Detective Comics #964 Review

Is there a cure in sight for Clayface? Is Utopia really a solution to societal woes on the surface world? Or is it a front to something deeper? Find out this week in Detective Comics #964. Spoilers ahead.

What is this all about?

Basil (Clayface) is visiting Mudface from the Victim Syndicate in Arkham Asylum. He is doing what he can to make amends for turning her into a monster. Though she is friendly to him, she states that he will always be a monster and what he did to her will never be okay or forgiven. Poor Basil… They next day, he is in clay form to help Dr. October find a cure for him. He loses control and Cassandra Cain saves the day by getting his bracelet back on to turn him back into his human form. She consoles him because he thinks there’s no hope.

Meanwhile, Lonnie is giving Stephanie Brown a tour of Utopia, the secret city beneath Monstertown. Stephanie sees a few familiar faces including Dr. Leslie Maurin Tompkins and Harper. Everyone seems as if they are being fooled by Lonnie. On the surface it looks like he’s trying to support people by providing relief for them, but I am not buying it. Like I said in my review for the last issue, it feels very cult-like to me. There are armed guards, and Lonnie tells Stephanie that he wants her there with him by his side in Utopia, right before he kisses her. Okay, now I see what this is about. What a creep this Lonnie guy is, right? But it’s okay, right after Stephanie rejects Lonnie’s kiss, Batman (who has been tailing them) drops in and declares his hidden city a lie. Thank you Batman for confirming my suspicions!

Batman forces it out of Lonnie. That this is all Victim Syndicate work. He immediately attacks Batman and then Stephanie dons the cowl of Spoiler. Both Lonnie and Spoiler scrap while talking smack; Their not-so-mutual feelings towards each other turned around pretty quick. All-in-all Batman and Spoiler take Lonnie out swiftly and he is now neutralized.

So two things. One, I’m happy that Stephanie wasn’t totally fooled by Lonnie. I hate Lonnie. Stephanie is an awesome character and I was really hoping that she wasn’t turning out to be an idiot. Two, Stephanie is kind of being an idiot. I don’t mean to contradict myself here. But she is so anti-Batman right now that it’s a little frustrating. I get why she is doing what she is doing but come on… Stop being a baby. Batman told her that they need to talk because he wanted to tell her that Tim Drake is still alive. But she doesn’t listen and she just runs away into the night. That was a frustrating scene in this issue.

The Review

The story and art are okay. In the last issue I was really hoping that we were ramping up for a great run, and we still might be, but this issue was boring. I really liked that Lonnie got taken out because he is obnoxious, full of himself, and generally has super unlikable qualities. To be honest, I am so over the whole Victim Syndicate thing. I hate that they’re bringing it back. The issue ends on a scheme that they are plotting so we know that we’re definitely about to see more of them again. “But Justin, we still don’t know who the first victim is yet.” I DON’T CARE WHO THE FIRST VICTIM IS! If DC Comics were a person I’d want to grab them by the shoulders and shake the shit out of them while saying “enough with the Victim Syndicate!” Aside from that, I can be objective. The dialogue between characters worked well, and the art was decent. There were a few really cool looking Clayface panels when he was going all agro on Dr. October. Really the writing is good, Tynion and Sebela are fantastic writers. Any negativity I feel about this issue is strictly due to my personal preferences on where I would like the story to go. But I don’t write for DC so that’s irrelevant. If you are generally a Detective Comics fan, then include this in your weekly pull. Just don’t expect an exciting read.

More Info

Reviewed by Justin Swenson
Detective Comics #964
Written by: James Tynion IV and Christopher Sebela
Art by: 
Carmen Carnero and Ulises Arreola
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: September 13, 2017

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