Detective Comics #1003

Peter J. Tomasi, writer
Brad Walker, pencils
Andrew Hennessy, inks
Nathan Fairbairn, colors

In the last issue, The Arkham Knight and Batman fought to a stalemate. Later, Bruce Wayne and Alfred investigate the weaponry The Arkham Knight used marveling at how technologically advanced it is. Robin criticizes Batman’s strategy due to his failure to defeat The Arkham Knight. Robin pursues evidence of the Day bomb but is captured under Aparo Bay! In this issue, Batman investigates the disappearance of his son and partner. Meanwhile, Damian is confronted by The Arkham knight, who reveals her identity and offers to set him free as a goodwill gesture. Batman locates Robin after he escapes, and together they regroup and pursue The Arkham Knight!

This issue reads as an old-school Batman detective story as he pursues information about a cult leader and their desire to bring the light back to Gotham. This is an interesting story despite the lack of clear motives surrounding The Arkham Knight and what triggered her anger towards Batman. However, I’m more interested in Batman and Robin’s relationship and their use of superior detective skills to solve a crime than I am in the villain. In theory there are lots of reasons for the darkness that surrounds Gotham.  Criminals and illegal behavior would be an obvious starting point. The writer uses the trope of religious affiliation and worship of the sun to mystify the cult’s motives. It falls flat for me but it isn’t horrible.

The art is colorful and bold featuring panels depicting bloody battles between combatants, among  other highlights. One occurs towards the back half of the book showing Robin and Batman jumping toward the ground, the picture angle looking up toward the building tops. The scene captures the athleticism and dare-devil mentality of this crime-fighting duo. Batman is bulky and muscle-bound. Robin is slightly built, athletic, and full of tricks, which is shown by the expressions on his face. If I had a criticism it is that the bold, cartoon style art makes the colors pop but could use more details to make the story feel more lived in.   

Overall = 9

Final Impressions    

This is a classic Batman mystery story with a well-trained villain. Fans of the character will love his use of superior detectives skills throughout with less emphasis placed on his brutal use of strength. I highly recommend this story to fans of Batman and the DC universe.