DETECTIVE COMICS #881
What did the
Art by JOCK and FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA
Cover by JOCK
Size: 40 pages
All good things must come to an end. The truth of that statement is made ever so evident by “Detective Comics” #881, the end of Scott Snyder’s brilliant run. Snyder has created a dark and disturbing portrait of the Batman world, more so than most writers who have tackled it. With the New 52 relaunch barreling down on us, Snyder’s challenge was to wrap up a run that has succeeded in meticulously laying the groundwork for a horrifying story that would effect Gotham for years to come. It’s a hefty challenge but this creative team really pulled it off.
This issue is dialogue heavy and has the feel of a wrap up issue. In many ways it follows different formulas that we’ve seen in movies and other books. It also doesn’t pack that one big jolt that we’ve seen in the other issues. But that’s not to say this isn’t a good book. In fact, Snyder’s ability to tie everything together while hanging on to the same eerie tone only spotlights his storytelling skills. He fully unveils James Jr., revealing his plans and his mindset and in turn giving us a character that has earned his rightful spot in Gotham’s rogue gallery. Snyder’s skillfully written dialogue gives us a sort of dark psychological profile of James Jr. through some sequences that capture just as much tension and intensity as almost any major motion picture. I won’t even hint at the story other than to say that the payoff is very satisfying.
The art duties are split between Detective regulars Jock and Francesco Francavilla with both doing 15 pages apiece. Both artists deliver the goods by presenting some creepy and moody pages. I find myself drawn more to Jock’s work and his overall ability to capture the feel of a scene. Francavilla’s pencils are fantastic and perfectly blend with Jock’s work. But he has consistently saturated his panels with reds, oranges, and yellows. I wasn’t a big fan of that choice before and the same holds true here. It’s far from terrible and it certainly sets a tone but it feels overused. But the mild color gripe not withstanding, there’s no denying the art’s effectiveness and it’s a great compliment to Snyder’s writing.
“Detective Comics” #881 has all the elements of a great finale. Snyder also throws in some added twists that should effect the Batman books and characters for years to come. It’s sad to see this run end. But what’s more important is that this creative team ended with the same high quality work as they began with. It never fizzled out. When all is said and done, this will be one of those runs I’ll be revisiting and revisiting.
Art: 4 - Very Good