Even though Dini has employed the continual one-shot method in Detective Comics, The Revolution has enjoyed his run on this title. It appears that Detective Comics #825 sports a guest writer in Royal McGraw and guest artists in Marcos Marz and Luciana Del Negro. I am not familiar with any of these individuals so I have absolutely no idea if Detective Comics #825 is going to be a good read or not. Let’s find out
Writer: Royal McGraw
Penciler: Marco Marz
Inker: Luciana Del Negro
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We start at Cadmus Laboratories where two scientists have Alex Sartorius aka Dr. Phosphorus containment unit that keeps him sedated and uses his energy to create a near endless supply of clean energy. The one scientist says he was the nuclear technician in charge of the tax evasion scam that turned Sartorius into this monster. The scientist sole Dr. Phosphorous’ life savings then and now he is going to make billions off the technology patent on using Dr. Phosphorous’ freak physiology to make limitless clean energy.
Suddenly, the power goes out in the lab and Dr. Phosphorous breaks free of the containment unit. Dr. Phosphorous kills the scientist who was bragging about scamming him.
We cut to Commissioner Gordon and Batman investigating the crime scene at Cadmus Labs. Batman realizes that Dr. Phosphorous is back.
We shift to the Gotham Medical Plaza. The other scientist that survived Dr. Phosphorous’ attack is getting medical treatment. He discusses what happened with a man named Dr. Bell. Dr. Bell freaks out at the news that Dr. Phosphorous has escaped. Dr. Bell runs to the roof of the building where he crosses paths with the Batman. Dr. Bell tells Batman that there were three men, Dr. Church (Who got killed in the beginning of this issue), Rupert Thorne and Dr. Bell who convinced Alex Sartorius to invest his savings in the power plant that exploded and turned him into Dr. Phosphorus.
Suddenly, Dr. Phosphorus appears and he and Batman start brawling. Dr. Phosphorus manages to throw the Batman off the roof. Dr. Phosphorus then attacks Dr. Bell. By the time that Batman gets back to the roof, Dr. Phosphorus is gone and Dr. Bell is dead.
We shift to the Batcave where Batman is doing research on Dr. Phosphorus. Alfred is less than pleased to hear that Dr. Phosphorus is alive. Alfred leaves to get a bicarbonate of soda to help settle his stomach. The news of Dr. Phosphorus on the loose makes him queasy. Batman then gets an idea on how to stop Dr. Phosphorus.
We cut to Blackgate Penitentiary where Commissioner Gordon is in Thorne’s cell along with an armed guard to protect Thorne from Dr. Phosphorus. Suddenly, Dr. Phosphorus busts onto the scene and takes out the guard. Batman arrives on the scene before Dr. Phosphorus can attack Thorne. Batman throws his homemade baking soda bombs at Dr. Phosphorus. Baking Soda is a bicarbonate of soda. Sodium bicarbonate is a well known for its fire retardant properties and specifically for the suppression of oxidizing white phosphorus like our good Dr. Phosphorus. Dr. Phosphorus is rendered powerless enabling Batman to lay a beat down on him. Dr. Phosphorus is carted off to a containment facility.
We shift back to Wayne Manor where Alfred and Bruce share a light hearted funny ending to the story. End of issue.
The Good: I’m surprised. Detective Comics #825 was an entertaining read. I didn’t expect a comic as good as this. McGraw did a nice job in delivering a solid little story. Detective Comics #825 was well paced and had a good flow. This was a rather action packed one-shot issue. McGraw’s dialogue isn’t anything incredible, but it is certainly more than serviceable.
Detective Comics #825 is bit of a throw back to the older style Batman stories. Batman faces some wacky and bizarre villain that is much more powerful than him. Batman goes back to the Batcave to do some serious research on the villain. Alfred then unwittingly gives Batman his clue on how to defeat the villain via a conversation unrelated to the villain. Batman then devises his specially designed weapon and takes down the villain. I remember seeing this same formula in many one-shot issues when I was a kid. It is also the same formula used in the Batman TV show. It is standard, but a solid formula to fall back on when you are a guest writer and are given just a stand alone issue to write.
What really impressed me with Detective Comics #825 was the art. This was a flat out great looking comic book! Marco Marz and Luciana Del Negro do an excellent job with the art. Dr. Phosphorous practically leaps off the page at the reader. This is one vividly dynamic looking villain. And Marz and Del Negro serve up an excellent looking Batman. Marz and Del Negro create a wonderfully textured look and also capture the dark world of Batman without making it look too dreary. Marz also does a good job with the panel layouts. There is a nice variety of layouts from page to page. Plus, Marz changes up the point of view so that the reader gets to see the action from numerous angles.
I hope that Marz and Del Negro get more work at DC. They are very talented and create some wonderful art. I know of a few DC titles that could use an art upgrade. I would love to see Marz and Del Negro handle the art duties for Nightwing.
The Bad: I have no read complaints with the story per se. This was a well done issue on both the story and art. My complaint is more of a general complaint directed to the title as a whole. It is no secret that I just don’t like one-shot issues. I can tolerate them if they only occur every once in a while. However, getting a series of nothing but one-shot issues over a course of five issues is simply way too much for me to handle. That many one-shots in a row gives the reader the impression that the title is stuck in neutral. That the writer isn’t building toward any greater purpose or direction. I hate that feeling. It makes me feel like I’m wasting my time reading the title. I hope that Dini has something more long term in mind for Detective Comics when he comes back to this title other than an endless amount of one-shot issues.
Overall: Detective Comics #825 is an enjoyable read. The writing is slightly above average and the art is fantastic. For a one-shot issue sporting a fill-in writer and fill-in artists, this issue was much better than I would have ever imagined.