Review by: ghostmann

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Avg Rating: 4.9
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Cover by JOCK

Size: 288 pages
Price: 29.99

11 issues – 11 reviews from the iFanboy community…..


This is the best issue of Detective Comics there’s been since Greg Rucka left. And looking back on it, that’s not really been very long. In fact, the last time Rucka was on this book beyond the brilliant Question back-up, Jock was drawing it.

Putting Scott Snyder, the genius behind American Vampire, on this book was a brilliant move on the part of DC; Snyder gets character and depth, and his tone is dark enough to accommodate someone like me who likes his Detective Comics to be gritty and internal – a look at the more intricate side of crime fighting and investigation, rather than a series of splash page brawls.

The main story here revolves around an investigation into someone dealing a mysterious drug that has turned a boy into a Killer Croc-like monster; there are some other allusions to Batman’s rogues gallery throughout the main story, and that, in part, is the reason why this issue was so striking. It’s a great move by Snyder to incorporate classic villains in a unique way, without resorting to dragging them out of prison for a quick story arc – this is a methodical piece of storytelling.

The art by Jock is fantastic throughout, too; it’s not quite as crisp as his work on The Losers and Green Arrow: Year One, but it looks gorgeous nonetheless. His Batman is wondrous to behold, and his sense of choreography is unlike anyone else working in comics right now, except, perhaps, J H Williams III.

The back-up by Snyder and Francesco Francavilla was also a pleasant surprise; Snyder’s doing something with Commissioner Gordon that it’s only appalling to think nobody’s done before, incorporating elements of the character that haven’t been seen since Year One, but which make numerous appearances in the Christopher Nolan movies. It’s absolute genius.

The art by Francavilla is gorgeous, too; it’s on the same level of brilliance as Jock, and tempts me to buy the first issue of his Black Panther run, just to gawk at his artwork.

This is a truly special time to be a Batman fan, and this and Batman Incorporated are the two essential books right now. In fact, this one might even be better.

Story: 5 – Excellent
Art: 5 – Excellent


I’m amazed at how Snyder seems to be taking a lot from the Grant Morrison approach while totally doing his own thing.

One of Morrison’s strongest abilities as a writer is for him to take this fundamental internal struggle and externalize it in a myriad of ways. You saw it all throughout his Batman and Robin run, and Snyder is playing with those same themes, and twisting them, right here.

The whole story is centered around the way that Gotham might twist Dick Grayson, might turn him into a darker version of himself. And we see that directly as he talks about the way the city can become ‘a stranger’, can turn even the bright and beautiful things into dark and ugly things. And we see that further as he sees the dark side of the people of gotham, so enamored with evil, almost worshipping it, ‘monsters’. And we see the dark side of his job as Robin, his history, brought up with the Crowbar. We see the way Gotham turned so many into animals during the earthquake. And maybe most impressively, we see Dick Grayson literally take the face of what he might have become — wearing the face of an outwardly laudable member of the gotham glitterati, who in reality led a dark double life. That is basically Dick (and Bruce) but for a small twist.

So much subtext is working there, and it works further in the backup, as undoubtedly we’ll find that James Gordon WAS in fact twisted by Gotham City, was turned into something dark and predatory and monstrous.

Love it. Love this book. I’m not a fan of Batman or Batman stories. A ‘good’ Batman tale, a straightforward Batman tale, wouldn’t be enough to do it for me. MOrrison injected so much more than just standard Batman tropes into his work, and combined with his general excellence he won me over with the book. But the deep, layered character work Snyder is doing here transcends ‘good’ and becomes ‘great’, maybe even ‘spectacular’, and I he’s won me over.

I hope he turns his 16 issue run into something much, much longer, and I agree with those who have said that the Bat-office has a VERY strong contender for franchise-navigator. My only fear is I don’ tknow who will be able to take over the Dick book if Snyder takes on Bruce!
Story: 5 – Excellent
Art: 5 – Excellent


