(Francis Manapul / Brian Buccellato / DC Comics)
After battling inconsistency since the New 52 relaunch, Detective Comics has finally found its footing under the guidance of collaborators Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato. Their street-level storytelling not only sees “The World’s Greatest Detective” brought back to his roots (and doing actual detective work), but also has allowed them to infuse the plot with topical story elements. There was some worry that the current “Anarky” storyline would once more tackle the outdated “1% vs. 99%” headlines. While that remains a part of the overall plot, it handled with more nuance than expected, giving way to other relevant issues such as cyber-crime and police accountability.
On a macro-level, Detective Comics #38 succeeds in differentiating itself from the publisher’s other Bat-offerings. The increased focus on Harvey Bullock and his unit add to the hard-boiled ambiance. Not since Gotham Central has a Batman title given as much attention to the members of the GCPD. More importantly, the creative team is not afraid to make reading a Batman comic fun. This is largely due to Manapul’s stunning layouts and use of ink-washes, while Buccellato’s varied palette of cool blues and greys enable the occasional warmth of orange and yellow hues to pop off the page. Their art alone is worth the price of admission.
Note: This review was originally published at ComicsBulletin.com