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"Detective Comics" #854 Review

In Comic Reviews on June 25, 2009 at 12:02 pm
Detective Comics #854

Detective Comics #854

Elegy, Pt. 1 “Agitato”

Writer: Greg Rucka

Artist: J.H. Williams III

Colors: Dave Stewart

With “Batman Reborn” sweeping the DC Universe, the most drastic change has been in the much anticipated revamp of Detective Comics.  Kate Kane, first introduced in the critically acclaimed 52, takes center stage as the much neglected Batwoman.  Its a character that’s received a lot of fan support, but has only shown up in a few places and has yet to be really fleshed out as a charcter, aside from being “Renee Montoya’s ex-girlfriend”.

The relaunched ‘Tec hearkens back to the end of 52, where Kate was stabbed in the heart by followers of a mythical “Crime Bible” which refers to Kate as the “twice named daughter of Cain”.  Kate’s recovered and has learned that the religion has a new leader and as such is on a somewhat obsessed search of Gotham.

Its a very, very well written story in this issue.  Greg Rucka writes the character with her much hyped sexuality as naught but an undertone, especially a fantastic opening sequence in which Batwoman uses her sex appeal to convince a thug to give her more information.  We also finally get a look in to Kate’s personal life, as we learn of a failed relationship (a side effect of her nightlife), and meet her father, a military Colonol who assists her as Batwoman and reviews footage of her escapades for tactical evalutation.

The art in itself is striking and catches the eye.  A lot of this is thanks to the colors of Dave Stewart.  While J.H. Williams III has certainly outdone himself here, the colors (especially the deep reds of Kate’s hair and costume) pop out of the page and pull you in.  They’re used expertly here, conveying emotions and drawing you in deeper to the story.  The book is also rife with unique panel placements that pull the story along while drawing you in in, creating a finely crafted tale that’s probably one of the better told out today.

See How Pretty?

See How Pretty?

Honestly, I could spend all day posting pages from this book, but DC would yell at me for that.  The line work, the colors, the panel layouts; Its just that damn pretty.  And I’m not normally one to gush about the art in a book.

Renee Montoya Returns As The Question In The Second Feature

Renee Montoya Returns As The Question In The Second Feature

Ah, but there is one other thing that has the fans excited, myself especially.  And that’s the Rucka penned, Cully Hamner drawn second feature, starring Kate’s ex Renee Montoya.  Renee’s training and acceptance of the role of The Question in 52 was easily one of the book’s best stories, but much like Kate her role in the DC Universe has been neglected, only appearing in a few titles since then.  Finally, she’s given solo adventures.  In “Pipeline” Chapter One, Part One, we find Renee is teamed up with Charlie’s mento, Aristotle “Tot” Rodor, the genius yet scatterbrained scientist who created the binary gas and Pseudoderm that The Question utilizes.  The two have taken up shop in an old lighthouse, and are soliciting e-mails requesting the assistance of The Question.  When a beaten man comes for assistance, Renee learns of a Mexican family who employed the aid of a Coyote to get them into the United States, but have disappeared, prompting Renee to investigate.

Rucka is definitely 2 for 2 in this book.  While there’s not a lot that happens in Renee’s story (an unfortunate side effect fo the Second Feature gimmick is that there are only 10 pages devoted to the back-up), its still a great read.  Its exciting to see Renee continuing on in Charlie’s memory, and its always fun to see Tot show up alive and well.  There’s even a light touch of humor between the two.

It Could Grip It By The Husk?

It Could Grip It By The Husk?

Cully Hamner’s art is very, very well suited to the title.  Not only does he have beautiful, clean art with strong details and wonderfully drawn backgrounds, he’s managed to give expression to The Question, a character without a face.  No easy feat, indeed.  He manages to bring out the small details of the world these characters live in, creating a beautiful tale set in a dark, grimy world.

So, yes.  The revamped Detective Comics is something to behold.  Its only going to get better from here, and hopefully will continue this format for some time.  One could say its a bit odd for DC to fit both of its key lesbian characters in one book, but given the history of not only Renee and Kate, but the Bat-family to The Question, its a natural pairing that makes sense.  I’m giving this one an A, and going out on a limb to say this is easily the best book DC’s put out this week, if not this month.

  1. Hi, Christopher!

    So glad you liked the book (as well as my work in it); thanks for the review.

    One thing, though, FYI: My name is Cully Hamner, not “Curly Hammer.” CUL-ly HAM-ner.

    Thanks again, man!



  2. […] Correction! Posted by Christopher On July – 4 – 2009 Cully Hamner impressed the shit out of us in his Question second feature in Detective Comics last week, and I gushed over it repeatedly in the review. […]

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