Review: DETECTIVE COMICS #961
Author: Peter Verra (Follow @PETER ILLUSTRATED)
Date: July 27, 2017

SYNOPSIS: “INTELLIGENCE” part four! Batman and Batwing have thrown every technological trick they have at the powerful A.I. that the order of St. Dumas dubbed Ascalon…now there’s nothing left to do but pray!

James Tynion has been knocking down stellar issue after issue for some time now. This latest arch “Intelligence” is no exception and just might be the standard. Alvaro Martinez draws the most action packed issue of DETECTIVE that I can remember in a long time. These two geniuses combine for a great read while giving us the comeback we all have been waiting for.

Since Zatanna has dropped by Gotham City Tynion has been crafting us a beautiful representation of their history. Out of all the flashbacks that we have gotten, this is by far the most intriguing in so many ways. Young Zatanna showing off magically to young Bruce they get caught by Zatara and this is where my jaw hits the floor. Zatara not only mind-wipes Bruce and we all know how he feels about that, (if not check out Identity Crisis and JLA: Crisis of Conscience) but he was having a meeting with Ra’s Al Ghul himself. Talk about an epic way to start an issue!

Tynion then continues our journey with Jean-Paul, Ascalon and the System. I can’t describe enough how much I really enjoy this interpretation of Jean-Paul. I finally feel that this character carries his weight, he’s got an emotional story to tell and I love watching it unfold twice a month. The System seems to be this emotional/mental divide within Azrael and seeing them square off in Jean-Paul’s head is fascinating. Azrael is fighting two fights simultaneously, while the internal mental battle is going on Ascalon has control of the physical form and is fighting the Bat-Family. All this setting up to pure splash page joy on our last page! What does Luke Fox have in store for us?!

I will welcome back Alvaro Martinez with open arms with every issue. I could flip through this beautiful book all day. Martinez gets Batman, the rain, the shadows, his posture, just the right amount of intimidating and eerie. I thoroughly enjoyed Jean-Paul and Ascalon’s mental fight it’s the most beautiful part of the book, giving me a Dragon Ball Z vibe. The fight scenes with Azrael are all first-rate, Cassandra and Batwoman taking on a fiery Azrael; just sit back and enjoy. Then we come to the end of the book our final page in all its glory! Fresh for a new generation, the new Bat-Azrael suit built by Luke Fox and Foxtech. Now Martinez has been showing this off for some time on his Twitter account follow him @AMartinezBueno. This version is what I call the remix, its similar to its 90’s counterpart but just slightly tweaked and I will say I prefer this look. Looks just slightly sleeker in my opinion.

Yasmine Putri and Rafael Albuquerque draw the regular and variant covers respectively. Purti brings us what looks like Ascalon slaying Batwing down in front of a devastated Batman, bright and bold on a white background this cover is gorgeous. Albuquerque shares a frightened Batman trapped in Zatanna magical world in what could be describes as a librarians worst nightmare.

If DETECTIVE COMMICS is not on your pull list you are really missing out on some solid comic book fun! Tynion is blending two interesting stories at the same time with Zatanna/Bruce and Jean-Paul/St. Dumas and doesn’t miss a beat. Jim Gordon’s Batsuit has almost stolen three issues on his own with great cameos. This is what I wanted Grant Morrison’s run to be like. Morrison was going back and trying to revitalize older character and make them relevant again. Tynion is doing this with ease and most importantly making me care about these characters.

With so much fun stuff jammed in this book, you all need to be reading this title! - Peter Verra

GRADE: A+

A lover of genre films from BATMAN
to FRIDAY THE 13th.

A producer of college sports at the world’s
most famous arena, MSG.

A fool for watching that SCOOBY DOO
teaser trailer from 2002 and preying Batman is
the one who turns around and every time.

Follow Peter on Twitter @PETEILLUSTRATED.


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