DETECTIVE COMICS #879

Review by: Tork

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    Written by SCOTT SNYDER
    Art by FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA
    Cover by FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA

    Size: 32 pages
    Price: 2.99

    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

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