FINALLY! Monster Men is over and James Tynion IV can really get busy. Now we can deal a little more with Tim Drake’s death while reinforcing the team left in the wake of that tragedy(I’m still hurt). Does this issue hit the ground running or is it just the beginning of a slow burn story? I hope not……
The issue starts with Batwoman and Renee Montoya at a Wayne Enterprise crime scene. While we are getting some eye-witness accounts of the villains we also see some of their dirty work and get a glimpse of them as well. They are mysterious, deadly, creepy and already pretty d@!% wicked. Renee thinks they might not be after Batman but actually targeting Kate because of the colors it’s written in.
Moving on to kate and Bruce attending a gala, Kate is afraid that Bruce has isolated himself from the team since Tim’s death. Luke Fox arrives in a hoover car and comes off right away as a mixture of Spider-Man and Tony Stark. If you were a fan of the Batwing series starring Luke, the panel of the three chatting has to give you hope that we will get our man back in the suit.
I’m loving the way Tynion can check in with each character and their journey, whether it’s Spoiler dealing with her grief over the loss of Tim Drake or Clayface trying to rejoin society and turn over a new leaf or Bruce and Kate trying to add a new member to the team on whom they are not totally sold on. Over all this looms the threat of a disturbing new group of criminals with a seeming grudge against both Batman and Bruce Wayne or Batwoman.
The art team on this issue really connects like Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan. The layout design that makes up the first few pages of the book, as the aftermath of a crime scene is reviewed via video player from a security camera. Viewers that gradually break apart as the story the witnesses are telling becomes more chilling and scary, using the increasingly chaotic layout structure to parallel the content of the narrative. Nice touch Martinez. Also nice is the way Martinez gives time for the small emotional moments throughout the book, whether it’s a close-up of an anguished Batman filled with grief, to Stephanie and Harper Row’s heart-to-hearts moments, to Basil Karlo’s turmoil of reminder from people that he is a monster.
Detective Comics #943 was an enjoyable read that kicks off a creepy arc and introduces a set of villains and unsettling enough to engender anticipation for the next part; while its energy slows down a bit during a long party scene in my opinion, exerting some of the momentum. Tynion is still refining the group of characters into more multi-dimensional people that are starting to mesh as a compelling team we could enjoy following for the future.