Detective Comics # 781 Review

Reviewer: Chris Delloiacono
Story Title: Dead Reckoning: Part 5

Written by: Ed Brubaker
Penciled by: Tommy Castillo
Inked by: Wade von Grawbadger
Colored by: Jason Wright
Lettered by: Todd Klein
Editor: Bob Schreck
Publisher: DC Comics

To put it simply, Ed Brubaker is writing some awesome Batman material! I’m not sure if Dead Reckoning is better than the Hush storyline, currently running in BATMAN, but it’s damn close! In a few years, we will look back on this time period, and regard the Batman titles with great adoration.

Dead Reckoning has followed Batman’s hunt for the killer of several rogues, including The Penguin and The Mad Hatter. Are they gone for good? I’d say no, this is a comic book after all, but the plots have been well executed. While the entire storyline has been a slow burn, Brubaker did give enough tidbits along the way to keep my interest. Paul Sloan, a local actor, worked with several members of Batman’s rogues gallery eight years ago, but ended up paying a heavy price for his impersonation of Two-Face. Sloan’s revenge scheme against his former “partners” has been the onus for the arc.

Answers are finally coming as to the why behind Paul Sloan’s actions, thanks to the most recent confrontation between The Joker and Batman. The two archenemies face off outside of The Slab, in an unusual meeting for the pair. Yes, the Joker attempts to kill Bats several times, but overall he is very amenable to the questions “asked” by the Dark Knight. Of course, there is a reason, and this too helps to propel the plotline forward. I can’t wait for the next issue, to see just where Brubaker’s taking us!

Tommy Castillo’s art is nothing short of brilliant. The tone is perfect, and captures the depravity of the Joker as well as anyone could. I especially like the style he has used to draw most of the villains throughout this arc! Lending the rogues a look very reminiscent of Batman: The Animated Series, especially in the flashbacks. This lends whimsy to the characters, and even harkens back a bit, at least for me, to the Golden or Silver Age.