Tag Team Review: Detective Comics #854

Aris Iliopoulos: A lot of good books this week!
Brian Knippenberg: Big week!
AI: Yeah
BK: So, Detective Comics #854 is what has brought us here
today?
AI: Yes, yes, YES!, great comic.
BK: Truly a work where art and writing come together and
make some magic!
AI: Magic is the right word. Im going to say it. I like Batman more now then ever.
BK: Go for it
AI: This issue really packed it all in. Rucka did a wonderful job. Pulls you right in.
BK: It worked like Batman & Robin #1 did. Not heavy on the
exposition, but you learned about everything you needed to know without
halting the flow of the story.
AI: I had absolutely no interest in Batwoman prior to reading
this.


BK: You get a sense of the characters, who they are and
what they mean to each other and the set-up, right away!
AI: And think you also get a tone for the book too.
BK: Absolutely!
AI: The open sequence of her roughing up the mark. And even using some sexuality.
AI: That was cool.
AI: And of course Bats. All in shadow.
AI: That was great.
BK: An interesting sequence…Batwoman is tough, but the
moment she tells the skel that she won’t let anything happen to him, it
lulls him into a false sense of security and he spills.
AI: Great characterization.
BK: And since Batman’s not the focus, it was appropriate
to be in the shadows, keeping Batwoman in the forefront.
AI: It worked well. I loved the transitions. Batwoman obviously can’t keep a relationship.
BK: Find a hero who can who isn’t married!
AI: Bruce did it well..and Tony Stark.
BK: But never for long…
AI: I mean at least using them to effect. Chicks for show. That counts don’t it?
AI: I liked the set up with the Step-father.
BK: Kate is trying to build up her normal life again, but
she’s drawn to her caped identity which acts as her armor, when she
truly comes alive.
AI: And how Rucka is using the Bible if Crime stuff.
BK: And again, he explains the religion of crime enough so
that if you’re a new reader you can pick up on it rather quickly.
AI: Right.
BK: So, it works for the reader…
AI: And then it moves right into a confrontation with Alice. Heavily inspired by the Suicide Girls I suppose.
BK: Yes…hopefully Alice will say more than just lines
from “Alice In Wonderland”, though. That can get old quickly!
BK: But, I trust Rucka.

AI: That’s what she was saying? I was lost.
BK: yep.
AI: Oh Brian your so smart.
BK: Gee-Whiz, Professor!
AI: Curious that Rucka got them face to face so soon. I don’t mind. But usually you get a taste from a distance. And let it build.
BK: I don’t mind either, but I think the “Alice” arc is
only meant to be 4 issues worth.
AI: I think that would be my only crit.
BK: There’s probably more we’re not seeing which will soon
unfold….especially why they are so interested in Batwoman!
AI: Right. I want to learn more about this “Religion of Crime”.
BK: Loved the last line though…”Whatever.”
AI: Yeah. The whole script was awesome.
BK: I agree…a winner from Greg Rucka!
AI: Epic Win.
BK: Truly.
AI: The art was very pretty. I wasn’t the biggest J.H. Williams fan. But now I am. Not only was the actual drawing on another level.
BK: I’ve enjoyed J.H. Williams for a while now, but I
gotta say, this has got to be his best work yet.
AI: But the panel designs and layouts were fantastic. I love the different stylistic approaches to Batwoman in the costume vs out the costume.
BK: The 2-page spread, at the beginning, with the
lightning jagged edges…the art deco apartment with every nook and
cranny laid out…
AI: Yeah. You can tell he’s really thinking it out.
BK: Yes, from Batwoman, to Kate working out, to Kate
dressed up meeting her soon-to-be-ex…all different, yet reflective of
the same character.


