Detective Comics #31
By Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato
So, we all know how good The Flash by these two was (and if you don’t you’d best get on it) and when they left that book it was a sad, sad day. Thankfully, though, DC decided to give them keys to play in the playground of arguably their greatest character: Batman. Not only Batman, but their name sake title Detective Comics. There’s pretty much no better way to show appreciate to a creative team than that and, as you might have guessed, so far Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato have been knocking it out of the park.
These two, as co-writers, work so well together it’s impossible to tell where one stops and the other takes over. It truly feels like a pure collaboration and there’s nothing better than that when it comes to getting a cohesive, and well crafted, book. Having fallen off Detective early on in the New 52, it’s nice to get back to a book where Batman seems to be more of a Detective than just a rock ‘em –sock ‘em crime fighter—not to say those are bad, because Batman proper has been great. Sure, there’s great action scenes in the book, but the Detective portions really stand out and it’s just a nice change of page.
Speaking of those Detective scenes, the art on them and the panel idea is not only excellent but perfectly executed. It shows Batman at the scene, and a small, red box that overlaps him, while still show the portion of his body in that panel, that shows what he suspects happened on that spot. It’s just a brilliant way to tie it all in and to keep Batman on the page instead of just cutting away to a narrated sequence as he pieces together the puzzle in front of him. Obviously that was a highlight for this issue, but the rest of the issue also shines. There’s just something about Manapul’s characters and Buccellato’s softer coloring that makes everything look great. It’s something that’ll never get old; it’s just unique and elevates the book above and beyond other books in its class.
If you like Batman (and who doesn’t?) and you like great art, great writing and one team (as opposed to those books that have 14 inkers, 6 pencilers and 3 colorists) on a book for a complete, constant look and feel than Detective Comics is for you. Hell, you’d be considered weird if for some reason all those reasons didn’t make you pick this book up. So, if you’re not, rectify that immediately because this has very quickly become one of the best books DC is putting out.