With Batman’s 80th anniversary taking place throughout 2019 it is only appropriate that one of the ways DC is celebrating it is with the big milestone issue of Detective Comics #1000. The fact that we reached Detective Comics #1000 on Batman’s 80th anniversary is amazing timing. With such a major milestone DC Comics is bringing in some of the biggest creators that have worked on Batman stories in the past. It is a whose, who of creators. There are a total of eleven Batman stories within Detective Comics #1000. How do all these stories celebrate Batman’s 80th anniversary? Let’s find out with Detective Comics #1000.
Writers: Scott Snyder (Longest Case); Kevin Smith (Manufacture For Use); Paul Dini (Legend of Knute Brody); Warren Ellis (The Batman’s Design); Dennis O’Neil (Return To Crime Alley); Christopher Priest (Heretic); Brian Michael Bendis (I Know); Geoff Johns (The Last Crime In Gotham); James Tynion (The Precedent); Tom King (Batman’s Greatest Case); Peter Tomasi (Medieval)
Artists: Greg Capullo (Longest Case); Jim Lee (Manufacture For Use); Dustin Nguyen (Legend of Knute Brody); Becky Cloonan (The Batman’s Design); Steve Epting (Return To Crime Alley); Neil Adams (Heretic); Alex Maleev (I Know); Kelley Jones (The Last Crime In Gotham); Alvaro Martinez-Bueno (The Precedent); Tony Daniel (Batman’s Greatest Case); Joelle Jones (Batman’s Greatest Case); Doug Mahnke (Medieval)
Inkers: Jonathan Glapion (Longest Case); Scott Williams (Manufacture For Use); Derek Fridolfs (Legend of Knute Brody); Raul Fernandez (The Precedent); Jaime Mendoza (Medieval); Doug Mahnke (Medieval)
Colorists: FCO Plascencia (Longest Case); Alex Sinclair (Manufacture For Use); John Kalisz (Legend of Knute Brody); Jordie Bellaire (The Batman’s Design); Elizabeth Breitweiser (Return To Crime Alley); Dave Stewart (Heretic); Michelle Madsen (The Last Crime In Gotham); Brad Anderson (The Precedent); Tomeu Morey (Batman’s Greatest Case); David Baron (Medieval)
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Longest Case Synopsis: Batman sets his sights on ending a case that started when he first started wearing the cape and cowl. Over the years he has found various clues and has been able to cross people of a list of who is behind this mysterious case.
With the most recent clue leading him a specific apartment. There he finds another clue “G-A-L-T-O” on a typewriter. He uses that word to open a secret passage within the apartment.
When he goes inside Batman is shocked to find Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Martian Manthunter, The Question, and others waiting for him. The guy he does not know introduces himself as Detective Slam Bradley. Hawkman reveals that this secret place is the headquarters of the Guild of Detection, whose members work on solving the universe’s greatest unsolved cases.
Batman asks what this is all about. Detective Bradley states that he was led there because of the chase, just like all of them. He then shows Batman one of the books. When Batman opens it he is shocked at how old the unsolved case within the book is. Detective Bradley states this is just the beginning for Batman. End of story.
Manufacture For Use Synopsis: Matches Malone goes to the Gotham Gift Shop and is able to get the owner to show him his special inventory. The owner shows him the special inventory he has contains items from various crimes in Gotham City that aren’t in the GCPD evidence room. The owner goes over all the items from Batman’s various fights with his Rogues Gallery.
A specific gun catches Malone’s interest. The owner reveals that it is the gun used by the guy who killed Thomas and Martha Wayne. Malone gives the owner $1,500 to purchase the gun.
Sometime later, in the Batcave, Bruce melts the gun down and molds it to be the piece of armor that is under his Batman symbol in his costume. End of story
Legend Of Knute Brody: Harley Quinn, Mad Hatter, Penguin, Riddler, Poison Ivy, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum are all asked about Knute Brody. They all remember him as an idiot henchmen that ruined their various plots once Batman arrived on the scene. In each instance Knute got in the villains way, allowing Batman and his allies to catch them or cause their plans to fail.
