Craig’s Pick of the Week: Detective Comics #876 Review
Story by Scott Snyder
Art by Jock
“Hungry City” begins with the corpse of a giant killer whale being discovered in Gotham Global Modern Bank. Sounds like an ordinary day in Gotham City, right? That is until Dick Grayson cuts the whale open and a dead girl falls out… and then Commissior Gordon tells him that the head of the bank is actually the daughter of Anthony Zucco, the man who killed Dick’s parents.
#876 is only Scott Snyder’s sixth issue of Detective Comics but it already feels like he’s been writing Batman for years. His writing is so sharp and skilled; it almost seems unnatural that his work on this title could be so good so quickly. When Snyder originally announced his intention to return the title back to its’ mystery roots and focus on Batman as the detective once again, I thought it was odd that Dick was going to be the protagonist instead of Bruce Wayne, the more accomplished detective. But now it makes sense: with Dick as the protagonist, we are able to piece together the clues alongside him. Unlike Bruce, he is not always one step ahead of everyone else (the villains and the readers) and this is a unique quality that I don’t think has ever been utilized before in the Batman universe.
There is a scene early on in this issue where Dick and Gordon have a conversation while examining the whale. In only a few short pages, Snyder is able to express so much information without it feeling like dull exposition: even though Gordon is using the Waynes’ new crime lab, the rest of the G.C.P.D. aren’t comfortable with it; the whale is abnormally large for a female orca, possibly a result of someone feeding her growth hormones; the bank has only been around for six years but is growing faster than any other bank; the head of the bank is the daughter of the infamous Anthony Zuzzo; and Gordon’s son has returned and he would like Dick to meet with him. All of this information is conveyed in a sequence as exciting as any action scene, showing Snyder’s excellent use of pace.
I am also enjoying the development of Dick, especially because he is still running around as Batman. Dick is always trying to live up to Bruce and it is amusing to see him compare the two and show their similarities and differences. Snyder has made Dick into an interesting character and one that I actually want to read about every month.
Finally, one cannot talk about Detective Comics without Jock’s amazing art. He has always been one of my favourite artists but I think his work on this title is some of the best he has ever done. He draws some of the best action sequences in comics, as evident in this issue where Batman falls through the sky and later on when he is dodging bullets. These are two things we have seen numerous times before in countless Batman comics but Jock is able to somehow present these two things in a new perspective, making them feel as fresh and unique as they have ever been before. David Baron’s colours are also incredibly effective at making the title’s gritty, realistic tone come to life. The reds at the end of the issue in the car yard are particularly good, creating an ominous feeling of dread. How is Dick going to get out of this one?
Not only is Detective Comics one of the best Batman comics currently being published but it is also one of the best comics being published in general. Snyder and Jock make a great team and this is shaping up to be one of the better Batman runs of the past few years. #876 is the beginning of a new story arc and is a great jumping on point for new readers. If you’re not reading this comic, you’re missing out.
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