Review: DETECTIVE COMICS #32

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DETECTIVE COMICS #32
Written by Francis Manapul, Brian Buccellato
Art by Francis Manapul, Brian Buccellato
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: June 11, 2014

The dynamic creative duo of Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato drive Detective Comics into the third chapter of Icarus, giving readers a different look at Gotham that gives this comic a fantastic voice in the Bat line of books at DC.

As has been the case in their previous two issues on the title, Manapul and Buccellato tell their story through the use of some masterful visuals. Their look and feel for Gotham is unique, with much of the story taking place at sunset. In some ways, this makes Gotham feel somewhat comfortable and in line with what we’ve seen in the “brighter” storyline of Zero Year in Snyder & Capullo’s Batman, but it does not feel like it is copying that style at all.

The colouring of this book stands out in this light, and with several splashes it is very obvious why they have chosen to set much of this story in this time of day. It gives the duo some amazing visual situations to work with, and the first double page splash, as has become their trademark, will have your jaw on the floor as you take it all in.

The pencil work is as strong as ever, telling the story well and providing some interesting looks into the lives of characters like Harvey Bullock that we don’t typically see. Manapul and Buccellato show a side of the detective that I enjoyed very much, highlighting that “regular” lives do exist in Gotham and even when the GCPD are off the clock they have to deal with life other than capes and super powered crime. This is, quite simply, one of the best looking books in comics and this time is becoming more legendary with each issue they work on together.

The Icarus storyline is moving along at a brisk pace, with moments of hectic action after a slow start to the issue. Most of the dialogue found in this comic happens in the first half of the issue, with Manapul and Buccellato building steam as they drive toward an interesting final page. Watching Batman deal with gangs is a nice throwback to stories where he isn’t dealing with a particular villain and it is refreshing. These are some pretty powerful and intimidating gangs that are up to some not-so-normal gang activity, but this comic feels more “street level” than the Batman books have been recently and I enjoyed that a lot.

There is actual detective work occurring in this issue, by both Batman and the GCPD, which just feels right. Manapul and Buccellato’s Batman is not omniscient, diving head first into situations and getting himself into trouble, which gives this story a very dynamic feel to it. It’s not easy to predict where these creators are going with this story which makes it a lot of fun to read.

Detective Comics #32 is the third part of a story so, being a middle chapter of a story, it does suffer from a lack of conclusion but this is a very minor factor when judging this comic. The artwork is simply fantastic and these storytellers are on fire. I was worried how their unique style would transfer to Gotham after defining The Flash in the New 52, but all those fears are long gone. Manapul and Buccellato are killing it and I can’t wait for the fourth chapter of Icarus, if for no other reason than to see how the final page of this issue shakes out.

The Verdict: 9.0/10

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