I picked up DC when Snyder took over and he hasn’t been disappointing in his approach to the characters and mythos of Batman. After reading issue #873 I reread the last two issues to get another look at the story as a whole. I must say it made #873 that much better. Concerning the art it goes without saying that both Jock and Baron make a great team in depicting both simplicity and depth in both the art and color scheme. For example, at the beginning when Dick is escaping from Mirror House, the color scheme is mainly black and red giving the reader a sense of the mood and desperation in the art and writing. Once Dick is out of the immediate danger of the gas the color scheme goes to a green and black showing a relief from the immediate danger but still holding an ominous tone as he continues to fight his way out. This is just one section out the last three issues that shows the cohesive work of the whole team. Concerning the writing, Snyder has out done himself in my eyes. I’ve been amazed at how he has been able to keep the tone of the character “Batman” as well as make it distinctly “Dick Grayson.” It’s easier to right Batman as Bruce because there is a lot of history and other writers to mimic. However, Dick is a completely different challenge because he is a hero, in his own right, trying to fill the shoes of a well-established hero. There are subtle nods to this such as in # 871 when Gordon turns off the bat-signal and Dick is still standing there. When asked why he paused Gordon states, “I suppose I’m just not used to it yet … to you still being there when I look up.” It’s small stuff like that which shows that Snyder takes pride in knowing each character’s personality. Another point on this is in #873 when Alfred asks Dick what he wants to do with the crowbar used to kill Jason Todd. After pausing he states, “Just toss it in the river.” This shows an important character difference between Bruce and Dick. Bruce took Jason Todd’s death harder than Dick. While the weapon is a harsh reminder, Dick makes a choice to not wallow in the past. It also shows a darker direction that Snyder is taking with Gotham and Dick’s ability to adapt. These last three issues have show both Dick and the reader how dark Gotham truly is and all the crazy stuff we are in store for. Overall, this was a great end to this story arc both in writing and art. I am interested in seeing how Snyder uses the “Skeleton Cases” side-story at the end of #871 and #872 with Gordon and his estranged son.
Story: 5 – Excellent
Art: 5 – Excellent


How can you improve an already fantastic run on Detective Comics by Scott Snyder? Why have the entire issue be drawn by Francesco Francavilla of course! The back-ups involving Jim Gordon were great to read and had great art to it. But to have an issue, with two stories mind you, by Francavilla is like finding out you got an extra present for your birthday. Nothing can go wrong with this issue.

I give Scott Snyder a lot of props for bringing back James Gordon into continuity again. Here is a character largely forgotten and even I forgot at some point that Jim had a son. But of course with bringing him back, Snyder puts a lot of disturbing ideas into it and give James a psychosis problem. The pacing and tension in the finale of this storyline was well done. I was on the edge of my seat as Jim kept looking back and forth at the bathroom, wondering if his son did indeed kill someone in there. There is just endless possiblities for Jim now with his son back in Gotham and I’m glad Snyder isn’t going to be done with this storyline yet. The second storyline, with Dick still reeling from The Dealer’s gas attack was well done too. Although it does feel a bit like an ‘alternate ending’ to the last issue if you think about it. But again Snyder just adds a level of disturbing elements in here to really make you scared on what’s coming next. It’s been a long time since horror, in any sense, was involved in a Batman book so I’m glad it’s finding it’s way here in this run.

Praising Francavilla for his art is like praising your favorite food. You know why it’s so good to look at but yet seeing it every time never gets old. With the first story, Francavilla handles the pacing brilliantly with the panels and he does some great design work for the structure. Also his coloring is dead on too. It never gets old to see the same three colors used and he uses them so well, especially with the lighting effects. The second story is also gorgeous to look at too with the highlights being the eyes ‘consuming’ the panels and the killer whale attacking. This story also shows his versitility as an artist because he can do the standard beat’em up story but still add his own touch to it. It’s this version of his art that made Black Panther: Man Without Fear tolerable to read.

This was just fun to read with every page. Snyder is amazing at building tension with his story and pace it well. Plus he can instantly make any story go full on disturbing at the drop of a hat. Add in some more gorgeous artwork by Snyder and you got yourself a pretty damn good issue of Detective Comics. Basically you get your money’s worth for having two great stories for the price of one; how can you not beat that?

Story: 5 – Excellent
Art: 5 – Excellent


Scott Synder was born to write Batman. After careful consideration i am sure of this. His run on Detective comics is hitting on everything i love about batman. The gadgets, the nature of good and evil, and mysteries. Not to mention the pitch perfect tone and voices of the characters. It is as if someone took the best examples of stories told in the Batman universe and smashed them together leaving us with only the best fragments mixed together into one perfect whole. It is Year One meets Gotham Central. Yet there is something different. As great as Gotham Central was, and i think it was great, It did not star Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock.

It would be remiss if i didnt talk about Francavillas art. He reminds me of a MIchael Lark and RM Guera. HIs use of light and dark along with muddy colors , which he uses to give the feeling that this is a dirty lived in world, a used to perfection.It is some of the finest art of the stands today. It conveys exactly the emotions it wants to while clearly moving the action forward, while finding the time to dazzle us with fantastic layouts.

