Review: DETECTIVE COMICS #961

DETECTIVE COMICS #961
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Alvaro Martinez, Raul Fernandez, Brad Anderson, Sal Cipriano
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: July 26, 2017

Ascalon…you’re a wee bit of trouble, aren’t you?

I have to heap praise upon James Tynion IV and DC Editorial for actually bringing Azrael into the Bat-family with some baggage that makes him a truly interesting player and not just a Bat with a fire sword and some cryptic religious speeches. This storyline is as interesting as Azrael has ever been and I am digging this storyline big time. That his programming could be insidious enough to infect and control other artificial intelligence based devices is a fabulous twist and a great metaphor for religious brainwashing/programming. Tynion is writing on more than one level here and the interactions of the Bat family and the currently incapacitated Azrael are great.

This issue builds very well. Tynion and the art team have this whole bi-weekly pacing down pat, and they know how to progress a story the proper amount for the rapid release schedule. There is some great action here building to a reveal that gave me a goofy smile, and I love the personality the art team gives the Rookie suit. Its continued existence is a great throwback to the Snyder/Capullo run and makes this Detective run feel very integrated into the DCU.

Alvaro Martinez has quickly become one of my favourite artists in the DC stable. His work on this issue of Detective is rock solid, with every character penciled well, with sharp ink work by Raul Fernandez. The two are a strong tag team, and colourist Brad Anderson amplifies their work the same way he can with Jason Fabok’s. To see artwork of this quality on a bi-weekly title is fantastic, and readers are really just spoiled by this level of kick-ass art. They handle the large cast and big action sequences very well, delivering that last page reveal in a way that is extremely impressive. This storyline is epic and this art team is bringing the thunder.

Azrael is a character that could easily be written and executed very poorly and awkwardly. Tynion, Martinez, Fernandez and the rest of the team are making Azrael a unique piece of the Bat-family puzzle and building a world for him that adequately tests the rest of the team. This is a top notch story from A-list creatives, and we only have to wait 2 weeks for more. Hop on the Detective Comics train, it’s a great ride.

The Verdict: 10/10

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