Author: Peter Verra (Follow @PETER ILLUSTRATED)
Date: June 15, 2017

SYNOPSIS: ďIntelligenceĒ part one! Azrael has found a new home in Gotham CityÖunfortunately, someone from his old home with the Order of St. Dumas has found him! The Order has unleashed a bizarre new evil on the world, and itís convinced it must destroy Jean-Paul Valley!

Detective Comics #958 might be the most entertaining issue I have read in this run. It really kicks off when Lucas Fox hits the lights and we go on this incredible rollercoaster ride with Azrael. Thatís not all, Tynion is at his finest; we get some great moments and expand upon the lore of other characters. Characters that until this issues I wouldnít normally care about. Like any good night in Gotham, the Iceberg Lounge is just where you want to be.

Tynion really brought his A-game in this issue; there is so much amazing dialogue and interaction. Ití hard to say what I think the best part of the book is because itís all just incredible. We start off with Jean-Paul and we expand upon the folklore of Azrael and St. Dumas. I havenít really been following much about either since the Arkham games and No Manís Land before that. This was fresh and grabbed my attention. Tynion digs deep into this character, the reasons behind the suit, its technology, the twisted thinking of St. Dumas and the new villain in town. There is so much to process and it all really pays off. Introducing Mother in to Azrealís backstory really blew my mind. She hasnít been seen since issue #950. Then there is a scene with Clayface and Cassandra that was fun, emotional and perfect in everyway. I find the ďThingĒ vibe I am getting from Clayface very enjoyable.

Anytime we get to visit the Iceberg Lounge I canít help but get excited. This time is no exception. Itís part Batman, part Daniel Craig Casino Royale. Everything here is gold; from the moment Bruce steps off his boat with Alfred in his ear to interacting with Oswald, all exceptional Batman ďundercoverĒ moments. Just when you think this book canít get better an explosion happens, hero and villain collide but itís not the Batman and you will not be disappointed one bit!

Alvaro Martinez and Raķl FernŠndez gives us a beautiful book, the arena lights, the skyline is bright and vibrant while still setting a dark eerie tone of Gotham. Inside the arena we are getting a look at the Gotham Guardsmen and might that be Jack Nicolson sitting in Celebrity Row? We recently have seen the Gotham Blades from Batman #21 get real hockey jerseys made, be sure to check out artist Jason Fabokís twitter account. Letís hope that trend continues. I really laughed out loud at the size difference between Bruce Wayne and Cobblepot, itís really perfect. The layout of the poker scene are both genius and beautiful. The panels that take the cake have to be Clayface and Cassandra; it hits you right in the feels.

The main cover is great as is expected from Eddy Barrows. A homicide scene, the Bat-family arriving, shock and emotion on the characters faces when all you see is a bloody hand. Rafael Albuquerque delivers yet again. Itís fantastic keeping him around this book; his artwork just screams Batman and Gotham. Azrael huddled over holding the victim, Batman behind him in the shadows. Both exceptional covers and you couldnít go wrong with either or both.

I could rave about how great this issue is all day. I really had a blast flipping through these pages, I really got invested and wanted more Azrael, and I never say that. This might be one of the best issues in the Rebirth run. Itís a cant miss for this week. Iím pumped for #959 that comes out on 6/28/17, and just by looking at the cover on DCCOMICS.COM, its going to be remarkable. - Peter Verra


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