Detective Comics #985
Writer: Bryan Hill
Artist: Philippe Briones
Colors: Adriano Lucas
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Cover: Eber Ferreira and Adriano Lucas
Variant Cover: Mark Brooks
Batman recruits Jefferson Pierce (Black Lightning) to teach the Bat Family, telling him that having an actual teacher is just as important as having a mentor. In light of them being exposed as a weakness by a new foe who calls himself Karma and set a trap for The Signal severely injuring him and killing a child he took hostage, Bruce takes all of his students out of the field. After finding a data chip in one of Duke’s wounds, it becomes apparent that, whoever this Karma is, they have prepared extensively for this. As this is all happening Karma ambushes Cassandra Cain and gains the upper hand on DC’s strongest hand-to-hand fighter until she is saved by Black Lightning and Batman.
We see the team licking their wounds, both teachers and protégés upset with how things are turning out with Karma. Bruce insists on taking one of the nicer sports cars out for a spin to clear his head, coming to the conclusion that Karma either reads minds or already knows he’s the Batman. Meanwhile, the students bicker with their new teacher over being grounded from the field. Black Lightning faces his first challenge with his sovereignty as their new teacher and with the man who employed him.
This issue really helps put into perspective how a traumatic event can change someone forever. The art does a very good job of blending the exposition with the mood of the comic and the comic is very easy to read. However, it’s not very compelling and is quite typical of a buildup to a showdown themed work. Without any real twists or turns, there could’ve been a more productive direction taking. Maybe by Jefferson putting the kids in a danger room type, who knows? Just feels like this issue was all exposition and no payoff whatsoever, which is rather upsetting, considering how this small arc has been going so far.