Tuesday, December 21, 2010

COMIC: Top of the Stack - Detective Comics #871 (Review)

Written by Scott Snyder
Pencils by Jock
Cover by Jock

Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99

The week of Thanksgiving may have been one of the best weeks for comic books in recent memory that I can remember. The zero issue to the new ongoing Batwoman series, the series finale of Madame Xanadu, an issue of Thor: The Mighty Avenger, and the last issue of the Star Wars: Blood Ties mini-series were just some of the fantastic books to come out during the week but the debut issue of writer Scott Snyder, and artist Jock on Detective Comics blew me away with the quality in its pages and made it an easy pick for the top of the stack.

Snyder comes from the popular Vertigo comic series he created, American Vampire, and steps up to the plate as the main writer of Detective Comics after initially agreeing to be the scribe of the second feature - a story focused on Commissioner Gordon - that is at the back of the issue after the main story written by Snyder.

There are murders happening in Gotham using material that was once the Gotham PD evidence, including connections to Killer Croc, Mad Hatter and possibly Poison Ivy, all orchestrated by the "Dealer". Dick Grayson is on the case and readers are presented with his inner dialogue throughout the issue, something that hasn't truly been explored so far during his time as Batman and Snyder portrays Dick and Commissioner Gordon - the other main character in the story - perfectly. And then in the second feature Snyder creates a story in a completely different tone, a sense of suspense is built in only a short amount of pages making the Commissioner Gordon backup story something worth looking forward to just as much as the main Detective Comics story.

Jock's art is a perfect match for the tone of the story, creating a serious atmosphere with touches of darkness without plunging the book in the grim style that once plagued the Bat books. The cover is a stellar example of Jock's masterful strokes between simplicity and design, creating a stark contrast between Batman, the bats and the rest of the cover. And there is also consideration given to the prior art style on the book, making the transition to a new art team much smoother than expected.

The future is bright for Detective Comics. Despite the new territory the Bat books are exploring, DC has found the perfect team to continue the great quality expected from one of its longest running titles. As a Dick Grayson fan I will be the first to admit that it is hard to find writers that write him well, but Snyder seems to have found Dick's voice in his first try and I look forward to reading a book that was not on my radar anymore.

Check out Geek Plate's Tumblr for today's Detective Comics themed picspam.

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