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Review: Detective Comics #4

Detective Comics #4Issue four of Tony Daniel's "Detective Comics" begins seventy two minutes ago in Crime Alley with Batman interrogating a police informant by the name of Raju as to the whereabouts of Dollmaker's hideout.  We then cut to Gotham City PD where Harvey Bullock and an Internal Affairs officer named Forbes discuss the probability of Batman possibly being a cop killer as the oversee the clean up of the police officer killed at the end of last issue on the GCPD roof.  They discuss who called Batman to the roof top earlier, with Bullock stating it was not Gordon as he is missing.  On the bat signal Bullock finds the piece of paper Gordon wrote for Batman giving his location at Mercy Hospital.


We cut to Mercy Hospital where a bound Batman is fighting the multiple Jokers.  He realizes they are all fakes and deduces they are there to insure Batman is the real deal and not a fake.  As Batman continues the fight we cut to a hospital room where Gordon is on a bed with a bloody bandage over the front area where his kidney would be.  The little girl Olivia visits Gordon telling him Batman has arrived and confessing that Dollmaker put her up to figuring out a way to lure Batman to Mercy Hospital.  Gordon admits he figured it out already but is understanding and only cares about saving her.  Olivia apologizes while holding a knife in her hand.


Next Dollmaker is watching Batman's battle with the Jokers when his blonde nurse assistant who reminds me of Alicia Hunt from Tim Burton's Batman (Joker's girlfriend who wears the mask), approaches Dollmaker informing him the messenger has arrived.  Dollmaker is infuriated but agrees to meet him.  The messenger and Dollmaker discuss Batman with the messenger saying his boss will pay double that of the highest bidder for Batman.  When Dollmaker asks who the messengers boss is the messenger simply states he "waddles to the beat of a different drummer."  The messenger is revealed to be Raju as Dollmaker agrees to the sale of Batman as long as the body is returned to Dollmaker within 24 hours and within one hour of death as he has plans for Batman's remains.  


Cables shoot around Batmans body and he realizes the cables are his design indicating that Dollmaker has connections to Wayne Corp.  Batman uses a demagnetizer in his utility belt to break free and attacks Raju demanding he send that message to Penguin.  Batman then continues to battle the fake Jokers while pursuing Dollmaker.  A mysterious figure is on the phone to Dollmakers blonde assistant stating he never sanctioned the events with Batman and warning the police are on there way.  Dollmaker orders a clear out once Gordon is taken care of.


Batman continues battling Dollmaker's goons while the monkey and the big muscular goon are packing up the harvested organs.  The muscular goon then goes to finish off Gordon who draws his gun on him only for the goon to fall over having been stabbed in the back and killed by Olivia.  Gordon tells Olivia she has to come with him but Olivia tells him she is not afraid of him or anyone before breaking down crying in Gordon's arms.  Batman checks in on Gordon and takes off after Dollmaker.  He smashes Dollmakers car while a police helicopter flies overhead, the car then explodes.  The car was full of fakes designed to throw Batman off while the police helicopter, which Batman believes contains Dollmaker flies away.


Later in Colorado, Bruce Wayne and Charlotte Rivers are having a quite romantic getaway.  Rivers tells Bruce she really worried about Gordon during the whole Dollmaker ordeal and she appears a little disturbed by Olivia.  She begins to go on about wanting an exclusive with Gordon before Bruce caresses her face to shut her up.  We cut to the GCPD where Bullock is unhappy with the decision to move Olivia from their custody to Arkham Asylum.  Mayor Hady states that its only a two week evaluation in the low security section with other young disturbed minds.  Bullock thinks it will give the GCPD enough time to gather evidence to press charges against her for the murder of the police officer on the GCPD roof.  Mayor Hady calls it a win win and then complains about all of Joker's fans laying wreaths and candles outside of the GCPD in honor of their hero.  Hady states as long as the Joker's cut-off face remains at the GCPD the tributes will continue.  Bullock states they'll wait until Gordon makes a recovery since he had a kidney removed and get rid of the face then.  The issue ends with Bullock stating he couldn't wait to get rid of the Joker's face as we see the Jokers face in a glass box.  Next month: Lady Killers.


I'll begin with the art in this issue, I am a fan of Tony Daniels art.  I really like how he draws Batman and I don't think anyone out there draws a better Batman, maybe with the exception of Jim Lee in my opinion.  The gritty and dark style of the art really does compliment the style of story that Daniel is trying to tell, so huge props for the art here.


The story on the other hand…I enjoyed the build up with Batman fighting the fake Jokers, I liked Gordons interaction with Olivia (who is easily the creepiest character I've seen in a while) and I really liked how Daniel writes the underused character of Harvey Bullock.  Here he was intelligent, logical and was a good detective.  I don't like the voice of Batman/Bruce Wayne here.  I hated in a previous issue where we had Batman saying "bring it on" and it was more of the same here.  Daniels wrote a good Dick Grayson Batman in his previous run and maybe he is still trying to find Bruce's voice, hopefully he does soon and we can get better dialogue from the original Batman.  The character of Dollmaker was interesting and I have a feeling we will be seeing him again and I found it interesting that there is another player pulling the Dollmaker's strings.  His goons were just that, goons and very interchangeable.  Oh and did anyone else think the blonde assistant in the nurse outfit looked like Alicia Hunt from Tim Burton's Batman or was it just me?  The start of the book was good as I said but i felt the ending was very rushed and I felt the chase and escape of Dollmaker was far too short.  They could've cut out the page of Bruce and Charlotte Rivers in the woods which only served to show that this girl is the one until she gets killed off/betrays Batman in a few issues time, and should have added to the chase and escape scene which was more important to the story and even Daniel's Detective run.  


Overall I didn't mind this issue or this arc but I know Daniel can do better (see Batman: Battle for the Cowl), he REALLY needs to work on Bruce's voice as Batman big time and avoid these horrible lines which are nothing like Bruce in any way shape and form.  I liked the Penguin tease and I'm hoping the inclusion of an established villain with a decent history but still has room for improvement proves to be a good thing for Tony Daniel and we get a decent story.  Looking forward to issue #5.


Detective Comics #4:


3 out of 5 Batarangs


Reviewed by David Cook

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