Detective Comics #943 Review


Following the events of “Night of the Monster Men” Detective Comics is back on track by following up on Colony’s downfall and the “death” of Tim Drake. With such a long standing DC character and leader within the team that Batman created off the table for a while there are a lot of questions left unanswered. With Gotham City still being a chaotic place that has villains committing crime at just about every corner of the city’s streets Batman and Batwoman’s team still has its work cut out for themselves. Now let’s see if the team can even continue on with the first part of “The Victim Syndicate” in Detective Comics #943.

Writer: James Tynion IV

Artist: Alvaro Martinez

Inkers: Raul Fernandez

Colorist: Brad Anderson

Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: Batwoman meets with Renee Montoya to investigate a crime at Wayne Enterprise. Renee shows Batwoman of the most footage from the lobby’s security cameras.

The footage shows Lucius entering the building while on the phone giving Vicki Vale an interview on how Wayne Enterprise is helping Gotham City’s reconstruction following the recent monster attack. The footage is spliced with an aftermath interview with Lucius and a Wayne Enterprise employee recounting the events to the police.

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They talk about how while still inside the lobby Lucius was confronted by silent group of people. Lucius called for help but when the security arrived one of members of the group raised it hand and the security all died in front of Lucius. The mysterious group’s leader then tells a shocked Lucius “We wish to file an official complaint.”

The footage ends Batwoman asks Renee what the group possibly means by their words. Renee says that after the events of the last few months there are a lot people who wish Batman wasn’t around. She goes on to say that there are people protesting the police fundraiser just because there is a batsignal on the GCPD roof.

Renee then mentions that with all the money there is in Wayne Tower the group didn’t steal anything. Batwoman wonders why Renee didn’t call Batman instead. Renee says because she believes this is about Batwoman because the colors they painted the Batsymbol was red not black.

Batwoman begins to walk away as she mentions how she needs to talk to Batman to further investigate this crime. Renee wonders if something else happened that she doesn’t know about that maybe Batwoman can talk about. Batwoman says she can’t say anything.

At the Belfry’s prison Batman tries to get information about Colony from Jacob Kane. The only information Jacob is willing to give Batman is his military service number. Jacob tells Batman that no matter how hard he tries he won’t be able to get any information from him. Batman pins Jacob against the wall. Jacob smiles and just says “You don’t scare me.” Batman grunts and leaves Jacob locked in his prison cell in the dark.

Batman enters the Belfry’s communication room and calls Batwoman for a report on her findings. On her drive back to the tower Batwoman goes over what she learned from Renee. Batman says he wants to figure out who was behind the attack.

Batman asks about where the team is. Batwoman mentions she sent Orphan and Claygace to the training mud room. She goes on to say she can’t get a hold of Spoiler and says she is worried that they may have lost her after Tim’s death.

Batman mournfully says he doesn’t need a reminder of that as he stares at the case with Tim’s Robin costume in it. Batwoman tells Batman that even with Tim’s death things aren’t changed and they need to talk to Stephanie.

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At Thompkins Free Clinic, Stephanie visits Harper Row while she is working. Stephanie admits she is at a loss as she doesn’t believe they are helping anyone when they all end up in the hospital. Harper reminds Stephanie that if they didn’t stop the monster there would be even more people in the hospital or worse.

Harper then reminds Stephanie that she isn’t the best person to come to if she is looking for someone to remind her why Stephanie should still be a superhero since she recently gave up being Bluebird.

Stephanie starts crying after remembering about Tim. Harper gives Stephanie a hug and says that everything will be okay because everything she and Tim did together still exists.

To further lift Stephanie’s spirits, Harper mentions how Tim was helping her create an electrical infrastructure to provide power for low income neighborhoods. Stephanie wonders how Harper is doing that with all her school and volunteer work.  Harper says a person can get a lot done if they actually sleep normal hours.

Jean-Paul gets Harper’s attention and asks if Stephanie is there to volunteer. Stephanie apologizes and says she was only passing by.

Harper walks Stephanie to another room where Stephanie collapses. Stephanie mentions how she hasn’t slept in a month. She tries to use this as an excuse to bail on the police gala. Harper doesn’t let Stephanie because she needs her there since her brother is having an anime night with his boyfriend. Stephanie agrees to go afterall.

