Author: Peter Verra (Follow @PETER ILLUSTRATED)
Date: August 13, 2017

SYNOPSIS: “INTELLIGENCE” finale! Ascalon, the deadly artificial intelligence created by the Order of St. Dumas, is ready to replace Azrael and purify Gotham City…and all that stands in the way of the world’s most flawless computer brain is the mind of Batman himself!

James Tynion’s conclusion to “Intelligence » is another great issue of DETECTIVE COMICS for reasons other than what we have become accustomed to. Through out “Intelligence" I have praised Tynion for his great character moments and creating a dramatic attraction to Azrael for the first time. This issue takes a step back in that department but is pleasantly over taken by artist Alvaro Martinez who continues to impress with every beautiful panel and splash page.

I normally love how Tynion weaves us through the Bat-family, but for first time in a while I felt confused and that the story was convoluted. While the opening scene does draw you in, you start to peak and valley from there. Criticisms aside, there are a lot of pay offs in this issue. Nomoz delivers in a big way with some pivotal information, as does Ascalon who drops the ultimate dagger to our Dark Knight. The story does set up some really great action panels that will leave you gawking (I will get into that in a bit). Without spoiling too much, this issue is more about the incredible little nuggets within the story itself. I will miss the great Bruce/Zatanna moments that I have become accustom to during this storyline. When it is all said and done, that is the one aspect I will remember and love from this arc.

Tynion’s great writing has overshadowed Alvaro Martinez until this issue. This is total Martinez domination! As soon as you open up the book, he sucks you in with his amazing artwork and fantastic panel placement. Some of the magnificent moments that stand out are the Ascalon/Clayface fight; Clayface looks like he has some serious Alien/Xenomorph dental issues making him beautifully frightening. He draws a beautiful Zatanna and the way he interprets magic is stunning. The book is not limited to those moments though, as I can’t possibly mention everything. From front to back this book is astounding.

Let’s be honest and get to the point: this story was all about the return of Azbats, and I think his return is epic! A splashpage so beautiful that it should be framed in the home office of BOF Podcast roundtabler Ryan Hoss. There is so much amazing artwork in this book. The opening panels, the Clayface/Ascalon fight, the Azbats/Ascalon fight and Zatanna’s magical interaction with Ascalon all are truly incredible. The dramatic moments look just as good as the action panels, everything is just superb. Martinez steals this issue with ease, as his artwork just stimulates your eyes! You cannot help but stare at all of the details.

Yasmine Purti continues to bring us amazing cover art that is on the same level as what Martinez is doing inside. This cover looks like an homage to The Shawshank Redemption poster with Azbats in the Andy Dufresne role. The sparkles of red and orange pop against the metal of the redesigned Azrael suit, the placement in front of the steel texture background of the cover really pull it together. If you had a chance to see the variant cover to #962, you can now officially say there are three great artists on DETECTIVE COMICS. Rafael Albuquerque continually brings his A game to this book. His rendition of an angrier, square jawed Batman in front of a battle ready Azrael is dynamic. Covered in the shadows, the characters really pop off the captivating red and black background. These kind of variants make it difficult to choose which cover you want.

While the conclusion of “Intelligence" is not as great as the issues that have come before, we have a lot to look forward to. The hints that we do get have me really excited for what is about to come. Not every issue is going to be great, but Tynion still delivers something that I enjoyed reading and will keep me coming back. The artwork from the two covers to the interior work is so incredible. The artwork really has taken this book to the next level and I honestly cannot stop raving about it!

Issue #963 goes on sale on 8/23 and artist Carmen Carnero is making her return to DETECTIVE COMICS as Tynion brings back another 90’s legend, The Spoiler! - Peter Verra


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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