For the past two months, Detective Comics has been used to feed the “Death Of the Family” story-arc, and, unlike other titles, managed to do so in a very original way. Instead of directly following the story, readers of Detective Comics were treated to their own Joker related sub-plot. The past two issues focused on how the Joker’s return impacted the lives of petty criminals and everyday thugs. To summarize these issues, Gotham is now being over-run by Joker inspired gangs. This story was told very well last month and it was good to hear about the Joker and not actually see him. This month’s story was supposed to wrap up the Joker-gang idea and allow something new to happen for issue #18. It did that, but in a very anti-climactic manor.
After a story as menacing as the return of the Joker, nothing seemed threatening or worthy of Batman’s time. The biggest Joker-gang, The League Of Smiles, was nothing more than a group of psychos playing dress-up. Red Robin or Damian could easily have taken care of this group which means Batman was waisting his time. If The League Of Smiles was really such a big threat, then the GCPD would already have them behind bars. The Merrymaker was introduced to readers briefly in the last issue and was expanded upon in this month’s story. He was just as threatening as the group of wannabes that he led. Again, no match for Batman.
The ending of the main story was incredibly corny and had me feeling like I had just watched an episode of Scooby Doo. After scaling a hospital, smashing through a window and knocking-out the villain with one punch, Batman decides to sit down and have a nice talk. After ripping off the Merrymaker’s mask and exclaiming “Dr. Meredith!” (as if that wasn’t Scooby enough for you), he starts to explain how the doctor faked his own death and became the Merrymaker. After it was all over I half expected Batman to drive away in the Mystery Machine. Bottom line: Batman shouldn’t be all too talkative.
The best part of the comic was easily it’s artwork. Every page looked better than the last and I have to give full credit to artist Jason Fabok. He has done a great job with the other Detective Comics and does not disappoint.
March’s issue will most likely focus on The Emperor Penguin and already looks better than anything The League Of Smiles could offer. Hopefully by then the Batman will be a little more quiet and mysterious.
This issue gets a 2.5 (out of 5). While not being terrible, it wasn’t a “wow” either. Any positive remarks towards the issue are mostly for it’s great art. Hopefully next month’s shows readers a more serious and less “Scooby Doo” Batman.
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