By Brian Buccellato, Werther Dell’Edera, Jorge Fornés, Scott Hepburn, John Kalisz, Lee Loughridge & Jon Proctor
Detective Comics Annual #3 progresses the Icarus storyline introduced in the main continuity. With Francis Manapul taking a break from art duties this issue, a large group of new artists step in with mixed results. Batman takes more of a backseat this issue while the screen time falls to the villains and supporting characters. While nothing is overly intriguing or complex about this issue, it does have some serious undertones that were nice additions.
The timeline of this annual was all over the place. Starting in the present, then jumping back to the past and back to the future takes you out of the story briefly in order to look at the time to figure out where you are. Underneath the violence there is some heart to this story, dealing with drug use and it’s unpredictable consequences, as well as household abuse and the effect it can have on those involved. It’s a shame that the story wasn’t overly interesting beyond these underlying subplots.
This issue’s art, in all its variations from the many artists, was a bit lacking compared to the main work done by Manapul in the regular issues. The art was fresh and energetic. It looked as though it stepped out of a cartoon, having edgy, exaggerated features that immediately stood out. Every scene featuring Batman was colored beautifully, with a a nice overall filter that separates them from the rest of the issue. This annual was drawn and colored by many different artists, so some sections are better than others. All in all it looks pretty good, but it’s not necessarily the art style you’d want to see in a Batman book.
This annual issue wasn’t the most exciting or entertaining, but it did add some elements to the already progressing Icarus storyline. Detective Comics should be about the detective work and the smart, sophisticated stories that started this series in the first place, while the action should be left to the other Bat-titles. While this issue didn’t have an abundance of detective work, it was a character-driven story that dealt with real world issues a lot of readers can understand. Batman’s interactions with Aden and his father Julian Day (you hardcore Bat-fans know this guy) were the highlights of this issue, but at the end of the day this felt more like a filler issue for the main series.