A must read for many batman fan.
Story: 5 – Excellent
Art: 5 – Excellent


I’m really enjoying Snyder and Jock on this book.

To think that Bruce is not present in Gotham makes Dick’s guardianship of the city all the more special. Dick has been fulfilling the roll of Jim Gordon’s friend in a great way here, I love the relationship and the dialogue between the Comissioner and Batman.

What makes Dick’s story so special as Batman is the obvious father-son relationships in the book. With Bruce globetrotting, you get the sense that Dick misses Bruce and wants to do right by him. Scott Snyder is a sophisticated writer that can infer this nuance, and this is what makes the story complete for me. I can sense that when in a bind, Dick is not only thinking, “I’m Batman, how am I going to get out of this mess?” but also, “Christ, What would Bruce do if he were here? What happened to all of the times we’d be out here together? How many different ways could my life have turned out?”

I am confident that Batman is not 100% self-doubt, and by the next issue we’ll see how Batman confronts his current predicament with mettle. My attachment to Dick as Batman and as Robin and as Nightwing directs me to analyze his thoughts with compassion, as a friend.

I’m sure I have friends out there that also consider Dick Grayson a peer and Bruce Wayne as a very dark father figure.

Story: 5 – Excellent
Art: 5 – Excellent


“Detective Comics” #877 is the second part of Scott Snyder’s “Hungry City” storyline and it lives up to the greatness of the previous issue. Snyder has made this series live up to it’s title by giving it a true, dark detective feel. While there is action, this book is more about the mystery and for the most part I’m loving it.

Scott Snyder has an amazing talent for strong dialogue and he really seems to know his characters well. Within every character interaction in the book you’ll find clues that open up the broader story. I also like the way Snyder writes Dick. You recognize the genuine and distinct difference between him and Bruce. And even though this issue contains one of the most lame, corny, and out of place lines I’ve read in ages, I love Snyder’s work here and I’m hooked.

While Jock has never been my favorite artist I’ve been pretty impressed with his art lately. The dark, sullen tone of his work is a perfect fit for this book. I feel his art in this issue was a little neater and sharper than the last issue. Gone were the cluttered action panels and the mismatched facial features. Everything works pretty well here except I was a little confused and underwhelmed at what I had seen on the final page.

Snyder and Jock should be commended for making “Detective Comics” a worthwhile read again. I still find myself absorbed in Snyder’s writing and Jock has surprised me with some solid, moody artwork. These guys have a great story going and one everyone should be reading.

Story: 5 – Excellent
Art: 4 – Very Good


I love how interesting dialogue can make characters so much more enticing. It’s like the way Snyder writes Grayson’s narrative gives me a really good feeling of what kind of mood the character is in, which helps me get a better feel of their immediate environment also. Which in this case would be the setting otherwise known as the great Gotham. The way Snyder has Grayson look back upon his early days as classic American circus folk helps the reader get a good feel of the character’s traditional roots which many other writers just can’t authenticate like Snyder has been doing since he first stepped up to this run. A lot of other writers don’t even bother to dig this deep, and they are the lesser storyteller for it.

But Snyder isn’t only a magician with one trick. He is a good dialogue writer for most of the characters in his stuff, if not all. Some people would say that Snyder drags things out a bit. Like other writers would squeeze what takes Snyder three issues to complete into one, but I don’t feel that way. I enjoy a little characterization along with my action. It makes the bad guys just feel so much more evil. If you can put the right kind of comparisons to other interesting things, and appropriate analogies in the right place, not only can you pull of telling off a little bit of a new villian’s origin in there, but it also helps the reader interpret the villian, and/or other character”s, motives better. Scott Snyder sucks you right into Gotham City just as good as Morrison or Paul Dini. He’s just that good, so far anyway…

I keep hearing a few others complain here and there but not me, I love Jock’s artwork!! Whoever is doing the inks, and whoever is doing the noirish coloring is kicking ass too. You just get the best of everything in Detective right now. I know Capullo is great for his work at Image, I was just reading Spawn book six yesterday, and his pencils and inks are great, but I’m gonna miss Jock with Snyder!! The Francessco guy is just as good too!! The art people on this book are terrific and I hope they stay doing Batman stuff so I can continue to check out their stuff. I just hate it when they put great artists on books that I don’t give two shits about because of the writer who is on it or you’re just not into that title. I hope that doesn’t happen to these guys after shit gets all shuffled around at DC. These guys belong in Gotham!!

