In an extremely intense issue of Detective Comics, there is a string of cop killings going on in Gotham City. What makes matters even worse is that the killer is reported to bare a resemblance to Batman.
These are dark days in Gotham. Cops are being targeted by a powerful foe, while a powerful weapons company makes themselves at home in Gotham. E.D. Caldwell, another native son of Gotham, is powerful businessman and head of Caldwell Technologies. Interested in purchasing Wayne Industries in order to use their technology to produce better weapons, Bruce Wayne refuses Caldwell’s proposal despite his very generous offer.
I like the character of Caldwell. Having someone who has the resources to push Bruce Wayne around (at least in the business sense) is a good addition to the story. Although Bruce is standing his ground, it appears that Caldwell is wealthier, and that he has not given up his quest to absorb Wayne Industries into Caldwell Technologies.
The murder of Gotham City Police Officers is continuing, and it appears that no one on the force is safe. Batman has been getting blamed for these attacks. However, Commissioner Gordon knows better than to suspect Batman of these horrific crimes. He even still takes instruction from Batman as to where his officers should go and not go despite the accusations.
We are also exposed to the killers themselves, Wrath and Scorn. Wrath is without a doubt in charge the one in charge, and reveals that his mission is to take down the Gotham City Police Department, and that he wants an army to help him do it. Wrath does indeed look a lot like Batman. Both Wrath and Scorn are wearing as well as using very advanced and expensive gear. It is looking like a very good possibility Caldwell Technologies is involved. If Wrath gets the army he wants, there could very well be a war in Gotham.
This was a great story. There was genuine tension from beginning to end. With a powerful weapons company rising to prominence in Gotham, as well as ruthless and well armed cop killers on the streets, there is no doubt that there are serious problems in Gotham. It will be interesting to see if Batman can clean this mess up before the violence escalates even more. One thing is for sure, it will not be an easy task, there is no doubt he is up against some very powerful people who want to see destruction done.
The artist Jason Fabok did a tremendous job on this issue. I do not think the art could be much better. Everything looks very sharp. The dark and foreboding atmosphere of the script is definitely captured in these pages. Writer John Layman really impressed me this month, if he keeps telling stories like these, Detective Comics will be one the best series on the shelves.
Layman also wrote a great backup story, the art was excellent as well and was done by Andy Clarke. The backup continues with Kirk Langstrom as he begins to transform into Man-Bat without the assistance of the serum.
There is a string of the murders where the wounds are consistent with those of a large bat, making Kirk Langstrom a likely suspect. However, his wife Francine bails him out by providing the police with solid alibis as to his whereabouts at the time of the murders.
There is not much relief for Langstrom. He quickly finds out that his wife has been taking the Man-Bat serum as well. Even worse, she is using vampire bats in her formula for the serum.
For me, this backup took an unexpected turn. I did not suspect Francine would be responsible, but that seems to be the case. Langstrom needs to take drastic measures to fix this problem, but it looks like things are going to get ugly. Nevertheless, this is a great backup story that has done a great job with Man-Bat and his family.
This issue as a whole was a joy to read. Both of these stories were tremendous. Both had genuine tension, and it looks like the various conflicts are not going to be resolved cleanly or easily.
Can Detective Comics maintain this level of quality?
Let us know what you think in the comments below.