Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Batman: Detective Comics, Volume 9: Gordon at War Review (Peter Tomasi, Fernando Pasarin)

It started with Joker pointlessly cutting his face off before his latest escape from Arkham Asylum and it ends with Jim Gordon shaving off his ‘tache and pretending he’s Batman. Yup, the New 52 line of Detective Comics sure was crapalicious! 

To be fair to writer Peter Tomasi, it doesn’t feel like he’s phoning it in with Volume 9: Gordon at War, but, still, neither of the story arcs contained in this book are worth reading. In the first, Gordon has to stop a serial killer with a penchant for rubber masks and historical figures and in the second Gordon goes back to Afghanistan to fight a mummy! It doesn’t seem to matter whoever’s wearing the cowl, the quality of Detective Comics remains as consistently rock bottom as ever!

The historical figure killer, who reminded me of Francis Dolarhyde from Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon, was genuinely unsettling, especially those rubber masks, so points on that score. But most everything else about him, from his reveal to his motivation, was underwhelming and forgettable. The cat and mouse story is repetitive, generic, clichĂ©d and totally lacking in mystery and suspense though I liked that Tomasi took the ridiculous Bat-armour out of the equation this time around, making Gordon more vulnerable. Fernando Pasarin and Scot Eaton’s pencils were excellent. 

The Afghanistan mummy story was just plain shit. Apparently this version of Gordon is a vet of one of the Gulf Wars so goes back to his old unit still stationed over there to investigate ritual murders that’ve started cropping up in Gotham. It’s really dull stuff, particularly once Gordon steps into the Bat-armour and the story devolves to Mecha-Batman punching one-dimensional villains. Again, Pasarin/Eaton’s art is very strong but that’s all that’s good about this one. 

Also included is a weird issue called The 11 Curious Cases of Batman which is a boring read but interesting for the various artists all contributing their interpretations of old Detective Comics covers, many of which were quality. The volume closes out with Batman Rebirth #1 which I’ve reviewed elsewhere and suffice it to say it ain’t all that. 

Jim Gordon as Batman was just never a good idea to begin with (thanks Scott Snyder!) and Tomasi doesn’t get any decent stories out of the failed concept here. Detective Comics, Volume 9: Gordon at War is an unimpressive conclusion to a very weak series.

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