Detective Comics #1004

Peter J. Tomasi, writer
Brad Walker, pencils
Andrew Hennessy, inks
Rob Leigh, letters

In the previous issue, Batman investigates the disappearance of his son. Robin has an encounter with The Arkham knight, who reveals her identity and offers to set him free as a goodwill gesture. Batman locates Robin after his release, and together they regroup and pursue The Arkham Knight! In this issue, we learn the origin story of Astrid Arkham, The Arkham Knight; what motivates her to defeat Batman, and how she plans to enlighten the people of Gotham.

I found the backstory involving Astrid very interesting. It was like a peek under the hood for a longtime DC character Dr. Arkham, and was as much a story about him as it is for his daughter. (spoiler) The tragic death of Astrid’s mother and how it was portrayed to happen is the fuel that ignites Astrid’s world outlook and motivation to carry her current plans – and it works. Batman is looking like the bad guy until the end, but as has been established in other mediums, Batman is whatever Gotham needs him to be. That too, works.

The storyboard-style flashback sequences that inform the reader of Astrid’s previous life are creatively handled and flow well. The danger in a flashback is that it fails to propel the story forward. The creative team avoids that pitfall by efficiently utilizing the final pages to bring Batman and Robin in direct conflict with The Arkham Knight.

Before we get to the battle, Robin lands a zinger on Batman that felt authentic and cut him to the core. The evolution of Damian from a smart-alec brat to a teenage bad-boy with daddy issues has been happening for years; however, this felt like a whole new low. Conflicts where Damian expresses his critical feelings toward Batman are interesting because it illuminates the tension between father and son.

Overall = 9/10

Final Impressions  

Batman appears to be over-matched given Astrid’s strong connections to Dr. Arkham and the combat training she received after leaving The Arkham Asylum. However, will she be able to follow through on her threats or is this just another Batman villain who will bite the dust? Time will tell. I highly recommend this story to fans of the classic Batman character.