Detective Comics #1000. Holy sardines Batman, that’s a big number! Yes it is, and on top of that, it’s Batman’s 80th year, which in itself is a large feat. To celebrate, DC has assembled a handful of famous Batman writers and artists to celebrate this landmark issue! Being a 96-page giant, we’re going to breakdown the issue into its many stories and do a quick write-up each, starting from the beginning.
Batman’s Longest Case
(w) Scott Snyder (p) Greg Capullo (i) Jonathan Glapion (c) FCO Plascencia
Even though this story by the dynamic duo of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo was short on page count it made up for that with a interesting story. Hopefully we see The Guild show up in Batman or Detective Comics in the future. Not much to say on this other than if you liked Snyder’s Batman writing from his run you’ll love it and Capullo still does some of the best art on a Batman series.
Manufacture For Use
(w) Kevin Smith (p) Jim Lee (i) Scott Williams (c) Alex Sinclair
Last time Kevin Smith wrote Batman it didn’t go over well with so many fans, so it’s nice he got another crack at him, and after reading his return I’m glad he did. Teaming up with veteran creator Jim Lee, Smith weaves a story of Batman throughout his many years while a store owner tries his best to sell Gotham memorables to Matches Malone. The story was great and felt like a heartfelt letter towards The Caped Crusader. Although it was a quick history of Batman fighting his most known villains throughout the years he was wearing the same suit in each encounter, which seemed quite weird.
The Legend of Knute Brody
(w) Paul Dini (p) Dustin Nguyen (i) Derek Fridolfs (c) John Kalisz
Compared to the first two stories in this giant of an issue there is more of a focus on the villains and not much on Batman himself. In this case it works perfectly as Paul Dini’s writing is able to flow with comedy, action, and some drama sprinkled in. I expected the twist at the end but it was still well done and didn’t feel out of place for a Batman story. Plus I always love Dustin Nguyen’s art.
The Batman’s Design
(w) Warren Ellis (a) Becky Cloonan (c) Jordie Bellaire
This is the first time I have read a Batman comic written by Warren Ellis and this is the most calculated and tactic oriented Batman I’ve ever read. After leading a group of villains into a building he had set traps for he elegantly takes down each individual. Becky Cloonan’s explosive art is amplified by Jordie Bellaire’s colors that brings each explosion to life.
Return to Crime Alley
(w) Denny O’Neil (a) Steve Epting (c) Elizabeth Breitweiser
If you have read any Batman story in your life there’s a high chance it was written by Denny O’Neil, or highly inspired by him. There are many creators names that when thinking of Batman people invision, and O’Neil is usually on the top of the list. While redefining Batman to his darker roots in 1970 he introduced many concepts to the Caped Crusaders life including some iconic characters. It’s nice to see him back in the helm of a Batman story because I can’t recall the last time I’ve seen his name attached to the Bat-family. In this story O’Neil is able to craft a thought provoking plot revolving around Leslie Thompkins and her questioning of Bruce Wayne.
(w) Christopher Priest (a) Neal Adams (c) Dave Stewart
Six stories in and I feel like we have our first dud. Written by Christopher Priest we have what seems to be a prologue of s bigger story, starting with a brother from Lhasa being killed due to Bruce Wayne’s past mistakes. This story felt under developed and could’ve highly benefited by extra page count. With art we have another long time Bat veteran that made his Name alongside O’Neil as his artist, Neal Adams. Even throughout all of these years he still hasn’t lost his touch, but if you aren’t a fan of his then this will do nothing to improve that.
(w) Brian Michael Bendis (a) Alex Maleev
It took a few months since he moved over to DC Comics but Brian Michael Bendis wrote a Batman story! And it had his frequent collaborator on art Alex Maleev! Bendis and Maleev and a great run of DareDevil years back that many find to be one of the bests. Ever since I read it a couple years back I felt the same, after reading this short story revolving around Penguin I still felt the same. Within just a few pages I was brought back into the longing of wanting these two to create some Bat-family stories, as great as this one was it could’ve also benefited from an extra few pages.
The Last Crime In Gotham
(w) Geoff Johns (a) Kelley Jones (c) Michelle Madsen
Geoff Johns crafts a quick “what if” Batman story taking place in the future with an older Batman and kids. In it we get a 12 person murder, and a quick shout-out to The Long Halloween. Johns has a great history with DC Comics consisting of great world-building and updating the stories of many characters, but sadly this story just felt rushed. In such an important landmark issue it felt just unneeded and on art duties is Kelley Jones who is on the top of my Batman artist list, but his work also seems rushed helping this story feel like one that can be skipped.
(w) James Tynion IV (p) Alvaro Martinez-Bueno (i) Raul Fernandez (c) Brad Anderson
James Tynion IV shifts the focus from Batman and onto his first boy wonder Dick Grayson. I’ve read a few Bat stories from Tynion and he has a firm grasp on the whole of the Bat-Family, with this story following suit. We are treated to a concerned Bruce talking to Alfred about taking in Dick Grayson with all the life changes he may (and will) go through. With the help of Alvaro Martinez-Bueno this story of the beginning of the Bat-Family was a fun ride through memory lane.
Batman’s Greatest Case
(w) Tom King (a) Tony s. Daniel & Joelle Jones (c) Tomeu Morey
Tom King has been on the main Batman title since the start of DC Rebirth and I always hear a mixed bag for how he is doing, but I’ve only yet to read his whole run with only reading a few single issues here or there. This short story alone would make me want to read more of his run because it really shows how Batman does have his own family and does care about all of them. This is another great story showcasing those around Batman but falls flat in one regard, even with each character’s speech patterns difference its annoying trying to figure out who is who when the speech bubbles aren’t labeled with their logo.
(w) Peter J. Tomasi (p) Doug Mahnke (i) Jaime Mendoza & Doug Mahnke (c) David Baron
We finally arrive at the main spectacle of the 1000 issue, the first comic canon appearance of The Arkham Knight. You may remember the name from the final 2015 Batman Arkham game that introduced him: Batman Arkham Knight. This landmark issue was teased with the introduction of his comic counterpart by Peter J. Tomasi and just who he might be. By the end of this introduction story it did nothing to entice me to carry on my reading and figure out just who this villains identity may be. As introductions go it was weak.
For a villain that was hyped up and supposed to be a big deal it felt boring and could have been handled differently. Tackling art is Doug Mahnke who has worked with Tomasi in the past with the two always working great together, but for a story that also seems to follow Batman through a few years he falls into the same problem Jim Lee had. In each fight Batman has in this story he is wearing the same costume, which if it’s a story spanning multiple years they should be different.
Going in, I hoped the whole issue would be one long story pushing forward what Peter J. Tomasi was building towards in the last few issues, but instead we got a bunch of smaller, self-contained stories. Each story has its pros and cons, but most if not all feel like they don’t contribute to the legacy of Batman. After reading this, it feels like these stories – albeit good – just don’t matter to the Batman mythos. It could very well be because this comic is just a celebration from many past writer’s and artists of Batman’s history showing their love for the character, and if that was the case they should have had some “new talent” give their take on Batman and just how he has affected his life.
I’m at odds with this issue, on one hand it’s nice to see a bunch of famed talent giving us Batman stories, but on the other it feels like that could’ve been done elsewhere and this focus on the introduction of Arkham Knight. If you have made it through this long review and have read it yourself please leave a comment and let me know what you think!
As always, same bat-time, same bat-channel.