))

check out website: www.dccomics.com


Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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