DETECTIVE COMICS #874
What did the
Art and Cover by FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA
Size: 32 pages
Pick of the week for me. Although the tone varied between the two sections of the book, I dug them for different reasons. After realizing that the cut to 2.99 and 20 pages was going to push the
backup that had been running into the main storyline, I was afraid the
change mid way through would be too jarring. Thankfully I was wrong. The first arc was a nice appetizer and set the mood for the coming stories, and I think this a great beginning to the main course.
Like I mentioned, I felt there was a strong change of tone between the two halves of the book, and I applaud the creative team for making it work so cohesively. The first part had a very real sense of dread about it as Gordan and his son continue their conversation from the backups that had been running the first two issues of Snyder’s run, and was one of the most tense bits of writing I read all week. A real complement considering the entire thing was a single conversation! Of course, the tension was built by inter-cutting the dialogue and the art, with that water slowly creeping under the restroom door. In fact, It was hard for me to focus on the
conversation in parts because I just wanted to know where it was coming from! The payoff released the tension in just the right manner considering this is just the beginning of this story arc and left an ambiguity that leaves me wanting more.
The second part of the story had a bit lighter tone to it without losing the mood from the first half giving the whole book a more cohesive flow, which I appreciated. Batman and Red Robin go after some smugglers relating to events in the past arc as Tim vocally, and Dick more internally, questioning how ready Batman is to be back on the streets after the incident with the fear toxin in the last issue. The art does most of the heavy lifting in this section, which is greatly appreciated considering it’s much more action oriented than the first half. There’s some nice JHIII influenced splashes, and some spooky hallucinations(?) that makes what is really just a set up story into a very enjoyable read. What Dick sees when he falls in the water was a bit funny, although I know it’s just set up for future issues (damn you solicitations!).
For what screen time they have together, I really enjoyed the interplay between Dick and Tim, although I have a hard time hearing Dick call him Red Robin out loud it just sounds wrong in my head. I liked that you could sense a mutual respect between the two characters, and a trust by Tim that Dick can handle himself even if he’s wary of the effect of the fear toxin in his system. It’s nice to see that Snyder can write that kind of casual dialogue as well as the more dramatic(?) style we’ve seen in the previous arc and the Gordan stories. It bodes well for the entire run as, I’m not sure if I’m alone in this, I like to see some variety in story over the course of issues.
So yeah, really enjoyed this issue. I had been of the opinion that a lot of people had somewhat overrated the opening arc of Snyder’s run as it seemed a little thin, but now that the second arc has begun and we’re starting to see the shape the run is going to take, I’m willing to put my reservations aside. Strong recommendation on this book, and if you’ve been taking a wait and see approach to this book, now would be the time to jump on while the run is young.
Art: 5 - Excellent