Overview

Detective Comics #804

Review

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Detective Comics #804

Credits

  • Words: David Lapham
  • Art: Ramon Bachs
  • Inks: Nathan Massengill
  • Colors: Jason Wright
  • Story Title: City of Crime Part 4: All You Need is Love Love Love Love Love Love
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Mar 2, 2005

David Lapham’s extraordinary Detective Comics story arc continues, as the villains won’t stop coming out of the woodwork and the killing seemingly never ends.

Batman has slowly begun to uncover an illegal adoption ring in his city. It started with the deaths of a group of pregnant teenagers in a burning high rise building. And as he is tormented by the death of a young girl he met recently as Bruce Wayne, as Batman, he is trying to make up for it by promising a mother that he would find her missing daughter, originally thought to be one of the dead pregnant teenagers. His unending search for justice and to end this illegal ring has first lead him to the Penguin, then to Mr. Freeze, and in this issue, the reader is shown that this is going to take a lot more digging to get to the real perpetrator.

David Lapham has perfectly captured the dark and gritty world of Batman and Gotham City. It may be simple to say that Gotham is just a city filled with a bunch of "crazies," but Lapham brings a level of depth to each and every one of the characters he writes. He moves his story through multiple characters without confusing the reader, each time giving a little bit of knowledge while continuing to bring up more questions. His villains are exceptionally well written, and his third person narration really brings out the connection between Gotham, Batman, and his rogues gallery. His dialogue never falters, capturing the small subtleties necessary for his mystery and his pacing is likewise brilliant. Each of his issues has read as a crescendo, building and moving faster with each page and panel. This leads to the issue’s best bit of writing, as Lapham uses the standard words of a wedding ceremony to narrate the issue’s final scene.

Working off of Lapham’s layouts, Ramon Bachs’ work comes across brilliantly. He has been asked to bring to life incredibly vivid and confused characters, to accentuate the strange world of Gotham, and still keep the mystery and horror elements highlighted for the reader’s enjoyment. And he handles it all without problem. Bachs brings an almost cartoonish feel to the book, which in turn really pushes all of the strangeness of the story to the forefront. His characters emotions truly are written onto their faces and none of them every fails to meet the mark. Bachs seemingly knows exactly how to draw every character and gets the full affect from every scene he draws. Jason Wright’s colors go in unison with Bach’s artwork in creating this exceptional work of art. His creative use of coloring darkens the scenes and properly sets the mood.

Perhaps the best Batman story in years, Lapham’s take on the Dark Knight has not failed to deliver in the first 4 issues of his arc. Dark, mysterious, and captivating, this work almost reads as a more mature version of Batman: The Animated Series. Without making any unnecessary changes, Lapham is in the midst of adding a great chapter to the Batman mythos. Best of all, for those who do not follow the Bat-books regularly, this story arc exists previous to the just completed "War Games" saga, so anyone can jump in now and enjoy it.

-Sam Moyerman

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