Review: Detective Comics #3 by Tony Daniel
by RJ Schwabe on November 4, 2011

The main problem with any Batman comic these days is that the bar has been set so high. Batman is the franchise. Batman is the flagship. Batman is the book that every creator has a specific take on. That’s just the way that it is in 2011.

Tony Daniel’s current run on Detective Comics is not very exciting. But he was charged with the idea of restarting Detective Comics with an issue #1, and he took on the task of creating a new villain for Batman. This is rather difficult, as there are already 70+ years of existing Batman stories, so finding a villain that has a unique in the Gotham City is not easy. And he to do a good job drawing the comic as well.

This is not letting him off the hook. There is little that I look forward to reading about with the current Detective Comics run. I mean it’s almost easier to read a book that is truly bad, whereas this one is simply average with too much horror and gore for a Batman comic (in my own damn opinion).

But let’s see what he does with issue #3.

Detective Comics #3: Cold Blood

Publisher: DC Comics
Written and Drawn by Tony Salivador Daniel
Cover Price: $2.99
Review: Digital Copy (from Comixology)

In the last issue, we got to finally meet the villain that was promised in issue #1, The Dollmaker, who apparently has the ability to stitch different parts of people together. The Joker has escaped from Arkham Asylum, leaving behind his face that was taken off by the Dollmaker. At the end of the issue, both Batman and Commissioner Gordon are drawn into a trap, where Batman sees a dollmaker creation of Jim Gordon.

Synopsis

  • Batman has to fight off the Dollmakers minions, after one of them stabs him with a needle. He escapes leaving Gordon behind, and taking one of the Dollmaker’s minions with him.
  • Gordon is confronted in a cell by Olivia, the girl who was abducted by the Joker and later The Dollmaker. She offers to get a message to the Batman.
  • Batman works over the overly flexible minion to try to get information, but eventually realizes the Dollmaker’s identity as Barton Mathis, the son of the man that Gordon arrested years ago.
  • Olivia turns on the Bat Signal to get Batman to come to her, and she tells him where to find Commissioner Gordon, but she is working with Dollmaker.
  • Knowing it’s a trap, Batman enters Gotham Mercy Hospital where he is attacked by multiple Dollmaker creations of The Joker.

Questions and Answers

A. Olivia is either a member of the Dollmaker’s family, or has decided to join the Dollmaker’s Family.

Q: The Dollmaker has taken something from Gordon that required him to be stitched back up.

Analysis

This feels like an issue that is solely designed to extend the plot an extra issue, as if the creators are preparing this for a six issue trade paperback collection. There was no need to have Batman escape from The Dollmaker, just to have him be captured again by the same villain at the end of the issue. This was totally pointless and worthless, and really insulting.

And why isn’t Batman able to defeat the Dollmaker’s family at the beginning of the issue. I can accept that they are tougher than certain villains for him, but the story doesn’t tell me how they are besting him. This is the superhero that has been trained by the best fighters in the world, has studied multiple forms of marital arts. So why are these freaks able to best him, even with being stabbed by some unknown drug?

The oldest trick in the book is, “show, don’t tell”. Now I give credit here, that Tony Daniel had Batman get stabbed with a needle between issues. But I’m reading this story, and I’m going, I don’t remember Batman getting stabbed in the previous issue. To make this a serious plot point, is pretty amateurish.

I really liked how Batman said, “Let’s go, Sunshine.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s not really in character for Batman to say this, but it’s such an interesting thing for him to say.

Okay, I could tell that Olivia was trying to force the information out of Gordon, and I appreciate that Gordon could see right through it.

Now, with that said, Batman recognizes that it’s a trap, and yet to the best of my knowledge as a comic book reader, he does NOTHING different. He doesn’t take a different approach to the building. He doesn’t prepare any differently. He just walks into the trap, and gets beaten down. Not even, “I know it’s a trap, but I have to rescue Gordon. I’ll spring it and hope for the best.” Nothing. This is not the Batman that I know.

Much credit should be given to Tony Daniel for creating a very good visual for The Dollmaker. It’s not easy to just create a new villain, and especially one that works in the Gotham City/Batman environment. It’s a solid job. I don’t think much of the character so far, but the image of the baddie is very creepy and compelling.

I’m sorry the identity of The Dollmaker is really thrown in as a total add-on. Yes, Batman has always had a great database of villain and villain activity. And it makes sense that he would be able to recognize this. But it really seems added to the story way too easily.

(Okay, I reviewed issue #2 and found that the Dollmaker’s father was actually mentioned there. So to a degree it’s my fault, but it was a little bit thrown in in issue 2. But my mistake for thinking it was just an add-on in this issue, as Daniel did set it up in the previous issue. )

Charlotte Rivers is really almost too pushy in this story. I find it really wrong that Bruce/Batman would really find her attractive and interesting. I like the tete-a-tete between her and Bullock, but it still is almost too pushy. When a character seems pushier than Lois Lane, it’s bothersome. And it really seems like an easy character type to put her into.

The backwards R is a nice touch, reminds me of Robin, even if it isn’t intentional.

The visual of Batman facing multiple Jokers is a decent cliffhanger, interesting pull in, but once again it’s not really effective enough following the stringing along that was happening in this issue.

Verdict

Really, it’s no worse than the previous issue of Detective Comics, but I really dislike being strung along. There’s just no reason for it, when you are supposedly trying to change how people read comics. So, it’s no worse than the previous issue, but the stringing along insulted me enough to drop my rating from last month.

In a weird way, I’d probably give it a better rating if it was worse, just because it would feel like Daniels was trying better.

3.5 – Same as the Below Average Crap as last Month



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