Batman: Dark Detective #1 Review

Reviewed by: Mathan “New #1? I’m So There” Erhardt
Story Title: Some Enchanted Evening

Written by: Steve Englehart
Penciled by: Marshall Rogers
Inked by: Terry Austin
Lettered by: John Workman
Colored by: Chris Chuckry
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Editor Eternally Emeritus: Julie Schwartz
Publisher: DC Comics

The issue begins with a familiar Bat-foe consulting an old friend. Then we find Batman testing hotel security, as a precaution for a Gubernatorial candidate. Later Bruce makes the rounds at the party supporting Evan Gregory for Governor.

As Gregory takes the microphone, he introduces his fiance Silver St. Cloud, who also happens to be Bruce Wayne’s ex. Bruce flashes back to his last encounter with Silver and the time he almost revealed his identity to her.

Bruce and Silver share an awkward “ex” moment. Just as Evan and Bruce meet, a red-garbed character takes the microphone and reveals himself to be the Joker. He proceeds to extort those in attendance of their votes and money in return for their lives. He even jolts Gregory with his patented joy buzzer gimmick.

Batman arrives on the scene and the two engage in an “old school” battle, from a time before Batman was an immaculate planner. The battle ends up on an elevator, where the Joker makes a dramatic escape. Batman returns to check on Gregory’s well-being and some of the victims of The Joker’s escapes.

The issue ends with a familiar Bat-foe swearing, “the Joker’s must die!”

Englehart has transported Batman back to a simpler time. It’s clearly written in a “Pre Batman: Year One” voice where thought balloons were still the norm. It’s peppered with current pop culture references, but clearly harkens back to his original run with the character, complete with some “soap opera” elements.

Rogers and Austin haven’t missed a step in the years past. Their Bruce Wayne is debonair and their Batman is a sleek fighting machine, but not really a grim vigilante. They also capture the menacing insanity of The Joker, without resorting to sheer brutality. And those partygoers are completely terrified.