Over the past 8-9 months we've come to expect a lot from Scott Snyder and Detective Comics because his run has showed us that not only does he know how to weave a good story he also knows how to write Batman correctly and sufficiently. And with this final issue, not only for his run on the book, but for the original run of Detective Comics and the pressure that comes with that, Snyder pulls off yet another near perfect issue as he ties up most of the loose ends in his story most notably the long running James Jr. Story which seems to be the main attraction in this issue.
The James Jr. story has been a constant in Snyder's Detective run, it started out as a small, unforeseeable threat in a backup story that eventually blossomed into one of the biggest threats not only for Batman but for Jim Gordon that we've seen in a long time. And Snyder doesn't disappoint in that respect. In this issue Snyder somehow keeps James Jr. relevant and gives him the spotlight while Batman and Gordon play a lesser but still prominent role respectively as they try to track down the whereabouts of James Jr. and Barbara who was kidnapped by James. And in giving James the spotlight it feels like James has full control of not only the story but the current predicament with Barbara to the point where he seems almost invincible wherein Batman couldn't even stop him.
I mean I don't know how you follow up butchering a mans family in front of him and cutting off his limbs and then poisoning your own mother with Joker Toxin, but Snyder manages to pull it off here as James holds his sister captive and tells her about the first and only time he's been scared before stabbing two knives into her legs causing her to start bleeding to death all while taunting her and Dick. Which is especially effective when James brings up the events of The Killing Joke, teasing Barbara with the fact that he was the one who told the Joker about Barbara while the two were locked up in Arkham, although he claims that he was only joking. But in the end all this taunting is for naught because Dick planted a tracker on James when they met earlier and ends up finding out where James is hiding which was cool to see unfold as we see Dick echo his mentor Bruce’s style, and in typical Bruce fashion, Dick pulls the sneak up in the shadows and surprise the villain motif.
And that's another thing that makes this issue so good, it was great to see Dick as a real detective yet again rather than a shadow of his greater potential. And Dick definitely deserves the respect as we see him come full circle, it's just sad to see it all go away. I also liked the Jim Gordon stuff, it was great to see Gordon used as a real player in the story and not simply a transition, and of course he's a major player in the story because as much as its Batman's story it's Gordon's story because it harkens back and rips open old wounds and like Gordon himself said it's a family matter. But all the players in this issue get equal time and rich content which all lends to the quality and overall greatness of the original run and numbering of Detective Comics as a whole.
The art in this issue is also worth noting as Jock and Francesco Francavilla combine their forces to supplement Snyder's writing. It flows nicely and doesn't end up being distracting, it blends together nicely and the two artists work very well together. But I have to mention the panel where Dick lays James Jr. Out it definitely echoes pass issues of detective and somehow defines the character and bad ass nature of Batman. Also Jocks cover like the last cover is another example of the artists depth and scope, encapsulating Batman at his most iconic.
Overall, I can’t possibly think of a better ending to the original run of Detective Comics, Snyder has definitely proven himself as a Batman writer and Jock and Francesco Francavilla definitely breathe new life into the book. This past year has definitely been a treat for Batman and Detective Comics and Snyder’s stories were definitely the best stories I’ve ever read and won’t ever forget, and the ending is no exception. Snyder’s stories are fitting for the end of Detective Comics, or more precisely the end of an era for Detective Comics before it’s re-launched as a number one. So, let’s hope Detective Comics post re-launch will be given the same quality and care that we’ve seen this past year. Anyways, enough of my rambling, I’ll see all of you on the other side in September!
Detective Comics #881:
Posted by Dustin Fritschel