Written by Francis Manapul, Brian Buccellato
Art by Francis Manapul, Brian Buccellato
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: April 2, 2014

Detective 30Ladies and Gentlemen, there is a new contender for the title of “Best Batman Book”. Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato have come to Gotham, and bring with them the best issue of Detective Comics the New 52 has seen.

Manapul and Buccellato are credited as the storytellers in this issue, no delineation between art duties and writing duties, and I can see why. These collaborators made a name for themselves during an extensive (and fantastic) run on The Flash, and their work has only grown more cohesive and tight. There is no need to distinguish who of the duo did what in this issue, what we are given is one of the tightest Batman single issues we’ve seen in a very long time, and the first without the names Snyder, Capullo, Tomasi or Gleason on the front that has wowed me. Detective Comics #30 builds a fresh base for the arc to grow from, introducing new characters and challenges for Bruce and showing the ever dark side of Gotham that gets ignored when super-villains are out and about. Manapul and Buccellato pace this issue brilliantly, giving readers plenty of action and just the right amount of story-building dialogue in the middle. They cap it off with a fantastic cliffhanger, and place subtle nods throughout the issue to let readers get acclimated to the mental state of the Bruce Wayne in this story. This book has all the right pieces for a solid Batman story, with organized crime, shocking twists, the teases of a interesting mystery and the ever present darkness of Gotham looming over the characters, ready to snuff out any brightness should anyone let their guard slip. The combined voice of these creators is present throughout the entire issue and it is obvious from the first page that this is a Batman title unlike anything else on the market (in a good way).

It is the visuals that set this story apart and, like The Flash before it, so much story is told through the imagery of Detective Comics #30. Manapul and Buccellato are gifted artists and their ability to convey emotion and tell story through imagery alone is amazing. Through much of the issue it is the visuals that do the heavy lifting, with the dialogue acting as a side note to the jaw dropping images in front of your eyes. Their trademark title page is magnificent, frame worthy, and will immediately shut up anyone doubting if these two can handle Gotham and the unique requirements it poses for artists. Manapul handles shadows more intensely than we have seen him use them in the past, and he nails the drama that the silhouette of the The Bat can provide. Their skills with motion are on full display, though tempered enough to feel like the speed is that of regular human beings and not The Flash. The artwork in this comic will have you coming back for issue #31 without a doubt, as this work is completely engrossing and will not let you go.

Detective Comics #30 is one hell of a strong debut issue from a hot creative team that is firing on all cylinders. Detective has not been this strong in years, and anyone who is on the fence about picking up another Batman title, grab this one. Readers who enjoyed Manapul and Buccellato on The Flash, this series will be right up your alley as well. These storytellers are at the top of their game and this is a golden age to be a Batman reader.

The Verdict: 10/10


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