As she is standing up Stehanie stops someone outside. When she turns to look she sees no one there.

In the mud room Orphan and Clayface are finishing up their training against an army of Man-Bats. When they finish Clayface asks Orphan if he did well. Orphan says he did and high five each other.

Confident in his abilities Clayface asks the mud room computer to give him the hardest training mode. The mud room suddenly transforms into a massive version of Clayface which freaks out the real Clayface. Orphan shuts down the mud room and tells Clayface they can turn in for the night.

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Over at Gotham Museum Kate tells Bruce she did not plan on going to the police gala. Bruce tries to say they will only be at the gala for a short time but Kate doesn’t accept that response. Kate tells Bruce that he has to deal with the fallout from Tim’s death. Kate says that she talked to Alfred and knows what Bruce has been up to and that he has been avoiding the team after stopping Colony because they remind of what they lost. She then says that everyone needs help and that the team needs Bruce to talk to them about facing a loss like Tim’s. Bruce gives in and agrees to talk to the team.

As the two head into the gala Kate mentions how they also have to deal with the fact that Tim was the person who knew the Belfry’s technology the best. She suggests they recruit someone with a similar level of Tim’s knowledge. Bruce agrees and says that is why they are at the gala, to Kate’s surprise.

Luke Fox arrives at the gala in his flying car and with two women draped on each arm. Everyone from the press and attendees show their excitement for Luke’s appearance which he eats up. Luke announces that all the drinks at the gala are on him.

Bruce and Kate watch Luke’s appearance from afar. Kate thinks Bruce is joking about recruiting Luke.

Near Luke’s car, Harper is drooling over it with Stephanie trying to get her to keep walking. Cassandra arrives with Clayface. Stephanie tells Clayface that if he wants to have fun he should try to be himself. Clayface agrees and reforms his face to what he it looked like when he was a normal person.

Inside the gala Vicki tries to get answers from Luke about what happened at Wayne Enterprise. Luke says his father is doing fine and wishes he was there. Luke then gets everyone at the gala’s attention to announce that for the last year he has been looking into a way to solve Gotham’s problems and invites the GCPD to see the nonlethal weapons he has built. Vicki says that sounds a lot like the way Batman does things. Luke agrees and says that they are all lucky to be in the city with the world’s greatest superhero.

Luke asks Bruce if he agrees. Bruce tells Luke they need to talk. Luke wonders if he means him or Batwing. Bruce responds by saying both.

Luke tries to say hi to Kate but she rejects his greetings and drags Bruce to the corner of the museum.

Bruce tells Kate that Luke is one of the smartest technological minds in Gotham City. Kate thinks that’s funny because she only see Luke in the tabloids not the business section. Bruce says they can say the same for Bruce Wayne. Kate still believes Luke isn’t good enough given his history and the reason he is only playing superhero. She goes on to say that Luke is only holding this gala to promote his brand.

Before they can finish their talk an explosion takes place in the middle of the gala’s room.

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The mysterious group that attacked Wayne Enterprise suddenly appear. They announce that they are there to stop Gotham City’s greatest villain, Batman, for destroying their lives. The leader of the group announces their name as The Victim Syndicate. End of issues.

The Good: Whether stated loudly to the public or not there is serious competition within the Batman Family of comic books on who has the best series. We already saw how both Scott Snyder’s All-Star Batman and Tom King’s Batman drawing clear lines in the sand on their claim to that. Not to be outdone James Tynion IV makes it clear with Detective Comics #943 that he is not going to be left out of the conversation of best Batman comic book.

A key difference between Tynion’s Detective Comics from Snyder and King’s comics is that this is not a series focused around what Batman does. He is a no doubt a key player in this book, but it is not just his series. It’s about the members of the team Batman and Batwoman have assembled and seeing how each of their struggles, training and experience level affects their teammates.

That type of reactionary approach was on display with Detective Comics #943 as we get to follow the direct fallout of “Night of the Monster Men” and Tim’s death. Even though it was a crossover story Detective Comics is the only one actually exploring the fallout of “Night of the Monster Men” events. This continuation of the crossover helps keep the flow of what we’ve gotten out of every issue of Detective Comics without feeling as though the crossover was just a stop gap storyline.

