Detective Comics #828 Review

The Revolution has enjoyed Dini’s run on Detective Comics despite the fact that we just aren’t big fans of the continual one-shot formula. The main reason is because Dini delivers technically sound plots at a good pace combined with well developed characters. I’m sure that Detective Comics #828 is going to be another solid read. Let’s hit this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Paul Dini
Penciler: Don Kramer
Inker: Wayne Faucher

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with The Riddler showing up at Bruce’s masquerade party for a museum’s annual fundraiser being held on Bruce’s yacht. Bruce is slightly annoyed with having to put up with The Riddler. We see Bruce’s friend Matthew who clearly has had one too many drinks. Suddenly, Bruce hears a cry for help. Matthew has fallen overboard.

Bruce dives into the water. He sees Matthew’s motionless body already surrounded by several sharks. Bruce calls for his Bat-sub from the bottom of his yacht in order to help him fend off the sharks and make a quick escape.

Bruce pulls Matthew into the Bat-sub, but unfortunately, Matthew is dead. Bruce pulls a fragment of something out of Matthew’s arm. We cut to Bruce and Alfred in the Batcave. Bruce is watching a news report. The Riddler tells the reporter that he has examined the accident scene thoroughly and can confidently say there was no evidence of foul play. That Matthew Atkins had been drinking heavily and too a nasty tumble and the sharks did the rest.

Bruce scoffs at The Riddler’s poor detective work. Bruce is sad to lose Matthew who was a childhood friend. That Matthew’s parents were close friends with Bruce’s parents. Bruce tells Alfred that Matthew’s passing cuts away another link to his parents. Plus, Matthew was one of the few friends that Bruce has.

Alfred inquires how Bruce would categorize those other caped heroes whom he associates with on a regular basis. Bruce responds that there is a difference between friends and allies. Or family in case of Alfred and Dick and Tim.

Bruce comments that Matthew’s death is too neat. That Matthew was having money problems. Yet, recently, Matthew seemed flush with cash. Matthew had been hired by the Natural History Museum as an art consultant. Matthew had also formed a steady relationship with the Museum’s P.R. Director, Helen Iverson.

Bruce also points out the shark bites. They are from a Mako shark. Yet, the sharks that Bruce saw swimming around Matthew were Blue sharks and Hammerhead sharks. And Mako’s are rare around Gotham. Plus, Bruce pulled a spine from a porcupine fish out of Matthew’s arm, but there are no such fish on coast of Gotham.

We cut to Batman investigating the Museum. Batman thinks how Matthew was a real ladies man until he met Helen Iverson. Bruce is also suspicious about Matthew’s money. That museum consultants don’t make that much money. Batman investigates Matthew’s desk. The museum houses a vast collection of antiquities and only a fraction of it is ever on display to the public.

Batman realizes that Matthew was stealing off-exhibit pieces that are kept in storage and rarely seen and selling them on the black market. Matthew was replacing the stolen pieces with fakes. Matthew could sell the artifacts, but he needed someone to make the fakes. Batman deduces that that person was Simon Brooks who works in the restoration section of the museum.

Suddenly, Batman hears a scream. Batman heads to another part of the museum and sees The Riddler knocked out. Batman then is attacked by a man in a Kiribati Island warrior costume. The two brawl with each other. The thug begins to get the upper hand on Batman. The Riddler regains consciousness. He grabs a bow and arrow from a display and lights the arrow on fire and shoots the man in the Kiribati Island warrior costume. Batman extinguishes the flames and then the Riddler punches out the costumed man.

The Riddler chuckles over the fact that the Batman saved his hide and then the Riddler saved the Batman’s hide. The Riddler asked Batman if the “shark bites” tipped off Batman to the costumed thug they caught. Batman replies that the cut wounds were too straight to be made from shark teeth. That Matthew’s body was cut and thrown into the water and the blood attracted the sharks.

Plus, the mysterious spine from the porcupine fish that Batman found in Matthew’s arm tipped Batman to the man that they just captured being at the costume party dressed as a Kiribati Island warrior with a helmet made from dried porcupine fish.

