Detective Comics #988
Written: James Robinson
Artist: Stephen Segovia
Back in the 90s and early 2000s, I was a huge Batfan. I collected every title from Knightfall through No Man’s Land. Since then, I have looked up happenings when major events would take place. I know of the failed wedding, but little else other than Bruce is having a hard time of it. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up Detective Comics #988. In short, I was extremely pleased with it on every front.
It feels like this issue is where Bruce is determined to take the small steps needed to turn things around. When life falls apart, you simplify things and go back to basics, which is exactly what Bruce decides to do. What I love is, for Batman, going back to basics isn’t “Okay, let’s go find Joker or Bane and kick the snot out of them.” Back to basics means returning to the Batman trait everyone forgets about – the Detective. (The movies usually skip over this part. Rumor is Reeves will focus on it more, but we shall see.) Batman is one of the great minds in all of Comics when it comes to sleuthing. In this issue he returns to those roots and investigates a murder case that even Gordon is shocked to see Batman involved with.
Another great and admittedly subtle part of this issue is the great scene between Alfred and Batman while Bats is dashing around Gotham. Bruce has been known for his hard and callous nature for some time. He is determined to keep his feelings inside at the expense of all else, but this scene felt like a very nice, sentimental re-bonding between the most important duo in the Bat titles. It is a very touching scene which ends in the typical Batman fashion – Not right now Alfred.
I absolutely love the artwork in this title. It is very rich and nuanced. Small shadings give such a greater detail, and the expressions of the characters are very good because of it. The backgrounds are so richly detailed it gives a great feel and reality to this series. One panel I got a kick out of was a zoomed out shot of the Batcave. In the shot was a version of nearly every version of the Batmobile from Keaton to today.
Then you come to the very last panel. I will not go into details, but my mind was blown by a combination of things. It brought the actions of the entire issue into a sharp focus as to what was going on. Even though we may not know the finer details, something big is at work. Also, the amazing detail and graphic nature of the last panel was incredible! Whoever and whatever is going on, they mean business! For all of that to be contained in just one panel is no small feat. Robinson, Segovia and Placencia knocked this issue out of the park in very subtle but meaningful ways.