Comics Review: Batman- Detective Comics # 2

Tony Daniel has brought his A-game to the table here and, following up on last month's cliff-hanger, he doesn't let the momentum slow down for even a second.

Written and drawn by Tony S. DanielPublished by DC Comics$2.99In stores now! The true success of DC's New 52 was never going to be judged based on the strength- commercially and critically speaking- of it's debut issues. If for nothing else but curiosity, those brand new number ones were always going to do gangbusters sales wise. The real test of DC's bold venture comes now, as we enter month two of the DCnU, and we begin to get a better idea of both the direction of the universe as a whole as well as how many readers decide to stick with titles or, alternatively, start dropping books that they decide they're not interested in. DC is no doubt nervous but, if this second issue of Detective Comics is anything to go by, then they should rest easy. For the most part, DC have picked the right people for the right books and that, as they say, is half the work. I'm actually surprised by how much I'm enjoying this new volume of 'Tec as, like I said last month, Tony Daniel had failed to impress me with his writing stint on a pre-DCnU Batman. However, being handed the keys to an all-new volume of 'Tec Comics has clearly revitalised Daniel as he's brought his A-game to the table here and, following up on last month's cliff-hanger, he doesn't let the momentum slow down for even a second. In this second chapter we get introduced to Bruce's new love interest, Charlotte Rivers, while the threat of The Dollmaker takes a surprising turn, ending the issue on another stunning cliff-hanger. Regardless of how events conclude, you really can't escape the feeling that anything could happen in this new universe, and the whole thing feels like a breath of fresh air. This Bruce Wayne makes mistakes, letting his guard down and allowing himself to be overwhelmed by enemies. He's a far cry from Morrison's recent portrayal, which almost veered towards Batman being invincible at times, and it arguably makes for a far more compelling, certainly more human, take on the character. The art continues to impress, with Daniel being aided by Ryan Winn and Sandu Florea on inks as well as Tomeu Morey on colours, who all help give this book a look and feel that is distinct from Daniel's previous Bat-work. His previous style of drawing Bruce made him look like the most built man alive, with a bulky weight to him akin to a pumped-up Gorilla, but thankfully his new take on Bruce is far leaner and more realistic in his physique, helping add to the grounded, grittier tone. By choosing to focus on a smaller cast than the other Bat-books Daniel has been able to hone in on the best of the Batman mythos, and it's arguably a lot more character driven than a lot of The New 52. My only real complaint is that, in the grand scheme of things, it's uncertain when this book is taking place, meaning I don't know how to feel about certain plot developments- as Scott Snyder's Batman and Peter J. Tomasi's Batman and Robin give me the impression that some of these plot developments could already be irrelevant, which dampens the effect of them somewhat. That being said, this is still an excellent book and one which I'll certainly be sticking with for the foreseeable future.

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Dean likes words. He also likes pictures. One day he would like to combine them to make a beautiful picture-word baby. Follow him @deanthreadgold for daily updates on all things comic book related (and some things unrelated).