A beautiful and electrifying issue for Batman’s both old and new.

“As much as I appreciate what you’ve done for me, allowing me into your world. I cannot forget what I am.”

Rebirth was a jumping off point for many of DC’s characters. Their latest revamp set out to blend the modern cast of the New 52 with the classic, rich history that proceeded it. It worked! While fresh writers were getting to explore new frontiers some DC veterans were finally getting the kind of titles they deserved. James Tynion IV, a protege of Scott Snyder’s for years, often was writing the actual scripts while Snyder provided the story.  But with this current run Tynion has come out of that looming shadow. Utilizing every theme Rebirth has emphasized he’s managed to turn this legendary series into more than some archaic serial strip. It’s a brilliant tale about family, sacrifice and duty that ambitiously separates itself from the rest of today’s comic shelves.

Detective Comics #962

Where to start? The beginning, of course.

DC wanted to use classic memories from their comic past so that Rebirth could speak to as many fans as possible. In his current arc, “Intelligence,” Tynion brings 90’s Batfake Azrael and his angelic heritage to center stage along with Bruce and his more-than-capable comrades. With references to some of Azrael and Batman’s shining moments, Tynion deftly reminds us of the beginning of this other vessel of vengeance.

Azrael began in these very pages as he was first introduced in the critically acclaimed Knightfall series by Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan. He was an extreme replacement for an injured Batman and had a reputation for going too far. Now we find him crippled and scarred, fragile when out of his famous and remarkably updated suit. Thanks to an excellent script even a tragic story can shine light elsewhere.

The Angel dons his armor and becomes the Bat.

Azrael’s Batman seeks to stop his brother’s rampage by showing him the pain and horror caused by it. But can a God learn compassion? As the two cherubic children battle it out, the science fiction-inspired story unfolds with some fun and surprising turns. Each character has a clear role and is put to good use. We even get an emotional cherry to top off this current arc thanks to an endearing revelation for Bruce. With emotional and heart-pounding heights an action-packed issue becomes something truly special. Tynion’s endearing cast continues to draw attention to his work.

Cassandra Cain, Batwoman, and Clayface, each of these characters have fallen into mediocrity in the hands of lesser writers, but under Tynion they’re more vibrant and lively than ever.

Alvaro Martinez’s pencils do wonders with Azrael and his brother Ascalon. They’re fight is a kaleidoscope of amazing costumes and thrilling action. DC heavyweight Brad Anderson once again shows off his talents with inspired color work.

The artwork transitions between dream sequences and a terrifying reality and features masterful character designs and paneling. The creative team use every line and shadow to conjure high octane action with intimate drama. Together with inker Raul Fernandez, Martinez and colorist Anderson are creating some of the most eye-catching comic art available today.

The Verdict

With James Tynion IV, the entire Batfamily is in good hands. From several issues of the New 52 Batman run to the Batman and Robin Eternal series, James has crafted stories exciting and dull. The first issue of his Detective Comics run makes it clear he was doing something unique. He’s managed to introduce new and wonderful interpretations of Tim Drake, Cassandra Cain, and Clayface. Using Batman’s best, but forgotten sidekicks and acquaintances, Tynion has made effective use of comic history. He makes mundane characters magnificent, and gives them much-needed growth. Concluding the Intelligence arc, Tynion neatly finishes his captivating story with hints of what is yet to come. With a simple exploration of some good ole science fiction James Tynion IV brings former Batman Azrael into DC’s echelon of interesting and fully-developed characters.

 

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Comic Book Review: Detective Comics #962
Pros
  • Great Use of Batfamily
  • Intriguing Story and Villain
  • Crisp and Spectacular Visuals
Cons
  • The Finite Number of Pages
10Overall Score
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)
9.2