Bruce in the big town! (Detective Comics #1040 Comic Review)
Detective Comics #1040
Writer: Mariko Tamaki
Artist: Dan Mora
Colors: Jodie Bellaire
Letters: Aditya Bidikar
Writer: Dan Watters
Artist: Max Raynor
Colors: Arif Prianto
Letters: Dave Wielgosz
Tamaki continues to bring out the best in Bruce Wayne as he deals with all the chaos that has found him after his recent move into the city.
This issue picks up right where the last one left off, with Bruce Wayne turning himself in. After his fight with Roland Worth, who blew up the last station that Bruce was being held in as he believes Wayne killed his daughter, Bruce decides to submit himself back into custody in order to clear both Bruce Wayne and Batman’s name so he can work his next case without having to worry about the police. Whilst spending the weekend in a holding cell, Bruce chats with a drunk who claims to know that Bruce Wayne is Batman. He recounts a fight between Batman and the Joker and how he found out the identity of the Batman. Meanwhile, Roland has formed an alliance with a very influential Gotham villain to destroy not just Batman but Bruce Wayne too…
The back-up story brings us the promised death of Kirk Langstrum aka Manbat. We see Batman alone in a graveyard watching the coffin being lowered and we’re treated to a brief recap of Manbat’s history. During an incident at the Tower of Fate a demon has taken root in Kirk’s soul and threatens to consume him. Kirk has always been fighting his personal demons, but his final battle will be with a literal one.
I have to talk about the art of this issue first because wow! Dan Mora’s art with colors by Jordie Bellaire make this entire issue a treat for the eyes. From characters to background, every page of this book is gorgeous. Now for the story, this issue really feels like a nice breather which is great after so much action. It feels so rare that we get to spend so much time with Bruce in his public persona, showcasing this has really been a strength of Tamaki’s run. There are so many little details included that just really build Bruce’s public persona in a very charming and lovable way. It also brings up a fascinating question: Just how many people have discovered Bruce’s identity over the years? I’m also interested to see just how far the villains are going to take things in their pursuit of taking down Wayne which has been set up in a pretty shocking way (on a particularly beautiful page)
Manbat has always been a character who has a voice that is very difficult to properly capture without making him into the cliché Jekyll & Hyde creature feature and I think this story does a pretty good job and keeping that voice present. Kirk’s humanity runs through the core of the story. Unfortunately, even as a follow up to events that have taken place in the Manbat miniseries and Justice League Dark, this story feels far too short to do his final moments justice and really explore what they touch on with the depth that it deserves. My compliments for the art keep on coming with the back-up maintaining that great quality. Batman in the rain is something I will never get tired off, especially when Raynor and Prianto make it look this good!
Summary A charming story that feels like the calm before the storm with gorgeous art to boot. I have no doubts things are only going to keep getting better.