Using the “Night of the Monster Men” to bring to light the tension the entire community lives with while in Gotham City it helps ground everything that happened. Because while we can’t relate to having our city attacked by literal monsters we can relate to the unsafe feeling you have after a traumatizing event. And to hear that there are community members protesting the GCPD for what they believe is their role in all that has happened brings in more of what is going on in the real world to Gotham City.

What is going on in the Gotham City community makes Batwoman’s efforts to keep the team she and Batman assembled together even more vital. Tynion does an excellent job making Batwoman the voice of reason in all that has happened. The scenes between Kate and Bruce perfectly highlight how Batwoman is trying to keep the team together. Playing up on the family dynamic that Kate and Bruce share added to the importance of how Kate was trying to get Bruce back in the game following Tim’s death.

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By putting Kate in this truth-warrior position it made her conversation at the end of the issue with Bruce about adding Luke Fox to the team feel more rational. That is credit to Tynion’s writing because it could’ve been easy to write off what Kate was telling Bruce about not bringing Luke into the fold as a joke. But thanks to how Tynion wrote Kate leading up to the police gala her words had more impact on what was going on.

With Kate having to spend so much time bringing Bruce back to his senses I’m glad that Tynion took this as an opportunity to highlight the various relationships that Stephanie, Cassandra and Clayface have. Stephanie specifically got a lot of screen time in Detective Comics #943. Given how close of a relationship she had with Tim and the “Night of the Monster Men” not giving her or us time to see Stephanie’s actually thoughts following Tim’s death this was needed for the character.

This was also a great way to bring Harper Row back into the franchise without having her return as Bluebird. Because as we saw with Batman and Robin: Eternal, Harper and Stephanie have built a strong relationship and it makes sense that one of them would turn to the other for advice. The conversation between the two also did a good job teasing Harper as a possible replacement for Tim since she knew a lot about what he was working on. I wouldn’t mind it if Harper did take over as it could possibly give her an Oracle-esque role while still not forcing the character to return to her Bluebird persona.

As for Stephanie, it was hard seeing how she was taking Tim’s death. Tynion did well in developing how Tim’s death has impacted Stephanie directly. With this version of the character being so early on in her career as Spoiler it’s obvious something traumatic like this would hit her harder than the others. And that is top of how close Stephanie and Tim got before all the things happened with Colony.

With Kate telling Bruce that he needs to be the one that rallies the team together I am looking forward to seeing if that means Bruce will take more of an active role in mentoring the team. Because Stephanie definitely needs someone to help guide her through this tough time in her life and Bruce can be that person.

And continuing on the fallout of “Night of the Monster Men,” I enjoyed how Tynion was able to establish the Victims Syndicate backstory in the events of the crossover. This instantly gives us the motivation of why the members of the Victims Syndicate are going after Batman and his team. Everything about the designs of this group also speaks of being mirrors of Batman’s team. I’m excited to learn more about them and how Tynion will make them a challenge to the team since we only know of the members’ powers.

Alvaro Martinez continues to do an great job on Detective Comics. His pairing with Eddy Barrows has been one of the best of the bi-monthly comics DC is publishing. Both have similar styles but still have their own unique touches. And with Detective Comics #943 being so dialogue intensive Martinez did well in bringing out each characters spectrum of emotions throughout this issue. His drawing of Stephanie Brown’s was a great highlight art-wise as he brought out the sorrow in the characters eyes in each scene she was in. And now with Victim Syndicate appearance I’m looking forward to him now getting to flex his action muscles.

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The Bad: Nothing

Overall: Detective Comics #943 loudly makes its case for why it this series should be considered one of the best Batman books DC is publishing. James Tynion and Alvaro Martinez team-up to deliver a great follow up on both the continuing fallout of Tim Drake’s death and aftermath of the “Night of the Monster Men” crossover. In using both these recent storylines Tynion and Martinez were able to seamlessly launch Detective Comics in a unique direction that gives multiple characters to shine moving forward. And with the Victim Syndicate already making their presence know there are a lot of reasons for Batman fans to be picking up Detective Comics.