After last month’s Zero Year Gordon-centric one-shot, we find the world’s greatest detective working a missing persons/pile of bones mystery. The good news is that it all circles back to wrap up the ongoing misadventures of Dr. Man-Bat. John Layman does a good job continuing the development of Kirk Langstrom as a multidimensional foe. In the process, Mrs. Langstrom (now Bat-Queen) has emerged as a worthy villainess and the world’s nastiest estranged wife. The life-lesson in all of this for the younger readers is 1) if you’re a brainy scientist, that hot chick hitting on you is probably a corporate spy and 2) if she gets hooked on your bat serum you’ll have an empty bed and have more than guano to clean up. The what the ‘F’ moment in this book hits with classic comic book panache as Batman’s new sidekick is revealed. Will this introduction increase the collectability of this issue?
Part of what makes Detective a bit different from the rest of the Bat pantheon is the detecting. While it’s fun watching Batman whip up cool gadgets and use a seemingly bottomless knowledge of biology to subdue mutant bats, it’s his deductive reasoning that should be the centerpiece of this title. We spent a lot of time building up to this event and the final instalment of the Man-Bat/Queen-Bat drama seems a bit trite. I was also let down by the fact that Man-Bat loses a mouthful of teeth in the first third of the book and they magically reappear as a critical tool help bring Mrs. Langstrom to justice in the finale. I guess even mutant bats have better dental insurance than I do.
Batman cleans up Gotham’s other bat problem a little too easily thus ending an interesting storyline without much payoff for the readership. Fortunately the upcoming Gothtopia kicks off with an interesting allegiance.
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