In the Batcave, Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson, Barbara Gordon and Alfred watch these interviews and joke about how they’ve each had to be Knute at one point or another. Damian appears and shows everyone his Knute Brody Jr. disguise. End of story
The Batman’s Design Synopsis: Batman forces several criminals to crash after escaping the crime they committed. The crash is all part of Batman’s plan to make the criminals run into a warehouse he can execute his plan to take them all out even though he is outnumbered.
Once inside the warehouse Batman methodically makes each criminal step into his traps to make them easy pickings for him. When the last criminal threatens to blow himself up Batman intimidates the guy into handing over the explosives switch. End of story.
Return To Crime Alley Synopsis: At a costume shop a couple random guys steal some masks to use to have “fun.”
At Crime Alley Batman meets Leslie Thompkins for the anniversary of his parents murder. Leslie tells Bruce that rather than using his parents death to fuel a life of charity and altruism he instead he allowed it to consume him and she fears he is using that to mask the fact he is serving out cruelty.
The guys from earlier try to hold Leslie up at gunpoint. Batman quickly takes them all on and brutally knocks them out. Leslie stops Batman from hurting them more since all the guys are already knocked out or injured.
Batman asks Leslie if she is sorry for them. Leslie states she is sorry for Batman. End of story.
Heretic Synopsis: Commissioner Gordon calls Bruce Wayne down to a recent crime scene since the person murdered had a Wayne Enterprise business card on him. Bruce says he doesn’t know the kid.
Later Batman investigates the scene and figures out that the kid that was killed was a warning for him.
In the Batcave Bruce leaves Dick Grayson in charge of protecting Gotham City while he chases after Ra’s Al Ghul, who he believes ordered the League of Assassins to kill.
Sometime later Batman confronts Ra’s in New York City. Batman asks about Tan Lujun, the kid that was murdered. Ra’s says that Tan was someone that was influenced by Bruce to follow his lead in his path. Ra’s then says he did not order Tan’s death but gives him the name of who did.
Later Batman confronts the Heretic group Tan was once a part of. The Heretic blame Bruce for betraying their faith by following Bruce. Batman says he will continue Tan’s work and encourages the Heretic to leave the League of Assassins. End of story.
I Know Synopsis: Some years in the future an old Penguin approaches an old man in a wheelchair and reveals he has known Bruce Wayne was Batman for a long time. He goes on to state that he found out that secret during a meeting held by Joker and Scarecrow, who gathered all of Batman’s villains, to talk about how to take down Batman. While they talked about their best options Penguin realized the only person who could have the money and resources to be Batman is Bruce Wayne.
From there Penguin set in motion a plan to blow up Wayne Manor while Bruce was inside. Before he executed the plan Penguin stopped when he realized if he “killed” Bruce Wayne they would all be dead because Batman wouldn’t have a connection to his humanity anymore.
Penguin tells Bruce, who is the old man in the wheelchair, that before Bruce died he wanted him to know he knew, which means he won. Bruce suddenly tasers Penguin, revealing he can talk and knew that Penguin learned his secret when he did. Penguin is then taken away as Bruce says “good visit.” End of story.
The Last Crime In Gotham Synopsis: Because Arkham Asylum closed, Bane locked up, Duela Dent reforming and Joker getting terminally sick the Bat-Signal hasn’t been turned on in a month.
When the Bat-Signal is suddenly turned on Batman, Robin (Damian Wayne), Catwoman, Echo (Bruce and Selina’s unnamed daughter) and Ace meet Commissioner Gordon at a recent crime scene that took place at a birthday party. The initial clues point to the Holiday Killer returning. Batman finds that Calender Man was one of the people killed and has a Joker smile on his face.
Gordon reveals Joker died last night, much to Batman’s shock. Batman quickly recovers from his shock and discovers a clue that points to this being April Fool, the son of the Joker, doing. Batman then reveals April Fool as one of the dead.
