Detective Comics #972 Review

Detective Comics #972

Written by: James Tynion IV
Pencils: Miguel Mendonca
Inks: Diana E. Conesa
Colored by: Jason Wright

Recap

Arkham Asylum has been taken over by the Victim Syndicate. They have captured Clayface and plan to expose him to the world as an evil creature not worthy of freedom. Gloria, one of the members of the syndicate, seeks revenge on Clayface because he made her into the freakish state she is in now. The First Victim also uses a news reporter to expose to the world that Batman is working with Clayface, meaning, Batman is working with a murderer. They want Batman to give up and unmask. Everything is about to fall apart for the Bat-Family. How will they overcome? Find out what happens this week in part four of, Fall of the Batmen. Spoilers ahead…

Story

We pick up where we left off with Batman entering the front door of Arkham Asylum which has been overrun by the Victim Syndicate. They have Clayface in their custody where they have removed the bracelet that keeps his brain intact, and they have been torturing him into madness once again. So naturally, now, Batman and Clayface are battling. Batman is trying to reason with Clayface and tell him that this isn’t who he is. However, because Clayface’s bracelet has been smashed, his mind has been free to deteriorate into insanity. At one point he throws Batman through a door to a room that looks to be holding the weapons of various Arkham inmates. We see Bane’s mask, Deathstroke’s mask, some of Penguin’s umbrellas, Puppetmaster’s puppet, Catwoman’s glasses, Mr. Freeze’s gun, maybe Killer Moth’s mask, and many other cool nods to other villains. See how many YOU can name.

Batman picks up Mr. Freeze’s gun and freezes Clayface only to realize that he has been fighting just a husk of his mud. The actual Clayface escaped through the sewers and is headed straight for the Belfry.

Batwoman meets her father, Colonel Kane, on the roof of the Belfry. He gives her a one-of-a-kind rifle that was designed to completely obliterate Clayface. Though hesitantly, she takes it.

It’s about this time that Tim starts to get suspicious of Kate because she’s missing in action and she doesn’t respond to his radio call. Recall, during “A Lonely Place of Living,” the future Tim Drake tells our Tim that Kate sets off a chain reaction that leads to the destruction of the entire Bat-Family. Tim has continued to operate with this fact in his head since he has been back in our world. Then when Kate enters the Belfry after meeting her father, Tim asks where she was and she states, “Doing Reconnaissance.” Tim vehemently calls her a liar (which she is), and just before an argument between them breaks out, they are all ambushed by Clayface who has arrived via the sewers.

Now Clayface gets ferocious, and attacks virtually everyone. Except for when he gets to Cassandra. Cassandra and Basil have bonded over the course of their Bat-Family-team-up and when he comes face to face with her, he breaks back down into Basil Karlo. However, in the midst of his mayhem, he inadvertently smashed the containment system in the Belfry’s mudroom and it’s now leaking mud all over him. We’re talking hundreds and hundreds of gallons of mud. This not only makes Clayface bigger, but it further deteriorates his brain making him crazier.

Meanwhile, the Victim Syndicate is on standby as the First Victim is anxious to watch the screaming demise of Batman. But I felt a flicker of possible redemption on Lonnie’s part. Lonnie gave the First Victim a sideways, almost worried look, when he expressed that he wanted to watch Batman perish. In theory, the whole reason the Victim Syndicate is a thing is because it’s a coalition of people who have been caught in the crossfires of Batman’s crime fighting, and have been permanently injured because of it. Their goal is supposed to achieve justice for themselves and force Batman to relinquish the cowl and face judgment. When the First Victim ignores Lonnie’s encouragement that “it’s now time to face the people” by saying he wants to watch Batman die, I ruminate Lonnie begins to realize, in himself, the knowledge that he is just another brainwashed pawn in a greater scheme. At least this is just my personal notion.

We will have to find out where this exciting story is going to take us in the next issue titled: King Clayface!” Check out the last page of this issue, you’ll see the the “King Kong” reference. Nice touch!

Review

Epic issue! The return of Tim Drake has led into a fantastic storyline! There was a moment, earlier on in DC Rebirth, where I felt like I was over the whole Victim Syndicate thing. I was also completely annoyed by Lonnie as a character in general. His whole “wanting to save the world while coming across as a cult-leader” was tiresome. But I have to admit, I’m back on board with it.

This story is so interesting and I feel like it could go in so many different directions right now; how it’s going to end seems totally unpredictable. I think Kate Kane is riding a fine line, and I’m not sure how I feel about her character right now. I feel like she has this “I’m better than you so I can do my own thing” attitude. She says one thing in this issue however, that made me trip out a little bit. She referred to Tim Drake as an alternate Tim that came back from the future. Is the Tim Drake we know and love really back? Or is she on to something? Stephanie Brown is being exasperating as well. She is playing the annoying girlfriend role and seems a little off. I really love her character and hope she gets her head out of the clouds soon.

I’ve never been too too impressed by Clayface, but having him in the Bat-Family has been an interesting decision for DC and really has added depth to him. Seeing the artwork for his various immense forms has been a pleasure to look at and admire. Especially the last page of this issue where it shows him colossal in size and consumed with rage atop a building. I am really excited to see where this goes. James Tynion IV brought another excellent story and the artwork of the series has been extraordinary. Find out what happens next time as we continue “Fall of the Batmen.”

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