The people who work on this book do such a good job that if Gotham City were a real existing place, I would find it hard to believe that they didn’t actually live there themselves. That’s how deep it gets with Tec right now. I’m pretty sure #879 is coming out in like two weeks too. YES!!!!
Story: 5 – Excellent
Art: 5 – Excellent


Francisco Francavilla is more than one person. I am convinced of this. Francavilla is one of the rising talents in the comic book world right now. I first got a look at his work during his time on Dynamite’s Zorro book and since then, he’s become one of my favorite artists of today through his work on Black Panther, his constant sketches on ComicTwart, and this book. The man either doesn’t sleep or has learned how to clone himself because he does all this at the same time. He has two books out this week! TWO! Who does that?! Jock might be the big name artist on this book and he certainly deserves it, but Francavilla is a beast in his own right.

Anyone who frequents ComicTwart will know Francavilla is a master of design work (his “Who Is The Sandman” sketch was my background for a long time) and he really gets to showcase it in the interiors and in the cover. His colors are bleeding with uneasy tone and off-kilter mood. There’s precisely ONE panel where ONE character’s color is natural. Otherwise, everything in a garishly off-color haze that leaves you disoriented and disturbed much like the original color job of The Killing Joke. Natural light doesn’t exist in his Gotham. His style, a kind of looser brother of the Michael Lark/Sean Philips school, is pitch perfect for this book.

The script by Scott Snyder is pure crime/horror by way of David Fincher through and through. A subplot that has carried through Snyder’s entire run has reached center stage and the terror and tragedy of the truth behind James Gordon, Jr has entered into the main event. Snyder’s handle on the Gordon family is really engaging; a damaged yet strong yet still damaged unit that loves yet suspects yet still loves yet STILL suspects. The script is so strong, it doesn’t even matter that the main character on the marquee shows neither scalloped cape nor pointy ear. There is a fairly famous rogue of the Dark Knight in here (or is it?) to remind you you’re reading a Batman comic, but it’s not forced or shoehorned in at all. In fact, it’s perfect in its horror. If DC wanted to resurrect a new Gotham Central style series with this team on, I’d buy that. I’d buy two of that.

With the reboot looming, this is looking to be a very amazing sendoff for DC’s oldest running title. It’s somewhat of a shame that this book won’t have Snyder or Francavilla or Jock in a few months. This writer with these artists on Detective Comics doing gritty neo-noir with Batman or even with just Gordon, it’s one of the great book out right now. And while it still lasts, it’ll be good.

Story: 5 – Excellent
Art: 5 – Excellent


Starting with art: Jock will sorely be missed on a Bat title – his style is perfect for this book. Much of his work is understated, with the focus being on the principle character in the panel. It really sets the mood well, making the backgrounds a haunting environment for the action. The facial expressions are perfect – that’s what made the shower scene so chilling. I like his effective use of silhouettes – sometimes it’s to leave things mysterious, like the last page, and other times they have just enough detail to convey the mood and emotion.

I’m not sure if Jock or colorist Dave Baron was responsible for the excellent color work on this issue. But it went above and beyond what you normally see in a monthly. The red and purple washed skies really set the mood. The calm blue-white of the hospital scene made you feel like you were the one waiting on the fate of a loved one – it took everything down a notch but sapped me of any power in the situation, just like it should. The highlight (pun?) was the coloring during the fight between Dick and Joker. Switching the perspective between Joker’s view, which was normal, and Dick’s, which was washed out due to his near blinding from the the night vision flash, really heightened the tension of that segment. The sickly green of the last panel reinforced how bad the situation really was. Color really contributes to this book’s success.

As others noted, the lettering of the Joker was excellent as well. It really made you hear how crazy he is.

And what can I say about the writing that has not already been said? Snyder really gets these characters at their most fundamental levels. The characterization is spot-on, and the interplay between the characters, even in down-time, is nuanced. At its core, this is a small, intimate story about a broken family that happens to harbor a psychopath. But due to their associations, it spills over into something bigger, something that threatens everyone who comes in contact with it – friends, strangers, innocent bystanders… no one is safe. Snyder started this arc with a slow simmer and has gradually turned up the heat . Now, we’re boiling like the proverbial frog, and it’s overtaken us by surprise. This is a perfect detective story in the vein of Se7en : you’re surprised to find yourself in a horrific situation, where you’ve lost control. What you thought you knew to be true is false, and the truth is more horrible than you imagined it could be.

Pick of the week? Damn right it is.

