Review: Detective Comics #30 by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato


Detective Comics #30

Writing and art by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato


The short of it:

It’s just another night in Gotham. Gangbangers hanging out in Chinatown, laying low for some vague reason, with a room full of hungry and abused kids. One of the guys wants to do some Icarus, and they feed the kids and then all get high…and then The Bat busts in, kicks the crap out of all of them, and saves the kids. One of the thugs, Jonny, dives out the window and winds up getting picked up by some bikers who aren’t overly fond of him, what with him and his boys ripping them off. So now they’re on the run from Batman, because Holter (the biker) wants to punish him personally Bats goes after them, and stops the biker buddies, but Holter gets away with Jonny, and Batman gets a knife in his armor.

Then Bruce is at a Motocross event with these two women that first showed up on page one, a mother and daughter where the daughter is the rider, and the mother is the manager Annette, the daughter, goes out to ride for the crowd and…I don’t know what words to use to describe motocross, but it looks great, but Elena (the mom) is talking to Bruce as they watch. She wants to convince him, and Wayne Enterprises, to redevelop an awful part of town and help save the people who are in it, as opposed to booting them out and bringing in better ones. Bruce is impressed, but she isn’t from Gotham, and he can’t fathom why she would care. Because six years ago she watched a younger Bruce Wayne give a speech about Gotham City being transformative, and she was inspired to do more.

Bruce buys the waterfront, and not everyone is happy. A congressman on the take from gangs, for instance, who would rather the area be redeveloped into a license to print money. Back on the East End, Johnny is with his brother, The Squid, who proceeds to feed a guy…to a squid. Back in the cave, Bruce and Alfred discuss Bruce’s working relationship with Elena, while Bruce works on Damian’s bike, and the conversation shifts to Bruce still mourning his son. The alarms go off and…well, lets just say that someone tries to run to the Manor for help, but winds up a burnt corpse on Bruce’s door step.


What I liked:

  • This book is gorgeous. I mean, it’s…this book is gorgeous. I wondered how well they would translate to Batman after their spectacular run on Flash, but this book is just a visual thrillride. Love. It.

  • It’s the same visual style they brought to Flash, only adapted to Batman. We don’t have the crazy super panels of Barry thinking at super speed, but we do have some of the most extraordinary Batman panels in years.

  • The idea that Elena proposes to Bruce, the one that he buys the waterfront property because of, that was an idea I dug. Instead of buying up the property to develop and bring in a new class of people, just shoving the current residents out, instead they plan to develop the area and help improve the lives of the people already there, and help make them more prosperous members of society.

  • I also like that it was immediately an issue for a mobster that has a congressman in his pocket.

  • Man, everything in this issue is original. The Aguila women, Squid and Jonny, Icarus (they created it in Flash #25), the congressman, the guy who owns the congressman. I like that a LOT! It puts a unique stamp on the book, not going out of its way to include regular supporting cast members.


What I didn’t like:

  • Alright, so Jonny is with his boys, Batman breaks in and takes out everyone but Jonny, who then gets picked up by bikers…how did he wind up with his brother? And who does his brother kill? I thought it was one of his accomplices, but Batman busted all of them. Was there another one? That one part wasn’t overly clear.
  • I want more and I don’t want to wait a month!


Final thoughts:

With the name of the arc being Icarus, and it being made clear right from the start that it was a drug, I spent the entire issue waiting for someone to burn from the inside out while on it. Glad that I wasn’t disappointed!

I know nothing of Motocross, have no desire to know anything about Motocross, am unsure of why I’m capitalizing Motocross, and will stop thinking about it now.

The dude being dunked in with the squid is one of the coolest splash pages I’ve seen in a bit.

I read two Batman books regularly, this will make three (Eternal will make four), and I keep forgetting that Bruce hasn’t been able to publicly acknowledge that Damian is dead. That’s a special kind of hell, where his son is dead and he has to pretend to the world that everything is alright, and he’s just overseas at some special boarding school. How long can that really work?

Well, really, how long until Damian comes back and that stops being a problem?

What’s in the briefcase?!

For that matter, what is Bruce installing in the bike?

I’ve been hyped for this book since the day it was announced. Francis and Brian made me a fan of Barry Allen, and made that a must read title due to the combination of amazing art and a story that does more than just set up the amazing art. The duo are amazing story tellers when paired together, and their debut here on Detective Comics just reaffirms that. It lived up to all of the hype that I was giving it, and I absolutely loved it.

This book is worth every penny.

Overall: 10/10

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