By James Tynion IV, Marcio Takara, Dean White, Alvaro Martinez, Raul Fernandez, Brad Anderson, Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira & Adriano Lucas
Detective Comics celebrates its milestone 950th issue incredibly well, with a fantastic introduction to a new arc entitled “League of Shadows” that makes up the first of the three separate storylines in this issue. Here Tynion IV handles the story well and heavily focuses on Cassandra Cain (Orphan) for much of its runtime, a fan favourite character and it was interesting to watch Batman take the back seat for this prologue that sets the ground running for the arc to come. Tynion’s narrative here so far is really well done, fleshing out her character a bit more as the book feels like a mix of an annual and a transitional storyline between arcs at the same time. There’s no big revelation or ground-breaking twist here, Detective Comics moves solidly along at its own pace and does so effectively, using this as an opportunity to provide a great character study on Cassandra Cain as the book explores a lot about her role in the Batfamily, as well as her struggles. The focus on one particular character pays off in Tynion’s prose-heavy narrative, and as a result this emerges as a book that Cassandra Cain fans won’t want to miss.
The artwork for League of Shadows‘ prologue is visually impressive and incredibly well executed. Marcio Takara’s pencils for the most part are really solid and help create a fantastic atmosphere for the first story, bringing Cassandra to life incredibly well, handling the story’s theme of loneliness in a very solid way that bring her emotions to the forefront. Sometimes Takara’s pencils could use a little more detail in the art, but for the most part it is just amazing and when combined with Dean White’s colours, it is immediately eye-catching. Taking an opportunity to end on an incredibly interesting cliffhanger, Detective Comics #950 does an excellent job at getting readers interested in this new arc and severs as a very effective prequel indeed.
The second out of the three stories here is entitled Higher Powers. Much like the first story it is Batman-lite (although this is no bad thing) as it focuses on both Azrael and Batwing, two characters who are really underutilised in the DC Universe, and it was a fantastic idea to put them together as they play off each other really well in this storyline. Here it is mainly a dialogue-driven narrative that again acts as a sort-of prequel to presumably a larger storyline to come, with an interesting twist at the end that could take Detective Comics in a really interesting direction when it comes to the forefront, especially if it means a larger role for Azrael and Batwing in the future. The artwork this time sees Alvaro Martinez on the pencils and Raul Fernandez on the inks, with Brad Anderson on the colours and manages to keep the consistent tone established in the first story, effectively adding depth to both characters and their environment.
Last but not least is the shortest story of the lot, The Big Picture, with a flashback focusing on an interaction between Batman and Tim Drake that basically does as the title suggests, it looks at the big picture in Detective Comics and how this is likely to affect various Batman-related storylines in the future. It teases what’s to come and doesn’t really do anything more than that, but that’s understandable given there’s only so much you can do with the small number of pages available here. The artwork too is good with Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira and Adriano Lucas all giving spotlight to various members of the Batfamily, however briefly, and again, manages to be consistent with the rest of the art present throughout this issue so there is no switch that proves too jarring.
Detective Comics #950 has a lot to recommend about it, feeling like an issue worthy of a milestone like this. If you’re a fan of Cassandra Cain, Azrael and Batwing or want to know where Detective Comics is headed in the future then this issue should make a great addition to your weekly comics haul.