I’m always down for some Bat Universe, and I haven’t read any of Tynion’s stuff, but I’ve always heard good things; I’m similarly unfamiliar with Martinez. I’m especially excited to see Zatanna in this one. I don’t feel she’s been handled well, but, with the right treatment, could hold that Scarlet Witch/Doctor Strange spot in DC.
The issue starts with some rooftop banter, as Batman is wont to do. There are some elements I like, namely exploring the idea of road-life entertainer as hero with Zatanna. I am not, however, a fan of frustrated college-age Bruce or his “Lights of Gotham” speech. I don’t know if it’s a result of intended awkwardness on the part of the author, but I didn’t buy their chemistry or the dialogue, and that “card handling” metaphor felt silly.
On a positive note, I loved the fight scene. It featured loads of Bat characters beautifully rendered, and clearly-drawn exciting action. Despite my disappointment with earlier scenes, the dialogue here came off as snappy, and there were a few zingers I thought landed.
Why is Ronin from Bendis’ New Avengers run here?
I like how Rookie was introduced with his emoticon faces. Martinez’s art stays strong throughout the issue, and almost seems to get better as it builds. The meditating Azrael page stands out to me as particularly gorgeous, and the issue ends with a great cliff-hanger splash page.
What’s up with the credits at the end? Is this something DC is doing now?
Tynion is great at world-building; there was a whole lot going on, but I felt like I “got” everyone’s character. He has a great handle on the expansive Bat Universe cast. While I wasn’t blown away by the more intimate scenes, Detective Comics #959 is a world I want to stay in and learn more about. Martinez was superb. Three and a half out of five stars.