Just like the Batman series, Detective Comics is entering a new era as Ram V and Rafael Albuquerque take over as the new creative team. With how many changes Batman and Gotham City as a whole have been through in recent years what can Ram V and Albuquerque bring to the table? Let’s find out with Detective Comics #1062
Writers: Ram V (Gotham Nocturne: Overture); Simon Spurrier (Jim Gordon: The Coda)
Artists: Rafael Albuquerque (Gotham Nocturne: Overture); Dani (Jim Gordon: The Coda)
Colorists: Dave Stewart (Gotham Nocturne: Overture & Jim Gordon: The Coda)
At a Gotham City Theater, Bruce Wayne is shown missing a performance to Lauriga that he was invited to as a VIP guest.
Elsewhere in Gotham City, Batman takes out a smuggling ring in 22 seconds, 4 seconds more than he thought it would take. Bruno Maroni suddenly appears and transforms into a monster form. The monstrous Maroni overpowers Batman.
Talia Al Ghul suddenly appears and warns Bruce that someone is targeting him. Talia then leaves to let Batman finish dealing with the monstrous Maroni.
Later in the middle of the night, Bruce runs a physical test on himself to find out if there is something wrong with him given his slower performance earlier.
While running the tests Bruce contacts Nightwing about what happened with Bruno Maroni. After some banter back-and-forth, Dick Grayson says he’ll keep an eye out on anything like the smuggling ring Bruce ran into happening in Bludhaven.
Bruce then begins analyzing one of the items that was smuggled into Gotham City with his computer.
Elsewhere, in The Orgham Palace, a man named Arzen Orgham is reminded by his mother that he has one year to rebuild their family legacy. Arzen’s mother assigns two guards named Shavhod and Neang to assist Arzen in Gotham City and orders them to join Gael, who is already in the city preparing for their arrival.
In the Water District of Gotham City, Gael kills the people he hired to smuggle items. Gael then orders his gang to clean things up and get ready for Arzen’s arrival.
Back at Bruce’s place, Barbatos the Bat-God speaks to Bruce through his dreams.
Bruce wakes up drenched in sweat to the smuggled item opening, revealed to be a music box. End of the main story.
Detective Comics #1062 is not the normal start we get from a new creative team. This first chapter that Ram V and Rafael Albuquerque kick things off with comes across as both layered but confusing at the same time. There is a sense of being in the dark about what is going on from the very beginning. Which does appear to be the goal of this, especially considering the ending that we got to the start of Gotham Nocturne.
One of the big things that does work in the storytelling that Ram V and Albuquerque implement is how they begin exploring Bruce Wayne’s age actually catching up to him. While they stay away from talking about his exact age it is clearly a topic they want to tackle. This is shown by how Bruce tests himself while on patrol as Batman, finding out it took him four seconds more than it took him in his prime to take down a smuggling ring. Seeing how unacceptable this is to Bruce establishes where he is physically at the moment.
This exploration of Bruce’s physical and mental state makes the interactions he has with Talia Al Gul and Dick Grayson work even better. We see through these two interactions that while he recognizes that he is slowing down he is in denial that this is not something that he should see as his new normal. The intense physical testing he does shows this. It sets up a personal arc for Bruce to go through whatever threats he is going to face as Batman in this storyline. Which is a great way to have Bruce Wayne, the person behind the mask, as an emphasis in this series beyond the superhero adventures.
Talia Al Ghul’s sudden appearance also worked to give a sense of mystery behind what is about to go down in Gotham City. Talia pointing out that Bruce is not ready for what is to come gives more credibility to this story thanks to what we’ve seen her go through in recent months. It was a short but impactful character appearance that hopefully means we will see Talia appear as part of the cast for this Detective Comics run.
What doesn’t work as well is the whole mystery around the Orgham Family that we are introduced to in this issue. The presentation of the Orgham Family is off the entire time they are on screen. The way they are portrayed through Ram V’s writing comes across as we should already know who they are. If they have appeared in Batman comic books before I did not recognize them and it did take me out of this portion of Detective Comics #1062. The only thing we have to go on these characters being a big-time threat Batman will have difficulty dealing with is Albuquerque’s design for Arzen’s mom, the Orgham Family patriarch.
The Orgham Family portrayal also impacted the whole reveal that Barbatos is possibly involved with what is going on with Bruce Wayne. While Barbatos has been a massive Multiverse-level threat in the past even this just seems to come out of nowhere. That out-of-nowhere presentation is what Ram V seems to be going with. But because of what we saw with Orgham Family before this sudden reveal it just did not work as intended.
The backup story by Simon Spurrier and Dani just did not work for me. The entire pacing of the story Jim Gordon was involved with felt off the entire time. I just never got invested in whatever arc this is supposed to set up for Jim Gordon. It didn’t help that the artwork made Jim Gordon appear as an old grandpa rather than a guy in his 50s as he has been portrayed in modern Batman comics.
There are some intriguing ideas behind the main story in Detective Comics #1062 that could add new layers to Bruce Wayne’s character. Unfortunately, the overall presentation of the story left a lot to be desired. The antagonists of this story were a big swing and miss. With how many Batman comic books are currently being published this new creative run for Detective Comics did not get to a strong enough start to stand out from the pack.
Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10