DETECTIVE COMICS #1027/ Written by MATT FRACTION, BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS, PETER J. TOMASI, GRANT MORRISON, DAN JURGENS, MARIKO TAMAKI, GREG RUCKA, SCOTT SNYDER, MARV WOLFMAN, JAMES TYNION IV, KELLY SUE DECONNICK & TOM KING/ Art by BRAD WALKER, DAVID MARQUEZ, CHIP ZDARSKY, EDUARDO RISSO, RILEY ROSSMO, JOHN ROMITA JR., EMANUELA LUPPACHINO, CHRIS BURNHAM, WALTER SIMONSON, IVAN REIS, DAN JURGENS & DAN MORA / Inks by ANDREW HENNESSY, DAVID MARQUEZ, CHIP ZDARSKY, EDUARDO RISSO, RILEY ROSSMO, KLAUS JANSON, BILL SINEKIEWICZ, CHRIS BURNHAM, WALTER SIMONSON, JOE PRADO, DAN MORA & KEVIN NOWLAN/ Colors by NATHAN FAIRBAIRN, ALEJANDRO SANCHEZ, CHIP ZDARSKY, EDUARDO RISSO, IVAN PLASCENCIA, ARIF PRIANTO, JORDIE BELLAIRE, LAURA MARTIN, MARCELO MAIOLO, HI-FI, & TAMRA BONVILLAIN/ Letters by ROB LEIGH, JOSHUA REED, ADITYA BIDIKAR, TOM NAPOLITANO, ANDWORLD DESIGN, TROY PETERI, CARLOS MANGUAL, STEVE WANDS & JOHN WORKMAN/ Published by DC COMICS
The strength of Detective Comics #1027 is also its weakness. It is the same benefit and drawback which plagues most anthology comics; there’s a wide variety of material on-hand and something that is bound to please everyone, regardless of what sort of Batman comics you enjoy and which creators you are fans of. Conversely, there’s bound to be at least one story in this volume that just won’t be your cup of tea for one reason or another.
Case in point. There is one story by Grant Morrison that is, like many Grant Morrison stories, more of a meta commentary on comics rather than a straight-forward story. If you like that sort of thing, you’ll probably like “Detective #26”, which tells the story of a private eye who, desperate to stand out amid the common clay of unshaven, hard-drinking, two-fisted detectives populating Gotham City, decides to become a masked mystery man. It’s also a pretty effective parody of Will Eisner’s The Spirit, for what that’s worth and Chris Burnham and Nathan Fairbairn do a fine job of mimicking that style But I know a lot of people who can’t stand it when Grant Morrison gets philosophical and fair play to them.
The same can be said of Tom King’s story, which won’t win over anyone who found his lengthy run on Batman insufferable. Personally, I’m not too fond of it because it assumes the reader knows who Doctor Phosphorous is and doesn’t do anything to explain anything about the character. I could also personally have done without Brian Michael Bendis’ “The Master Class,” which I’m sure will set the teeth of anyone who finds his trademark way of writing dialogue irritating, with a story involving seven heroes at a crime scene and I defy you to tell me which character is which based purely on the dialogue, as all of them sound exactly the same.
Of course, the stories I enjoyed might not sit well with some readers. My personal favorite was “Ghost Story,” a Deadman/Batman team-up by James Tynion IV and Riley Rossmo that finds Batman being called in to deal with a villain that Deadman can’t face. I also enjoyed the dark comedy of “Many Happy Returns,” – a Matt Fraction/Chip Zdarsky story about how The Joker celebrates Batman’s birthday.
Two stories deserve mention as they set up Batman’s future, amid this comic paying tribute to his past. One, “Generations Fractured,” is a set-up for the upcoming Generations event and Dan Jurgens does a fine job with the writing and art on it, with an assist from Kevin Nowlan. The final chapter, “A Gift,” serves as a coda to the Joker War event and hints at bad days coming for Bruce Wayne.
If you’re a Bat-fan of any stripe or a fan of any of the creators on the lengthy list above, this book is worth the rather hefty price tag. Just be warned that it might not be as collectible as you may hope and be warned that not everything within may be to your liking.