By James Tynion IV, Christopher Sebela, Carmen Carnero & Javier Mena
This issue abandons the team concept the book has been running with for a while in favor of a more focused look on Spoiler. This approach effectively serves as a way to explore the consequences of a superhero’s involvement. Whilst most people dream of meeting superheroes, Spoiler offers an alternative perspective on the situation, arguing that the day you’re going to meet a superhero will be the worst day of your life because in theory, something bad must have happened for them to be there. It’s an interesting approach that’s not often explored in superhero comics, and allows for a nice character-centric piece on who Stephanie Brown is and what makes her tick.
The antagonist, Wrath, is given plenty of screen time as well and is fleshed out just as much as Spoiler. His story serves as a nice juxtaposition when placed against Stephanie’s, particularly when contrasting the dialogue. Here, Wrath is willing to do anything to earn a spot on Batman’s A-list rogues gallery and decides that the best course of action will be to do what the Joker did several years ago to announce his entry: broadcasting his intentions on TV before going out and doing exactly that. Wrath is of course expecting Batman to show up, but things don’t go quite as intended. This issue also serves as a way to show how much things have changed in Gotham since The Joker first made his appearance on the scene, and the callbacks to the earlier issues was really appreciated, even if the Joker’s nowhere to be found this issue.
James Tynion IV & Christopher Sebela do a fantastic job with the script in what is mostly a standalone issue that features a cool ending reveal that promises an interesting mystery concerning Steph’s character. More Spoiler is always a good thing, especially when she’s the main focus of the book, and this issue itself is very much a must read for any fans of the character. If anything, this will make readers long for a Spoiler solo series.
Carmen Carnero’s pencils are amazing here as she sets the tone for the issue with a well designed layout that features lots of intersecting panels. The opening section on the GCPD rooftop is a scene that we’ve seen play out several times before with different characters, but Carnero’s art adds that extra depth to the scene in question. The moody, cinematic feel of the issue really works in its favor. The colors from Javier Mena are one of the issue’s many strengths as they really help flesh out the book’s fantastic atmosphere and the intense feel of the action sequences in particular. As a result, this book remains consistent all the way through in terms of the quality of both the writing and the art.
There may be too many Batman-centric books on shelves for readers to be able to read every single one of them, but Detective Comics #957’s focus on fan-favorite Spoiler is something that should not be missed regardless of whether or not you’re up to date on the series. It’s a perfect excuse to try out the series and get a taster for what this book is like. As a result, an opportunity like this really shouldn’t be ignored.