Detective Comics #808 Review

Reviewer: Tim Stevens
Story Title: The New Face

Written by: David Lapham
Pencilled by: Ramon Bachs
Inked by: Nathan Massengill
Colored by: Jason Wright
Lettered by: Jared K Fletcher
Editor: Bob Schreck
Publisher: DC Comics

Backup Strory

Written by: Andersen Gabrych
Pencilled by: Tommy Castillo
Inked by: Nathan Massengill
Colored by: Jason Wright
Lettered by: Nick J. Napolitano

I’m going to mess around with things a bit here and start with the backup story. It is okay, not bad. On par with Gabrych’s fill-in work on Batman last week. In fact, it is so on par with it, I think it would have made more sense to include it in that issue. It explores the same issue, Croc’s vendetta with Black Mask. It is written by the same guy. Is it drawn by the same artist? Well, I’m too lazy to check, but the style certainly isn’t radically different than the art from last week’s Batman. In essence, what DC has done here is created a story that started in Batman as the lead/only story and continued in Detective as a backup. That just strikes me as odd.

Eh. Onto the main story.

Lapham should be a natural for Batman. Everything suggests that he would. However, after reading the backup story he did that was a prequel to this arc (wow…I guess DC does do that from time to time) and the first issue of this arc, it seemed to me that, through some cosmic irony, it wasn’t a good choice after all. So I dropped. I came back to the story with this issue.

I don’t regret my earlier decision at all.

Lapham’s overarching theme, Gotham as the enemy, is intriguing (and sort of kind of echoed by Jason Todd over in Winick’s Batman), but the delivery is just so…blah.

Robin takes center stage in this issue and it is not a bad choice. Lapham writes a good Tim Drake. Oddly enough, however, Bachs otherwise strong work is undone by this. His Robin just doesn’t look very good, Tim’s face seems almost…waxy.

Batman is around, but undercover. Of course, having not read the previous 6 installments, it took me a bit to realize that. I can’t decide if that is a good or bad thing. When I went back to read the issue again, knowing it was Batman didn’t change my enjoyment of the book one way or another. So, I guess, maybe it is a non-thing?

Overall, there’s nothing specifically bad about the book. It just lacks spark or energy. The work here is serviceable. I’m just tired of trying to be satisfied with “serviceable.” I’m happy to say that I think I’ll stick by my initial choice and not continue with this story.