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DETECTIVE COMICS #876
Author: John Bierly
May 1, 2011
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SYNOPSIS: "Hungry City," part 2 of 2! When the carcass of a killer whale is discovered in the middle of Gotham City's financial sector, Batman is thrown into a mystery the likes of which he's never experienced a mystery which soon brings the Dark Knight face-to-face with the terrifying new symbol of organized crime in Gotham!

I can't even wrap my brain around the algorithms and ambitions Scott Snyder's writer's mind is operating on, which makes these reviews really difficult to write. How many different ways can I declare the man beyond brilliant without sounding like a broken record? Being repetitive is a problem Snyder himself will never have.

I mean, how many Batman stories in the history of DETECTIVE COMICS, which saw its 27th issue turn 72 this week along with the Dark Knight it so capably introduced, have begun with a killer whale's carcass being found in the lobby of a Gotham City bank?

None. But Snyder isn't finished with us yet. In issue #876 we finally get to see more of the Wayne Enterprises forensics lab built for a GCPD that's still hesitant to use it. But it turns out there's more to Gordon's visit to Dick Grayson than simple police business (if police business can ever be considered simple, especially when there's an impossibly beached killer whale involved).

I won't spoil the details for you, but the head of the bank shares a very serious connection to Dick's past. It's a brilliant twist that can go in a million different ways, and one way in particular could get very interesting. I'll save that theory for a later review.

And then there's the matter of a question Gordon asks of Dick that's related to the Commissioner's own recent troubles. It's a really fantastic scene bursting with one of Snyder's great strengths, which is putting fresh, unique spins on every character interaction he writes. He finds new angles and runs with them in ways that are original but never anything less than entirely true to the characters.

(There's also a little something Gordon says that makes me wonder if he knows Dick's the new Batman. Dick lets the comment go, but wouldn't you? I personally believe he absolutely knows about Bruce, and I'd love to see some debate about this little line of dialogue on the boards. Maybe it's nothing, though with a writer like Snyder, every word is something.)

But this being DETECTIVE, the mystery still drives the story, and there's action and danger by issue's end. Artist Jock slashes lines across these pages that are somehow both jagged and fluid, mastering every moment from Dick's majestic acrobatics as he soars over Gotham to Gordon's embarrassment and anxiety as he asks his big question of Dick. David Baron's colors memorably capture every mood and minute with nothing short of perfection.

And I haven't even mentioned the giant shocking moment that's even more giant and shocking than a whale being found in a bank!

This landmark run is stunning proof that even after 72 years, history can still be made. -- John Bierly

GRADE: A+

John Bierly still can't believe he
gets to write for BOF.
Check out JOHNBIERLY.COM to read about the other things he writes about.

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