I feel it is rather ironic for me to be writing a defense on Tony Daniel under the heading what is bothering TBU when on the last podcast (see Episode 86), it was torn apart by the hosts and barely scored it above the truly awful Batgirl. And lets be honest, it has not done that much better when they have reviewed previous issues. And the podcast is not the only place where Daniel is getting heat. Over on Comic Book Resources, one of the forum threads is about revamping Detective Comics after just six issues.
The main criticism aimed at Daniel is that the writing is very poor and of a sub-standard with random themes introduced and then dropped. I can see the argument with there sometimes being a bit disconnected even in the first issue where you see the Joker rip out the throat of a surgeon. This true could have been sorted and it is annoying but it does not seem to have happened again and probably was a one off.
As for the claim that Daniel picks up and drops threads, yes this again is true. But it is true for every single writer in comics. The idea of a writer being on a book for a while is that there is a big set out plan which leads from one area to another with a overarcing link. So in this are the seeds of the next story. In this current arc the link is that of Charlotte Rivers who is a pro-to Louis Lane figure, who investigates stories and it makes sense to go looking around the Penguin's lair and is then used to trap Batman. Because, well, if she went investigating the Joker she is likely to be dead quite quickly. Scott Synder picks up and drops themes within his story and indeed assumes a larger level of knowledge of Gotham than Daniel does and does not explain everything that was going on.
What is odd is that when it comes to Daniel, the readers demand to know why everything is going on. Why has this not been explained? Is Alfred a robot? Where is the Joker? As if it should be resolved now. But why should it be? What is wrong with sitting back and letting the story unfold gently like a flower in front of you. Why do answers have to be given now. No one demands that Scott Synder is giving a full account of the life of Alan Wayne. The one thing about Tony Daniel's writing is that there are threads that interweave and flow from one story to another and reveal all eventually but it requires patience to allow it to become clear. Something that I do not think is as common among some readers as it once was, especially in the fans on Comic Book Resources forum calling for it to be revamped.
Tony Daniel is a writer that to me requires patience and time for everything to become clear. He does not rush everything and pile it all into six issues. He runs his threads through every story he writes and through each title he is on with artistry and skill. They are all there waiting to be picked up and used. Yes sometimes he will drop something or forget it but that is the price you pay for a great story teller sometimes he does forget something. But it is worth it for that moment when it all becomes clear as to what is going on and you smack yourself for not getting it earlier. But he does not deserve to be dropped after just six issues.
Posted by Jon Roke