With so many comic books on the market to read I’ve fallen behind on reading Detective Comics. While I have not caught up with the events of this comic book I could not pass up on a Batman comic written by Tom Taylor. Tom Taylor is one of my favorite current comic book writers. His work on Injustice and DCeased have earned my trust and interest in anything he is writing. And with Taylor writing one of my favorite comic book characters in Batman there was no way I wouldn’t pick up Detective Comics #1017. Will this Batman story match the quality of Taylor’s other DC Comics work? Let’s find out with Detective Comics #1017.
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Fernando Blanco
Colorist: John Kalisz
Story Rating: 10 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Martha Wayne finds her son up in a tree. Bruce tells his mom he does not want to visit the orphanage because the kids there make him sad. Martha says she also feels sad seeing the orphans. She then explains that because of that feeling it is important to give back to does that have very little. Martha goes on to say that it is their job to show all the kids that they are worth caring.
Hearing his mother’s caring words inspires Bruce to attend the opening of the Martha Wayne Orphanage with his parents.
In the present an teen escapes from the Martha Wayne Orphanage late at night.
Over in the Batcave Lucius Fox checks up on Batman, addressing him as Bruce. Batman tells Lucius about an explosive a group of former Black Mask gang members have placed somewhere in Gotham City.
Lucius tells Bruce that he can come back some other time since he is busy. Batman asks Lucius what he needs. Lucius reveals that the previous night a teen named Miguel Flores ran away from the Martha Wayne Orphanage, making it the third run away from the orphanage.
Batman says he will investigate what is going on while he is out on patrol. Lucius tells Bruce that because this is his mother’s orphanage it would be more effective if Bruce visit the place without sneaking in darkness.
Taking Lucius advice, Bruce visits the Martha Wayne Orphanage the next morning. Bruce brings an ice cream truck along with new art and science supplies for the kids. Mr. Morrison, the person running the orphanage, thanks Bruce for his new donations but says they may not have enough room for what he brought for the kids. Bruce says then he will invest in expanding the orphanage’s space.
A little later Bruce meets Mr. Morrison in his office. Bruce immediately asks about Miguel. Mr. Morrison says that it is hard for the teenagers at the orphanage as it is tough for them to believe they will be adopted. He goes on to state that Miguel in particular has had anger management issues.
Bruce looks at the security footage from when Miguel ran away and can see that Miguel was scared.
Later that night Batman meets up with Robin, who is shocked to have his father contact him. Batman apologizes for being hard to reach lately. Robin says Batman has retreated so far into his anger he has been more of a brood than man.
Batman quickly changes subjects to Miguel being a runaway. Robin wonders why Batman would be invested in Miguel’s case since he doesn’t even know him. Robin then tells Batman to forget what he said. Batman apologizes to Robin because of how he has put his full attention into Gotham City but believes there is a scared kid that needs their help who could freeze to death.
Robin now understands why Batman called him so the kid isn’t scared of a giant bat. Robin then says it is concerning that Batman has an orphanage of potential Robins at his disposal.
Over the next two weeks Robin spends time looking for any information on Miguel’s whereabouts all over Gotham City.
As Robin does that, Batman fights members of Black Mask’s gang until he finally tracks down the explosive planted somewhere in Gotham City. He quickly works to disable the bomb.
After searching for two weeks Robin finally finds Miguel passed out in the middle of the street as the snow storm picks up.
Batman shows up quickly in the Batmobile. Robin suggest calling an ambulance but Batman says that it would be to slow. Batman places Miguel in the Batmobile and Robin joins him as he is concerned about the kid.
In the Batmobile Miguel apologizes for runaway. He goes on to explain he ran away because he did not want to be another kid that just disappeared like so many at the orphanage that weren’t adopted. Batman and Robin try to keep Miguel talking but he eventually passes out.
Batman and Robin are able to get Miguel to the hospital while he still has a pulse. The doctors work quickly to revive Miguel but are unsuccessful as he passes away much to Batman and Robin’s deep sadness.
Sometime later Lucius finds Bruce in his Batman gear hitting a punching bag over and over again. Batman says that there was no foul play found from the records.
As he talks about his findings Bruce realizes something and tells Lucius to wake Damian up. Lucius says the Batmobile is ready for them but Bruce says that is not the car they will be driving.
Later that day Bruce and Damian march into Martha Wayne Orphanage and directly walk into Mr. Morrison’s office. Bruce starts talking about the detailed documents Mr. Morrison has on the children but they aren’t detailed on every kid. Police sirens are heard outside much to Mr. Morrison’s shock. Damian tells his father the police have arrived.
Bruce reveals that while many children had detailed records by Mr. Morrison there were also those children that had zero records making it look like they did not exist. Mr. Morrison grows concern and reveals that there were people who paid a lot of money and made threats that he could not say no to. Bruce immediately slaps Mr. Morrison in the face before he can say anything more.
As the police arrive to arrest Mr. Morrison, Damian asks his father if he knows he is not wearing his Batman costume at the moment. Bruce says it is not Batman’s name on the building it is the Wayne’s, their name. Bruce goes on to tell Damian that he is responsible for these children and will make sure to track down all the missing children.
Damian and Lucius are very proud to hear this. Bruce then promises to be more involved and make sure all the kids at the orphanage know they’re worth something.