Batman then grabs the spear that the thug had been using and throws it at a shadowy figure that had snuck onto the scene carrying a gun. It is Helen Iverson. Iverson kept Museum officials in the dark while Matthew looted the museum pieces. Then Simon Brooks would make the fakes.

That Simon Brooks is the man in the Kiribati Island warrior outfit and is also Matthew’s killer. Evidently, Matthew threatened to blackmail Helen and Simon unless they gave him a bigger cut of the profits. Batman then heads out of the museum and leaves The Riddler to play the role of the glory hound and to deal with the police and media.

The Good: Detective Comics #828 was another great read. Dini is doing an excellent job on this title. Dini possess an incredible feel for Batman’s personality and delivers one of my favorite versions of Batman. Dini’s Batman isn’t an outrageous asshole like what Frank Miller gives us over on All-Star Batman, however Dini’s Batman isn’t warm and fuzzy like Robinson’s Batman in the One Year Later storyline.

Dini gives the reader a Batman who is clearly haunted by his childhood trauma. Dini’s Batman is incredibly focused and driven and lacks a real sense of humor. Dini gives Batman the exact external voice he is supposed to have. His sentences are short and direct. Dini’s Batman is a very no-nonsense character.

I also dig that Dini doesn’t give us a totally paranoid Batman with regards to his fellow heroes, but it is very clear that Batman hold them at arm’s length. Dini does a great job showing how Batman delineates the difference between a friend and an ally.

I think this is the perfect way to describe how Batman views his fellow costumed heroes. I don’t believe that Batman would hate them, but I definitely think that Batman would never consider them friends. His fellow costumed heroes are simply high powered tools just like any other gadget that Batman possesses in his arsenal that he uses in his war against crime.

I also like how Dini gives the reader a Batman that is actually quite sad and isolated. Batman’s statement concerning his family that consists of Alfred, Dick and Tim really highlights how small of a group of people that Bruce has close to him. And that Bruce’s circle of friends is rapidly shrinking and is practically non-existent.

Bruce is a tragic character that becomes more and more isolated as time passes. You can easily see how Bruce could easily end up turning into the Batman that we get in the “Darknight Returns.” And DC has hinted that the “Darknight Returns” is now considered to be sort of in continuity after what we got over in the Justice League of America.

I love the chemistry between The Riddler and The Batman. Dini is doing an excellent job with these two characters and how they deal with each other. You can tell that The Riddler, even in his desire to leave his life of crime behind him, has certainly not buried his grudge against the Batman. And, Batman is clearly annoyed by The Riddler each and every time he sees The Riddler whether in person or on TV. This new role that Dini has created for The Riddler is pure genius. This new role has made The Riddler a much more interesting and entertaining character.

Dini has also done an excellent job returning Detective Comics to what it is supposed to be all about: mysteries and detective work. Detective Comics isn’t supposed to be a bunch of metahuman villains engaged in mindless brawls with Batman. This comic is supposed to be about strange murder mysteries that occur in the dark of the night in the creepy city of Gotham.

Dini has returned Batman to his detective roots by showing to the reader that Batman is much more than the world’s greatest hand to hand fighter. That Batman is the world’s greatest detective and that is his greatest ability.

Don Kramer’s artwork is fantastic. Kramer’s style is perfect for this title. And Kramer draws a great Batman. I really dig how Kramer delivers a dark old school style Batman. Kramer also is able to convey plenty of emotion is his artwork.

The Bad: I’m still not crazy about the eternal one-shot format that Dini is employing on this title. I will admit that the one-shot format makes Detective Comics extremely new reader friendly and offers a nice alternative to your average comic book that employs multi-issue story arcs.

Overall: Detective Comics #828 was another fine read. Dini and Kramer are an excellent team and they are consistently delivering an entertaining comic book each and every month. If you like murder mysteries set in the dark and creepy world then you will certainly enjoy this title.

1 thought on “Detective Comics #828 Review

Comments are closed.