Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Comic Book Reviews: Detective Comics #17

Well this is a few days late.

For those curious where the review of this book has been the last six days, I can explain very easily: I forgot about it.

Yeah, I thought I had written it, but it turns out I just spaced on it and didn't realize I hadn't posted something until I started to prepare my review of Batman #17, which will be out tomorrow.

Oddly, I got distracted by the big "Arrow" episode last week, so yeah, check that out because it blew everything out of my mind.

Needless to say, that is the book every Batman fan has been waiting for, and if the preliminary reviews are any indicator, it will somehow live up to the gargantuan level of hype surrounding it and possibly vault the arc into a new pantheon up there with The Killing Joke, Year One and The Dark Knight Returns.

But that's tomorrow, and while I am chomping at the bit to see what Scott Snyder has put together, John Layman did write a story in Detective that is worth picking up tomorrow while you stand in the inevitably long line for Snyder's magnum opus of Batman.

I will admit, actually buying this book is a tossup. For some it's must-buy, for others it will just be a read in the store kind of thing. But it is a story you definitely want to test out.

Those who read issue #16 already know that the Joker's rampage through the Bat-verse has caused a legion of Joker-philes to come out of the woodwork, the worst of which is a group known as the League of Smiles.

Since the character of the "Merry Maker" was going to conclude his run in this issue, the reveal of who he is will not be all that shocking to readers. It might surprise you for a moment, but given a minute of continuous thought on the matter, and it really won't be that dramatic of a shock.

That said, the actual story moves at a nice pace and being predictable doesn't necessarily mean bad. It's executed well; it just won't send you on any twists and turns that make the story stand out.

The big selling points are the nod to Emperor Penguin, as it becomes clear that he will be taking over as the main villain next month, and the back-up, which shows the Merry Maker talking to a psychiatrist. It's really the best part of the story and has the twist you may crave.

Honestly, this book feels like it could have been an episode of Batman: The Animated Series, and that's a good thing. I love that tone and the quality is always solid at worst, epic at best. That's what this series has been since Layman took over.

If you want to be guaranteed a solid read each month, this is a title to flag down. I've thought something similar when Colin Kaepernick replaced Alex Smith: I still don't agree that Tony S. Daniel warranted replacing on this book, but the improvement in quality can't be denied.

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