(w) Peter J. Tomasi (a) Brad Walker (i) Andrew Hennessy (c) Nathan Fairbairn
With a new big bad in town, there is sure to be new canon fodder. In this case, it’s the Arkham Knight’s Knights of The Sun. Giving us a quick speech via Arkham Knight to his minions we are thrown into Peter J. Tomasi new arc on Detective Comics. With the quick introduction of the villains, we then join Gordon calling Batman with the news of a dead bat epidemic that as also occured in the Batcave. Coincidence much? Going through the detective motions, Batman starts to investigate when he gets ambushed by The Knights of The Sun who he barely manages to escape until Arkham Knight (A.K. from here on out) shows up.
Peter Tomasi’s story in ‘Tec #1000 acts as a prelude to this arc, and with that in mind this first part for “Medieval” doesn’t live up to Tomasi’s previous arc, “Mythology.” Where “Mythology” played more on Batman’s detective skills – showing that he still uses them – this new (arc so far) does not. Instead we watch as Batman dissects dead bats and stumbles his way to the end. The dead bats could all be a ruse with nothing to do with the Arkham Knight (from now on, just referred to as “A.K.”) and could just be to throw the readers off, but with the bats in the cave and his appearance they seem to be linked.
For a new arc with a new villain, this issue gives no sense of drive behind A.K. other than have a strong “army” and defeat Batman. We don’t need a fleshed out backstory, but all we have been told in #1000 and in this story is that A.K. doesn’t believe Batman does good enough, and if that’s all his driving force is then cool, but then why doesn’t he go and defeat Gotham’s villains? Any new arc in a comic – particularly one named “Detective Comics” – needs a sense of mystery in it to drive the story forward. While Detective Comics #1001 has some mystery, it is barely enough to hold the reader’s interest.
At times, the art by Brad Walker isn’t bad, but that’s almost exclusively the backgrounds. The faces on the characters often seem weird and misshapen. The worst offence has to be Batman’s cowl. It just seems off and almost cosplay quality. The difference in the cowl seems so major that it almost looks like Batman is wearing a different suit. Towards the end, when the issue becomes more action focused, the art starts to look a tad better with it flowing through the panels with a sense of style and fluidity.
With a lot of colors and pencils being done digitally nowadays it’s hard to tell the difference and usually doesn’t matter, but the colors on the skin of some characters looks digital with a glossy look that seems off. The background colors look good and even pop off the pages at times, but once we’re focused on faces it all seems unnatural, which could very well be because of the art style. I’ve seen Nathan Fairbairn’s colors before on Wonder Woman: Earth One and never had these problems in that comic.
Whenever a new character debuts in the comics world it’s always fun to discuss costumes and designs, so let’s break it down. First is the big bad himself: the Arkham Knight. His design looks much like his video game counterpart with the only difference being his weapons. This time around, A.K. is sporting a gold medieval looking sword, with a really cool looking “A” shaped shield. His design is so far the best thing about his character. The other villains or his “army” don’t look as cool, with suits that look like onesie snake skins mixed with hard turd armor. Yeah that may sound harsh but the suits are so ugly and bad looking that they just scream canon fodder.
Final Thoughts: Tomasi’s last Batman arc, “Mythology”, was one of my favorite Batman arcs within the last few years giving me high hopes for his next story, instead Detective Comics #1001 feels boring and uninspired. None of the questions brought up in this issue warrants reading the next few issues for answers.
A Little Nitpicky: In the beginning, A.K. mentions that his “army” has been training for months. Is that really enough to take on Batman as well as they did? Or is there something else going on?
Memorable Quote: “Perhaps they were tired of hanging around.” – Alfred. Look out Joker, Alfred has some zingers!