Later Batman reads a letter from April Fool where he states that like his father he was also sick so he decided to say goodbye in the way Joker would’ve wanted to go out.
In the Batcave Bruce blows out his birthday candles. Alfred asks Bruce if he wished for anything. Bruce stays silent. End of story.
The Precedent Synopsis: Alfred talks to Bruce about training Dick Grayson after he learned Bruce’s secret. Bruce is not sure that is the best idea. Alfred reminds him about how he looked after Bruce as a son.
Bruce still hesitates as he doesn’t want to choose the life Dick should lead for him. Alfred states that Bruce is the best to help Dick get closure on his parents death and become a hero forged in light. As they talk we see various looks into the future of Dick’s time as Robin, leading the Teen Titans and becoming Nightwing.
Bruce admits Alfred is right and says this likely won’t be the only time they help an orphan like Dick so they will be setting a precedent by doing this.
Dick appears out of nowhere and states that they can find a way to help the others find a better path in the future together. Dick then states that the precedent was already set with Bruce and they can now show the others how to do things the right way, which causes Bruce to smile.
A little later in the Batcave Batman has Dick make his oath. End of story.
Batman’s Greatest Case Synopsis: On a rooftop Batman gathers Nightwing, Robin (Damian Wayne), Red Hood, Signal, Robin (Tim Drake), Huntress, Batgirl, Batwoman,Orphan, Alfred and Catwoman. While he sets things up for what he gathered them for they all make small talk with each other.
When Batman finishes setting up he gathers everyone in one spot and they take a Batman Family picture together.
Sometime later Bruce visits his parents graves and leaves them a picture of his family. End of story.
Medieval Synopsis: Thinking back to all of Batman’s greatest battles the Arkham Knight thinks of how he was able to watch them all. The Arkham Knight states that now everyone will watch him finally delivering justice to the Batman. End of issue.
The Good: Detective Comics #1000 is a celebration of who Batman is. With such a major milestone issue that is exactly what Detective Comics #1000 should be. By bringing in some of the biggest talents who have written Batman in the past there is something in here for just about everyone. Though that also means certain stories in this issue do not hit it out of the park like most do.
One of the strongest stories in Detective Comics #1000 was Brian Bendis and Alex Maleev “I Know” story. Bendis did an excellent job using the freedom of having his story be a retelling of how old man Penguin discovered Bruce Wayne’s secret as fuel to write the best version of the character. The glee in which Penguin talked to Bruce about how he discovered his secret and the reason he never killed him made how he got his comeuppance by the end even sweeter.
That is all wonderfully drawn by Maleev, who is at home bringing this grounded story to life. He especially did a great job making the old man Penguin come across as menacing and out of his mind at the same time.
This story by Bendis also brought to light an interesting thought of the importance of Bruce Wayne to the Batman mythos. While many write Bruce as the mask Batman wears Bendis spotlights how that is not the entire truth. Without Bruce Wayne, Batman would not have a sense of humanity to tie his more violent urges from fully taking over.
That is something we saw explored in a few different stories. This specifically came up in Dennis O’Neil and Steve Epting’s “Return To Crime Alley” story. Going back and reading this story again after Bendis’ story worked as a great compliment as we get a look at what happens when Batman does not hold back when he is fully triggered. Leslie Thompkins calling Bruce out on how he used his trauma to become more violent and stopping him from doing worse things to the criminals had weight because it was Leslie. The terror in this scene was complimented well by Epting. He put over both the ultra violence Batman unleashed and Leslie’s own sympathies for Bruce and the criminals.
When it came to setting the tone for this issue Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo started Detective Comics #1000 on a strong note with “The Longest Case.” Keeping to a case that’s been bothering Batman for a long time because he has been unable to solve it was a solid way to start this issue. It allowed Capullo to tell the story Snyder set up through his artwork. It made the surprise even more compelling because it did feel like we were learning about what was really going on along with Batman. The ending of the story being the revelation that Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Martian Manhunter and others are part of a secret Guild of Detection is an intriguing concept that I hope is explored more in the future.