AI: I love the watercolor wash effect on her in costume. It adds a nice element to the story. Like its darker and dirtier.
BK: Whenever she’s Batwoman, the panels are jagged and
intense, while the Kate scenes are normal grid layouts.
AI: And the colors are flatter. Nice touch you don’t normally see in comics.
BK: The wash effect works, especially aginst the pale skin
and intense red hair.
BK: yes.
AI: I love it. So what’s the verdict?
AI: I think it was great.
BK: Another thing I liked. Batwoman is almost always
grinning, which is a thing you wouldn’t expect a Gotham Crimefighter to
sport, but it’s unnerving!
BK: It was fantastic! Looking forward to more!
AI: Yeah. I hope people give it a shot. DC is really doing it with second tier characters.
BK: As well they should, they have a wealth of characters
to draw from!
AI: You have the Bat-books, Mon-el in the Super books, Action too. Secret Six, REBELS.
BK: All great stuff!
AI: Books coming out like Doom Patrol and Metal Men
AI: I think people asked for companies to take chances. Now DC is.
BK: With insanely great talent behind these books!
AI: And the quality is off the chains.
BK: Darn tootin’!


AI: I highly recommend this issue. What Rucka and Williams have is lightning in a bottle.
BK: May it last for a long time!
AI: Ill keep buying.
AI: Before we get to  the Question. We have to talk about the elephant in the room.
BK: Sure, what’s up?
BK: uh-oh!
AI: I read on Facebook some people think DC is supporting some
“gay agenda” by publishing Batwoman in the lead? That’s just stupid. Reading that, and comments about McDuffie’s JLA.
BK: I didn’t know that, but that IS ridiculous.
AI: What the hell is wrong with people?
BK: Some people just want to pick a fight to grab
attention. All in the name of having the superior opinion or
mindset.
AI: I think theres so much closeted resentment and people just
needed an outlet.
AI: Anyway, it’s a non-issue.Her sexuality is an element of her character.
BK: True, it’s comics, not the race to cure Lupus.
AI: Just like Supes marriage to Lois is part of his.
BK: Right, exactly.
AI: Whatever…I just thought I’d get it out of the way.
BK: By all means…
AI: I also loved the Question. The co-feature thing may be a blessing.
AI: Especially if they are this quality.
BK: If they’re making you pay more, they might as well
back it up with the goods!
AI: And this was. Rucka pulls you in very quickly again.
BK: As well he should, just jump into the case.
AI: It just shows these writers can get stories started much
quicker then they have for the last few years. Its nice to see.
BK: Also, I’m glad they’re getting away from the Religion
of Crime stuff related to her and the Final Crisis stuff related to her
and getting it closer to more of like what Dennis O’Neil had going.
AI: I agree.
BK: Question, helping people.
AI: I like that she gets there, gets the story and is on the
move. And in a few pages we have a cliffhanger
BK: Right, never letting up. Great pacing.


AI: The art was great here too. Worlds apart stylistically from Williams.
BK: Cully Hamner’s a wiz!
AI: Crisp clean lines. And bright colors.
BK: Yes…but it works for the Question!
AI: Perfectly. Cully really does nice establishing shots. Gives you a nice flavor.
BK: At first I didn’t like the colors, but after reading
it a second time on it’s own, I”ve changed my mind.
AI: Nice touches with ethnicitites and unique characters. No two people look alike.
AI: I Love Laura Martin. Its so clean. That’s my preference.
BK: I agree. I liked how the Question has herself spray-painted on
walls with her website info.
AI: No pointless special effects.
BK: Simple, yet dynamic.
AI: So we like it.
BK: The whole issue’s a slam-dunk!
AI: All in all Detective Comics was great.
AI: Better then before?
BK: Highly recommended.
BK: I liked Dini’s stuff, but this is how I’d rather read
Detective Comics.
AI: Me too. Great.
BK: Awesome!
AI: You know what bummed me out this week?
BK: What’s that?
AI: Hercules. I love the book.


BK: Uh-Oh.
BK: But…?
AI: But this issue wasn’t up to the usually goodness Pak and
Van Lente bring. It didn’t work, im surprised you haven’t read it.
BK: They might be spreading themselves too thin with other
titles. BK: Hercules? Trade-Wait. I’m broke as a joke and my son stole my smokes.
BK: *sob*
AI: Hah!
BK: I’m catching up though…
AI: So until next week then.
BK: So far, it’s been great.
AI: See you on the internets.
BK: Yes, next week! Another exciting week!
BK: Till then!

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