Two months later Bruce, Damian and Lucius attend the opening a new building to the Martha Wayne Orphanage that has been named “The Miguel Flores, He Saves Lives.” End of issue.
The Good: Delivering a story that makes an incredible impact on a reader does not mean that it has to involve a world or universe ending event. The best stories are able to create a connection between the reader and the content. That is exactly what Tom Taylor accomplishes with his work on Detective Comics #1017.
One of the things that make Detective Comics #1047 a great read is that you can easily jump in and read this issue without much knowledge of the current Batman continuity. Taylor tells a very focused story that gives the reader all the information they need within this issue. That includes the role that Lucius Fox plays as Bruce Wayne’s confidant. Taylor works in Lucius history to make his role distinct to who Batman fans know the character to be as part of the franchise’s supporting cast. Even then it is kept simple in as Lucius, along with Damian Wayne’s, roles are made clear during the course of Detective Comics #1017.
At the same time for fans who are up on current events Taylor gave us enough hints at what 2020 will look like for Batman. Lucius taking on Alfred’s role showed a lot of potential with how he can be a different kind of voice that Bruce needs at this point in his life. Lucius being part of Wayne Enterprise at every level in the company understands Bruce in a different way from Alfred. Lucius can specifically speak to the business’ Wayne Enterprise is involved in that Bruce largely ignores. Which is something that Taylor brings up with the Martha Wayne Orphanage featured in Detective Comics #1017.
Opening Detective Comics #1017 with a flashback to why the Martha Wayne Orphanage is so important was a great move by Taylor. It set the stage for why Bruce Wayne would take such a personal interest in this case. The kids like Miguel Flores disappearing are happening under his watch in the place that has the name of his deceased mother on the building. The flashback plays into how personal this case is as Martha’s words is something that Bruce continues to remember even now.
This case also helps to bring up how Bruce has dived even deeper into the life of being Batman after Alfred’s death in City of Bane. Alfred’s death is an event that would leave Bruce deeply hurt. Especially in the way Alfred’s death went down Bruce retreating under the cowl is not surprising to learn from both Lucius and Damian Wayne. Its both understandable and unhealthy for the character.
Which brings us to how Taylor uses Damian to enhance the story. At no point does Damian come across as a brat. Instead Taylor takes the care in Damian’s dialogue to show us how it comes from a son worried about his father’s current state of mind. Even when Damian shows his jealousy for what he thinks the kids at the Martha Wayne Orphanage represent, it does not come from a malicious place. It is just another level of concern that Damian has for his father, who has allowed himself to dive deeper into the life of being Batman.
Bruce coming to understand where Damian was coming from further helped make this scene between father and son standout even more. Bruce’s eyes were clearly opened by his sons words about how he has handled Alfred’s death, even though Alfred’s name wasn’t spoken. At the same time, Bruce giving Damian the mission of finding Miguel speaks to how he still feels like being Batman full-time is the best thing to do.
The montage of Batman taking out Black Mask’s gang and Robin looking for Miguel over a two week span helped elevate the story. There was a strong sense of time passing in this montage. Over the course of all these scenes we get how both Batman and Robin are changed by the case they are on.
Robin in particular is shown to grow over the course of the montage from someone jealous of the kids at the orphanage to caring deeply for Miguel’s well being. Seeing how Robin tells his father that he will come with him to the hospital showed important this search became for him. It made the payoff of seeing both Batman and Robin in the hospital as the doctors are unable to save Miguel have a greater impact on us as the reader.
Which led to an even greater payoff of Bruce coming to realize that to solve this case of the missing kids Batman was not the one that was needed. This case was one only Bruce Wayne can solve. Bruce telling that Lucius was a good way to show how Lucius’ words earlier in Detective Comics #1017 ended up playing the biggest role in this story.
Even though Bruce is still in the healing process in the aftermath of Alfred’s death it was good to see how he is starting to see how important working without the cape and cowl is. Showing that to Damian by getting involved in his mother’s orphanage once again was a great way to wrap this story up. Seeing both of them together further emphasized how this became a personal story for Bruce and Damian as part of the Wayne Family. It gave greater hope to see Bruce and Damian interacting with each other more because there is clearly a lot of untapped potential in their relationship as father and son that still exists.
Fernando Blanco and John Kalisz provided Detective Comics #1017 with phenomenal artwork throughout this issue. The best part of the artwork was how Blanco and Kalisz were able to get over the tone that Taylor was seeking for this story. In particular, the artwork helps to elevate the current state of mind Bruce Wayne is in. All of Bruce’s interactions with Lucius, Damian and others are made better by how Blanco draws each character’s reactions that match the dialogue.
Throughout this issue we see how Bruce has retreated to being Batman. Blanco and Kalisz show that with how rare it was to see Bruce not wearing his Batman costume until the end. Even when he is in the Batcave alone training or letting out anger he is in his Batman costume. While we’ve seen this before from Bruce, this time around it felt unique to the story’s tone because of how Blanco drew and Kalisz colored the scenes.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Detective Comics #1017 is absolutely a must have comic book for every Batman fan. Tom Taylor, Fernando Blanco and John Kalisz combine to give us a comic book that shows there is a phenomenal story to tell around every corner of Gotham City. The interactions between Bruce Wayne, Damian Wayne and Lucius Fox in particular standout as special during the course of this deeply personal story. Make sure to do yourselves a favor and pick up Detective Comics #1017 immediately.
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