On a different note, Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen “Legend of Knute Brody” was a fun story that felt completely odd at first but had a great pay off with the final page. This is the type of story that the reader can just enjoy and feel satisfied because it is all about the payoff. Learning that Bruce set up this identity that he, Dick Grayson, Barbara Gordon and Alfred have used to defeat their enemies by infiltrating their ranks was a pure joy. Having it end with Damian showing up as Knute Brody Jr. was the right note to end things. And in an an issue filled with exploring Batman’s psyche “Legend of Knute Brody” was a nice break to just enjoy a solid Batman story.
Personally, my favorite story was James Tynion and Alvaro Martinez-Bueno “The Precedent” story. This flashback story did a great job not only defining the role of Robin but also the importance of Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson’s relationship. We see how thanks to Bruce that Dick was able to go down a different path because he was able to get closure to his parents death. That is something Bruce wasn’t able to do. But because of what Bruce experienced he was able to learn and ensure Dick was able to gain all of his skills without the burden that Bendis and O’Neil explored in their Batman stories.
With “Batman’s Greatest Case” Tom King does a great building off his current run where we are seeing everything in Batman’s life be teared down. This extremely rare family photo that was a feel good moment. It does put into question what King’s endgame will be because this could easily be what it is given how somehow everyone in the Batman Family is being affected by King’s story. Tony Daniel was the right artist for this segment as he has a good grasp of the Batman Family’s current look having drawn many of the modern day adventures.
For “Manufacture For Use” Kevin Smith’s made good use of Bruce’s feelings for his parents murder. To see that he still held a sense of fear in seeing the gun used for his parents murder added to Bruce’s backstory. That made Bruce melting the gun down and making it the metal piece that he uses as protection behind his Batsymbol was a good payoff.
As for Warren Ellis’ “The Batman Design” worked to put over how Batman’s ultimate weapon is his preparation. There is no beating Batman when he is able to get you in a pre-prepared plan to take down his enemy. With the structure of the story Becky Cloonan took the spotlight. Her artwork for this got over how beating Batman was a hopeless thing. Cloonan did a great job putting over how intimidating Batman was when he stopped the final criminal in blowing himself up.
In terms of importance Peter Tomasi did a good job showing all of the major battles Batman has to show what his legacy is. This story was purely set-up material that built up what the Arkham Knight’s motives are in taking down the legend that is Batman. I’m very interested to see how Arkham Knight plans to take down Batman in comparison to how Bane is doing it over in King’s series.
The Bad: There were only two stories in Detective Comics #1000 that did not hit in the way the others did was Geoff Johns “The Last Crime In Gotham” and Christopher Priest “Heretic.” With Johns story, he did not do an effective job in putting over how this adventure lived up to the name of the story. Not having Batman and Catwoman’s daughter be named Huntress was also an odd choice since that is the iconic version of Helena Wayne.
It was also tough to actually see that there was passage in time since Batman and Catwoman’s daughter looks to be at least in her teens and Damian looked to be in his early 20s. It made the fact that this seemed to all be a dream come across as a questionable way for Johns to end his story.
Priest’s “Heretic” story was just a victim of not having enough time to develop. With a small page count Priest was not able to draw all the connections he needed to make it a compelling narrative. The way it ended felt like one of those Batman stories we will never see the conclusion of since we don’t have much of a connection to the people Batman confronted that were tied to the League of Assassins.
With how much Detective Comics #1000 is supposed to be a celebration of Batman not having a story by Grant Morrison was noticeable. Afterall, Morrison defined who Batman was during the period between Infinite Crisis and Flashpoint. Not having Morrison tell even a short Batman story came across as a missed opportunity.
Overall: Detective Comics #1000 is a very good celebration as Batman’s most iconic comic book reaches a major milestone issue. Thanks to an extremely talented line-up of writers, artists, inkers and colorists there are many standout stories in which Batman fans will find great enjoyment from. This is very much a must have issue for anyone that is a Batman fan.
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