Story: 5 – Excellent
Art: 5 – Excellent


You’ve got to stick the landing. All the set up and planning, and wonderful starts, surprises, and pretty pictures aren’t going to matter at all if you don’t stick the landing. Detective Comics #881, apparently right under the wire, did just that.

It was just a little over a year ago, chatting in the DC booth that Scott Snyder told me that he’d landed Jock for his upcoming Detective Comics series. I don’t even remember if he’d been announced as the writer yet, but from that first conversation, it was clear that he had exceptional affinity for the characters, and a clear vision for what the book would be, from top to bottom. It was great news, and I couldn’t tell anyone. We’re talking about one of the best up and coming writers in comics, teamed with my favorite interior artist, doing a version of Batman in Detective Comics that sounded exactly like what I wanted.

Basically, there was a lot of room to screw it up.

But that’s not what happened. From the first issue, to this one, we saw a wonderful run on Detective Comics, as Snyder, Jock, and Francesco Francavilla teamed up to really get into the history Dick Grayson, Jim and Barbara Gordon, and Gotham City itself, in a way I haven’t seen in quite some time. As a whole, it was a symphony of plotting and character work, bringing everything together at the last minute, with insignificant moments coming back to light, and tying up in one neat bundle. More than that though, throughout the run, I was impressed by the incredible thoughtfulness given to the portrayal of these characters, which was enhanced by having Bruce Wayne out of the way. His shadow is enormous, and when these characters were allowed to breathe and be explored without him there, they shone as much or more than any others in DC’s stable. It didn’t hurt that Snyder was playing directly off the events of Batman: Year One, which might be the best, and most grounded Batman story ever told. Yet it was done with care, much more than just namechecking and fan service. James Gordon was dragged out of the mothballs, made real, and he took the stage with vigor, standing shoulder to shoulder with boogeymen like the Joker.

There was a frantic energy in this issue, which was fitting. There was a lot to get done and not much time to do it. The story skirted the edge of helpful coincidence which can often bog down a mainstream superhero story, and replaced that with careful plotting and the planting of narrative seeds to be revealed at just the right time. My eyes opened wide when James explained that he was involved with the Joker’s visit to Barbara’s back in the Killing Joke, and then a sighed with relief to find that wasn’t really the case. I was up and down on pincushions, and then at just the right moment, the hero shows up, but not after Barbara Gordon has her moment in the sun. In a sort of non-patronizing fashion, Dick didn’t show up to save her. She did fine on her own, and made her choices. Dick showed up in time to save everyone else. Basically, when turning these pages, I just kept thinking “yes, yes, yes!” because it was all working. This team of talented artists delivered. They stuck the landing, and gave us the sense of an ending, instead of more questions. There is little more satisfying than that when you read ongoing superhero comics.

I don’t have much more to say about the creative team assembled here. I do know that I really like all of the people involved, and none of them let me down for a single page. If you pay attention to Snyder, Jock, and Francavilla on Twitter, you’ll see them continually cheering each other on, and you get a sense of incredible pride in their work. They knew they had something special. They knew they had the team to get it done, and they knew it would take fans by surprise, leaving a lot of smiles along with the genuinely creepy vibe the story created. For some reason, it worked to switch back and forth between the two artists, who aren’t all that stylistically similar. For some reason, it worked that the big bad in this story wasn’t the Joker, but just one guy, who was very determined, very smart, and quite psychopathic. The reality of that threat coincided with the reality that these artists brought to the table. These guys aren’t there to draw alien laser fights. These guys are there to draw people, being human, and being kind of awful. Jock’s Batman cowl is rumpled and textured. Francavilla drew some of the best talking head pages I’ve seen in ages. Snyder knew what material to give them, and in the end, the total package was a complete success.

Things are changing, and the time for this book is over. I really have an affinity for Detective Comics over Batman, in terms of titles, but now with Snyder moving over to the latter, we’ll have to see what sort of changes are in store. Maybe it will be fun to see him tackle a different kind of Batman story. Greg Capullo is certainly a different type of artist. This is just the beginning for Snyder’s career, but this is an arc we’re going to look back on for a good long while, as one way to do it right. When you think of it that way, I’m sad to see it ending, but it certainly has me excited for what may come.

Story: 5 - Excellent
Art: 5 - Excellent


  1. Nice idea, although your thoughts would have been interesting too.

    Also….here’s your weekly *cough* payback.

    *hands sack of money with dollar sign on it*

    • thanks, I’ll depost that bag later (banks are closed tomorrow).

      I was considering writing something new about this stellar SNYDER, JOCK, FRANCISCO run in DET, but you dudes pretty much said it best.

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