16th Sep2020

‘Detective Comics #1027’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Various | Art by Various | Published by DC Comics

I know every comic book publisher loves a ‘special’ issue, an ‘anniversary’ issue, or a ‘reached a big number’ issue, but at first glance a 144 page monster book for issue 1027 of Detective Comics seems a bit of a stretch. Longevity, sure, but we just had a whole raft of anniversary specials did we not? Then you realise. Detective Comics #27, back in 1939, was not only the very first appearance of Batman, but became the title that led to National Periodicals eventually becoming DC Comics. They liked the series so much they named a company after it. So, in comic book terms, Detective Comics #27 is probably the second most important published, beaten out only by Action Comics #1. DC, for probably both genuinely wanting to honour Detective Comics legacy and to squeeze that Batman cash cow just a little bit more, have thrown every A-list creator they could find on speed dial for this one. Let’s take a look.

So, following the format of the Anniversary issues, we get multiple stories by various creators. This time round, a bumper 12 stories across 144 pages. The lead story, ‘Blowback’, is by the current Detective team of Peter Tomasi, Brad Walker, and Andrew Hennessy. It’s essentially an excuse to walk through Batman’s classic villains, which is fine by me. Walker has a blast drawing some iconic characters. The second story sees Brian Michael Bendis jump in Gotham’s toybox with , ‘The Master Class’, drawn by David Marquez. Bendis gets to play with most of the Batman Family characters in this, and the banter between them all is a huge amount of fun to read. The art is superb. Story three is ‘Many Happy Returns’, by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky, which has fun looking at the Batman Joker relationship down the years. Unsettling and funny. Again, story and art is superb.

‘Rookie’, by Greg Rucka and Eduardo Risso, reminds us that the GCPD are a vital part of Gotham, and Gotham and its people are as important to some stories as Batman himself. ‘Ghost Story’, by James Tynion and Riley Rossmo is amore stylised take, with Rossmo drawing in a Dick Sprang retro style. Tynion makes good use of Deadman too. ‘Fore’ by Kelly Sue DeConnick, John Romita Jr and Klaus janson looks gorgeous, and is an affectionate character study of both Bruce Wayne and Batman. Loved it. Next up is ‘Odyssey’, by DC legend Marv Wolfman, with artist Emanuela Lupacchino and Bill Sienkiewicz on inks. Wolfman dips into the Wayne family past for this one, as Bruce solves an old mystery with brains and brawn.

‘Detective #26’ sees Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham have fun with the Golden Age mystery man concept, as Gotham’s The Silver Ghost discovers that sometimes you’re just not as good as others at fighting crime. Classic tongue in cheek Morrison. ‘Legacy’, by Tom King and Walter Simonson continues the fun, as minor character Doctor Phosphorus gets the Tom King treatment. It’s throwaway, but enjoyable. Next up is ‘As Always’, by Scott Snyder and Ivan Reis, a nice take on the Batman and Commissioner Gordon relationship, as well as a reminder of the mad contrasts between Gotham street crime and the epic JLA stuff Batman deals with. ‘Generations: Fractured’ sees Dan Jurgens write and draw, with finishes from Kevin Nowlan, as our Batman becomes the Golden Age Batman. Sort of. Last up is ‘The Gift’, by Mariko Tamaki and Dan Mora, a nice action story in itself but also a signpost as to what is coming up for Batman in the months to come.

Phew, an epic read. Did I mention the multiple covers you can get and also the book is chock full of some great full page pinups? No, well they are all quality too. This book isn’t cheap, but it’s certainly true you get what you pay for. You get a huge amount of story here, written and drawn by top talent, and a wide variety of takes on Batman, his friends, his enemies, his past, his future, his city. It’s iconic stuff.

1000 issues later, there’s still life in the old Bat yet.

***** 5/5

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